I wrote this entire blog post lying naked, face down, head cradled in the headrest of a massage table. Not more than two days ago.
I ended up on that table because of my rebellious left shoulder and all of its hand and fingers. They have been stiff, pained, and, basically, crippled for the last few days. Not even drugs can help rev them up. It’s probably because of my fake-good posture at the computer and passionate pounding on the keyboard that’s been happening these days.
I take my shoulders for granted.
My 28 year old roomie (my advisor to all things possible and the answer to all things technical) is finally tired of my periodic complaints over my shoulder pain and finger disfunctions and suggests I go to a chiropractor or a masseuse. At first, I’m opposed to this idea because
1. I’m a tough it out kinda chick
2. I am broke
3. And…I’m a little “ascared”
The last time I went to a chiropractor was in my 20’s for an actual back injury. The last time I went for a massage was in my early 30s, after which I decided my husband was a much better masseuse than that $110 bucks I spent. So…since chiropractors are expensive and the husband is gone, I’m left with hiring a masseuse for an hour or two. I need some relief!
Even though I make up my mind to get a massage, I’m still a little ambivalent. It’s the little girl in me.
What happens if I do it wrong? (perfectionism wailing at me)
What happens if their hand goes right through my upper neck/lower head? (a fear I’ve had since I was a child)
What happens if I fart? (black beans for breakfast)
But this pain and stiffness is getting to the point where I need some relief ‘cause I can no more fake-good-posture at the computer or move my fingers on the keyboard, let alone passionately pound it.
I’m juggling thoughts in my head: Am I ever going to be able to write again? Will I ever be able to get a job again? Will I still be able to e-mail? Text or Tinder… what about Text or Tinder?!!! Nooooo…. Fear and worry frets me for the moment and I realize I need that masseuse. I need that masseuse bad.
To find a good deal, my roommate suggests looking for a Groupon. I do! I find a Groupon deal immediately. I buy it in haste and wind up with two 90-minute massages for $69. Awesome!!! I figure I will probably need more than 1 session, if not, more than 2. Today I will be one step closer to being cured!!!
I immediately call for a massage appointment for today. No appointment for today. No appointment for tomorrow. Not for Groupon people, anyway (I assume). The next appointment – 2-1/2 weeks from today! What? Wow! By then I may be dead from death by shoulder-gouge-out. I return that Groupon.
What next? What do I do? Where do I go?
Where I go is to Yelp and search: “Cheap Massage” “Los Angeles, CA”
I find a massage place fairly close to me with reviews that are better than moderate, so I pick up the phone to make an appointment. I get one! – 1:30 pm. It’s a little pricier than $35, but much less than the $100 bucks I was expecting to pay. By now I am desperate.
I’ve got two hours before the appointment. I stretch. Down dog. Lie flat on the hard floor. Twist and turn. Rock back and forth, and pop in a couple ibuprofen. As it’s getting closer to the appointment, I google the spa for the address and up pops “happy endings” along with that massage place I chose. I half-gasp! What?! (if you’re not familiar with “happy endings,” google it. it relieves me of any responsibility for taking away one’s innocence.) My curiosity gets the best of me. I google “happy endings massage los angeles” and I find there is a yelp-type site for spas that offer happy endings. Gulp! I go to the yelp-for-happy-endings site and sure enough there are loads of massage places not only in Los Angeles, but in many, many cities throughout the United States. This one is listed on this list. Yiikes.
What if it’s just a man’s spa?
What if a neighbor sees me go in there?
Will they massage me? Will they turn me away?
What if the place gets raided?
I check the real Yelp to see if all the reviews are by men or if there are also reviews written by women. Actually, I find that most reviews were made by women – and most are rave reviews. My nerves are calm. This is just silly, I think. There are so many places listed. My suspicion is that this may just be some kind of quack-site, and I convince myself to worry no more about this. ’cause there is no time to look for another spa. Besides, from what I see, most of the massage places in my area are listed on that “quack-site.” Plus, I don’t know why I’m so concerned. What would it really have to do with me, anyway? Nothing, really. Actually. Except for the neighbors.
I arrive at the kind of place where I have always thought I would never enter. I have had my suspicions about those places….seedy has been my perception. I’m talking about one of those buildings with the windows completely painted over with cheesy pictures, listing the services provided, and the prices with the big numbers and dollar signs. These are the places where if you try to peek in the window, there is no place to peek through. What goes on in there? I’ve always wondered. Never really disgusted. Just intrigued. Probably a little “ascared,” really. Strangers in there – my little girl self would say. Well, this spa is one of those tucked into the back corner of this strip mall. As I’m walking toward it, I look around. Anyone watching?
I don’t care. I am not – not going in.
I walk into a lovely, serene, clean establishment…where all the girls are very young, beautiful and exotic – welcoming and nice. I feel calm. I bashfully tell the girl at the front desk that this is only the second time I’ve ever had a massage (aside from once in a Korean spa). I want to divulge my naivety upfront so I can get any feeling of shame and perception of stupidity out of the way asap. Just in case I do something wrong. They know I have an excuse. I want to relax into this massage.
The masseuse takes me into a private room. I change, climb up onto the table, throw the sheet over my back and lay my head face down into the head rest. I immediately relax, and my shoulder is already feeling better. The masseuse comes in and rubs me down with oil. She begins by massaging my whole back with broad strokes, pushing different points of my body into the table. My bones feel so bendy, soft and flexible as she forces them down into the table and there I sink into it and relax even deeper.
I hear a Man check in at the front desk.
She starts in on my right shoulder, the one that gives me less pain. I start to focus on each stroke, questioning how does she do that so well? She then starts on my left shoulder and starts pressing, rubbing, kneading. I find myself in a half-meditative state with thoughts of:
Rainbows and Candy Corn
I find myself chasing after these thoughts…they’re so pleasant…but they just float on by.
I hear another Man check in at the front desk.
She moves down to the middle of my back and thoughts of:
Blindfolds and Handcuffs
Whips and Chains
Tree trunks and Water Lilies
and Men in White T-shirts
I hear one more Man check in at the front desk.
As she moves to my lower back my thoughts go to:
and visions and sounds of rain showers spilling through forests
The masseuse has me flip over onto my back. She massages my shoulders. My arms. By the time she gets down to my legs, I am dosing deeper into more of a dream state. Unexpectedly, just as I enter the nothingness space of my mind, I feel a tickle – tickle – tickle up my legs.
Up the inside of both thighs, actually!
No, no, no NO!
Could it be?
Never thought about it?
Is this it? A happy ending situation? Women do this too?
No, no, no NO! No, no, no, NO! Excuse me, Miss! I sexually spark like a 19 year old boy down there!!! NO!
I stiffen up like a kewpie doll that is trying to balance on roller skates. Nervous. Tense. Concerned about the immediate future, I assign every ounce of energy to the simple thought of:
Don’t touch there!
Don’t touch there!
DON’T TOUCH THERE!
While my imagination is tilting my body from side to side and visualizing myself escaping each touch as she’s going further around and up my inner thighs, I am hoping that imagination will translate to real life. I am too embarrassed to yell out “What the hell is going on down there?” for fear I am completely wrong and just jumping to imaginary conclusions just because “happy endings” popped up in that damn google search. I hold my tongue and my breath. After a few moments pass, the inner thigh tickles turn to some outer thigh kneading and then quickly right back up to that bad shoulder. Whew!
It doesn’t take me very long to sink back into thoughts of rainforests, panda bears, handcuffs and blindfolds, Indiana Jones, babies and unicorns and Men in white t-shirts, and not more than 5 minutes later, my massage is finished. She rubs a warm towel down my limbs. I get dressed. Say thank you. And I walk out of there feeling great.
I really don’t know if they provide the happy endings service there. I really don’t care. All I know is I got a great massage and I’m goin’ back.
Maybe next time the imagination will be a little more tamed.
Except for the unicorns and candy corn. And the handcuffs. I liked that.
Ciao for now!