He smelled like a Mediterranean ottoman!
Dear God, I just realized after that title and yesterday's post about dating, I should clarify that no, this is not a dating in real life post... but I am sure it would be hilarious too! Also, for clarification, I love the Mediterranean and the Med's delicious food... however that smell on a man... not so much!
So, recently, visiting family in Las Vegas I ended up with what I annoyingly refer to as statue neck. You know when you cannot turn your head side to side so you have to swivel your whole body and shoulders even further? Where the pain makes you not sure if you should rest or massage or just die because it is so intense. There I was trying to enjoy my cousins sweet new baby and I could barely even hold her because... statue neck. I tried ice, heat, rubbing it, pain killers, stretches, crying, wine-ing, bourbon-ing... NOTHING was working.
Now before I go into the second strangest massage of my life, I figure I should explain the first strangest massage I ever had. Originally I was going to do a series on this, but the idea that I have to start seeing strange massage therapists rather than just sticking to ones I know are good, well, it sounded like my anxiety would be in overdrive, and while I am dedicated to my blog, passionately, that is a line I would rather not cross in sacrifice.
Don't judge until you've finished this deal okay?!
The title of the first weirdest massage I ever had would have been, "If I end up giving birth in nine months, it will be a Vietnamese baby!" And this wasn't one of those happy ending kind of massages either before you even go there! I decide I want to get a massage one weekend and of course last minute none of my normal picks were available. Obviously, they would be amazing, so you have to book them at least days out. I tell the gal on the other end of the phone that I don't care if it's a man or woman, but they need to have strong hands, and also that they don't talk too much. Bitchy? Yes. Realist? Also, yes. I want to relax people!
So she books me an hour later and I cannot wait. This was not "statue neck", but tension leading to massive migraines, so equally necessary. I walk in and fill out the form, pay and almost make it to my seat when this slender but somewhat tall man comes out and says my name. Now with all of the racial bullshit going on, I am not making any jokes here, but in all seriousness I knew he had to be Asian because he said Twasay, instead of Tracy, in an accent I would distinguish as Asian-ish, and when I turned around he did like a little bow thingy - namaste-ish. I could care less of course, but the facts are that the title was for real.
I go back and get undressed and he begins. Now, I am telling you this mans fingers just about never touched my body. He used his forearm, knuckles, elbows, all of which I was totally okay with. As he neared my midsection I was glad I left my undies on, because his idea of boundaries in this region was about an inch closer than mine were and a couple times I simply did not jump up because I remembered I was otherwise naked. Assuming he was a complete professional, I asked him how long he had been giving massages. He responded with a 5-minute story about only being in the United States for a short time but had been giving massages in Vietnam for a very long time. I have no clue, other than old war stories, about the massages over there, but he never "went too far" so I let it slide. Not literally of course.
That was until I was face down and felt either hand on both sides of my head while I was still being massaged. "What in the shit is happening, and what in the hell are you rubbing me with?!" "Do you have some sort of harness contraption?!" This little circus stallion was using his arm and upper body strength to hold himself up while he massaged me with his knees and feet. I will type that again so you accept this was not a typo. He was using his arm and upper body strength to hold himself up, while he massaged me with his knees and feet.
Pause for thoughtful heebs on the matter. The shit I get myself into.
So there I am, laying on my stomach, with this man, his front to my back, massaging me with his knees as I realize what is going on. Stunned, I utter "Are you massaging me with your legs?" To which he replies, "yes, legs strong, you want strong yes?! Now relax."
"Um, okay... but um... there is something dangerously close to me that I do not think should be and I feel like you are climbing me like a spider monkey," I thought to myself. He finished his gymnastic routine of going from plank pose to downward dog on my back and while pretty remarkable, I was left feeling like at any minute there could have been a whoops with a drastic turn of events. Hence, leaving feeling slightly less relaxed than I should.
Now I have a few friends who are massage therapists, and as I explained how the massage was, that there was a slight chance I could be pregnant with and Vietnamese baby, my (said) friends were hysterical. Truth be told, as strange as it was, so was I (after I started my period again). Kidding, kinda.
Anywho, I wish the second time was as funny, but it was just awkward. I am not kidding about the title either. So I am on the West Coast in all this pain and my cousin says, "what about a massage?" I, of course, think - well, when in Vegas... but I absolutely needed one. So we find a place not too far away and they have an opening within the hour. I throw on some clothes, hair in a messy knot, and off we go.
Walking in, it was similar to most others I have ever been to, a smell of lavender and something herby that you just can't quite discern. It is whisper quiet except for the trickling of water that you cannot ever find the source of. As I take my paperwork with my stiff as if I am in an immobilizer brace neck, two women are coming from the back. One is raving about her most amazing. massage. ever. The other is smiling with that, "yes - yay - can we just go before I divulge quite how awful it was" look, and I think... shit, I am totally getting that one.
Whatev - anything at this point will help, as I grimace thinking of my close encounter with the circus man. About that time a cheery petite woman walks out and I think"there is no way this broad is strong enough" and she then says someone else's name. Next out comes a man around 5'11, three of me wide and says "Tracy." with such a thick Russian accent I was left thinking "wait little one, wait, come back!" I follow him back and try my hardest to understand the instructions and questions. I explain that I cannot turn my head, my neck is stiff, and my shoulders are full of knots. He says "SIT!" as his paws-for-hands land on my shoulders with such force that had I not been instructed to sit, I would have had no choice anyway.
Big hands you are (not) the one for me.
He jostles me around like a rag doll for the next few minutes... and again no joking matter here... but I fully understand what shaken baby syndrome must feel like. A few things cracked that I was certain shouldn't, then he stands, says "you undress - get on table". There was this odd fear mixed with desperation that led me to comply. He came back to the room and began. He was a broad area rubber, the kind that uses his entire hand for pressure rather than really digging his fingers in... however the weight and size of his hands made it work, a bit. Where things got a little iffy, was his breathing and close proximity to my body.
He began by hovering over me inversely, lifting me up off the table and basically pressing my nose into his upper chest and neck... as he lifted me he exhaled like I was a set of weights, and then inhaled deeply again. Preparing myself to hold my breath, he exhaled again leaving the scent of garlic, hummus and Greek dressing permeating my only available air, mixed with his humid neck sweat. Every depression on my body was accompanied by his overwhelming deep exhales and I was becoming lightheaded from trying to hold my breath. From then on I stopped resisting, often gagging on the odor and accepting my fate in this situation.
I don't think I have ever wished an hour of massage to be over until this one. I am sure he saw more of me than normal but I had no fight left in me from his intoxicating stench. I was covered in entirely too much oil, however, the idea that it helped his sweat drips roll off of me, I accepted it. GAG-CITY. The hour finally passed. I was left with my sheet to soak up the excess oil, zero dignity and two candies on my way out. In his defense, I was slightly more limber than when I arrived so there is that.
Good times, good times.
I will probably wait to get some chicken tawook and grape leaves for a few weeks. Sigh.
Happy Friday y'all!