Not the massage I expected

April 26, 2016

Lord knows, I needed a massage.  Successful completion of physical therapy and continued workouts with Hot Trainer meant that my back was in pretty good shape, if a little stiff. I needed a massage.  And I love a relaxing, therapeutic spa massage.

But where? I’ve never had a good massage at the big name spa in my city and I couldn’t afford to fly to Hawaii’s Grand Wailea Spa every time I wanted to soothe my muscles.

My physical therapist touted an excellent massage therapist right at his clinic, so I made an appointment. Let’s call the massage therapist “Don.”  Don only had a half hour session available. Half an hour? I’d never heard of it. But, ok. Half an hour.

I was prompt, he was prompt.  Short, dark-haired, maybe in his 40s. He ushered me into the massage room. I told him a little about my physical therapy and that my legs were sore from workouts that day.  I wanted my rehabilitated piriformis muscle to get some attention, too. What’s a piriformis?  It’s part of the glute. Yep. I needed my ass massaged. I did. So sue me.

“Shall I get you some shorts?” “Don” asked.

“Shorts?” I was confused. Who wears shorts for a massage?

“If I’m going to work on your legs, you’ll need shorts. If you were going to have a full body massage I’d put you under a sheet, but since you aren’t, you need shorts.”

Shorts? No one told me about shorts.

“No one mentioned I should wear shorts…” I said, thinking, I‘ve been buck naked before plenty of male masseurs and they’d lived through it.  I’d stripped down, gotten under a 600 thread-count sheet and they’d come in to do their thing. All were skilled at that magic draping and folding to be sure that none of my personal bits were exposed.  I was confident that if they happened to glimpse something, the worst that would happen is that they’d vomit. They were, after all, gay.  Athletic shorts were not part of the equation. After all, gay men know fashion.

“That’s ok,” “Don” said, pulling out a pair of Kelly green athletic shorts that would send chills down the spine of any gay worth his salt. He handed them to me.   “And here’s a robe, too.” It was a thin, cotton robe with no tie, open at the back,  like the kind you’d get at a bad hospital.

“I’ll close the door, just crack it when you’re ready.”

massageI stared at the shorts in my hand. I wondered who had worn them before me and if they had been washed. I avoided, well, SMELLING them. I checked to make sure I had full-coverage panties on and not a G-string. Only kidding. I don’t wear G-strings. I am almost 65.

After undressing, I pulled the shorts on and glanced into the mirror on the back of the door. They fit, but I looked ridiculous. The robe was pretty thin, but it covered the front of my body and if someone held it closed, it covered my back, too. I couldn’t hold it closed, myself,  without needing physical therapy again. My piriformis was safely covered by those green shorts and my panties.  I cracked the door open and “Don” entered.

“Lie down on your tummy, ” he instructed, holding the back of my gown shut for me, so I wouldn’t flash him with side boob or anything.  Instantly, I felt his forearm begin to slide over my back. In Hawaii it’s called lomi-lomi and I love it. You know, in a dimly-lit massage room with soft, new agey music, the scent of lavender under the skillful hands of a masseur who glided silently and gracefully around the table as he worked my muscles.

This was not that massage.

Using his forearms and only his forearms, “Don” stroked my back so hard that it felt like my abs were being worked over. And they were under me.

“Tell me if it’s too much pressure,” he said.  He pressed, prodded, stroked with his forearm. He was … industrious. It was an industrial massage. Efficient. Like a good physical therapy client, I went with the pain.

He moved around the table in fast, graceless steps. A little kneading was in order, but his hands never touched muscle or flesh. Only his forearms stroked.

“Ok, turn over,” he instructed. Clutching my thin gown, I turned onto my back. He then draped a  blanket over my breasts and a towel over that. It was heavy. I tried to imagine why double-layering was necessary: did he think a wayward breast would fling up and whack him in the face?

“Don” quickly worked his forearms down to my legs and I soon saw why shorts were a necessity.  After a cursory rub, he lifted one straight upon the air and bent it to one side and then to another.  Then inward.   This wasn’t massage, it was horizontal pole dancing without the pole.

I gave a silent prayer of thanks for those green shorts and channeled my inner Showgirl.

massageThen he moved to my left leg.

“Ok, that’s the side with my injury so be careful, I don’t want to re-injure it,” I told him.  He lifted it up in the air as straight as it would go and bent it this way and that. The shorts held up. I thanked God for my many sessions with Hot Trainer that had left me more limber than I had any right to be.

“You’re a little tense.”  Don continued to work my leg up and toward my head.

“WHOA! Stop there!” I yelled. “My hamstring won’t go any further without snapping.”  Would my health insurance cover a massage injury? I wondered.

I could see the clock behind Don. 3:45pm. How could I still have 15 minutes to go?  I couldn’t imagine what else he could do to me. But seconds later, my stove timer went off. But it wasn’t my timer, it was HIS.

“Am I cooked?” I asked. What I wanted to ask was “Was this only a 15-minute massage?”

“Time’s up!” he said.   No soft gong or slow, silent wind-down. Brrrring! Time’s UP!

I pulled myself off the table.

Out in the lobby, the clock read 4:00pm. The right time. Apparently, his clock had stopped.

“Don” checked me out.

“We might want to book another session,” he said.

I smiled. “I’ll get back to you on that,” I said.


44 comments on “Not the massage I expected
  1. ryder Ziebarth says:

    Funny!! The boob possibly slapping him in the face–lol. Loved it.

  2. OMG, so funny. I am right there with you, I LOVE a good spa like massage where I’m soothed and gently massaged for an hour. But this guy?! He sounds like a drill sergeant. Not exactly what I would have been looking for, either. Very funny, my first snort laugh of the day 🙂

  3. Laura Ehlers says:

    Wow! I guess this is the difference between ‘spa’ and ‘therapy’? OR maybe ‘Don’ got his license from Ted’s AutoBody Repair and Massage…

  4. Paula miller says:

    Laughed out loud at the gross shorts and fighting the urge to smell them!I’ve had massages like that with the leg thing and only a strategically placed sheet! Forget about relaxing. Thank you for the great post!

  5. I haven’t had a massage in a long time. Maybe this is why! But seriously, oy vey (as we say) and oh, my! It hurt just to read your words. I hope you find a better masseuse for next time. Argh!

  6. Adela says:

    Run away! Run away! And don’t look back.

  7. Martha says:

    Oh dear. Sounds like you would have been better off burning the green shorts as a sacrifice to the sports injury gods…

  8. Wow! what a terrible experience. Glad you could find the humor in it and share it with us. 🙂

  9. The cat pic really added to the imagery I already had in my mind! Ha ha! This was great. I do hope you kept the shorts for a spring fashion show in hell!

  10. Kim Tackett says:

    ouch. ouch. ouch. and not in a good way!! xo

  11. T.O. Weller says:

    Oh Carol, I’m so sorry you had “one of those”, but at least he didn’t forearm the humor right out of you. 🙂

    Kip had a bad one the first time we did the “couples massage” thing, and there’s no convincing him to try again. He now believes it’s a waste of money and time.

  12. OH NO CAROL!!!! What a horrible experience calling itself a massage. I have a wonderful a wonderful woman who comes to my house and Thom and I get massages from her every couple of months. Do you want me to see if she’ll come to your house too? it sounds to me that he was just another physical therapist with a few new routines. That kind of massage gives the experience a VERY bad name. I’m so glad you survived. ~Kathy

  13. Diane says:

    Yow! MY abs could feel you pain! And they are thousands of miles away . . .

  14. Barbara says:

    I love a good massage and really need one badly. My favorite masseuse has retired and this is my worst nightmare. I think I would have reported him. That is crazy!

  15. I get Thai massages a lot and wear panties because they do yoga moves with my legs. I love that type of massage, though. Never had to wear shorts. I’ve also had some with male therapists where I was blowing pretty freely in the wind.

  16. Hysterical, Carol. Glad you weren’t (re)injured. I think “Don” needs a new career!

  17. Tamara says:

    My favourite massage ‘mistake’? As a breastfeeding mama I asked my masseur to be careful around my breasts (sore and tender was an understatement). Apparently he didn’t realize that milk ducts aren’t isolated to the front of the breasts and when he pressed into my underarm I released an impressive shot of breastmilk. As I wasn’t draped, it took it right on the chin 🙂

  18. Nadya says:

    Oy!! Does sound almost like Thai massage, ….my massage mentor commented that some therapists (often the guys) did wish they were PTs ….
    I’m a message therapist, and occasionally have a client say “I came to you because the last therapist ______” (worked too deep, or way too soft, didn’t listen to their request, …”) Recently a client had been told by a therapist who just wanted to do trigger point (intense finger pressure, no oil) for about 20 minutes, and when she tried to tell the gal she wanted relaxing massage, was told “oh! A fluffy massage?! I don’t do those!!” She did waive payment, and FORTUNATELY theclient was able to reschedule with me, and seemed happy!
    Better luck with your next session!

  19. Nadya says:

    Oh! And I love the pole-dancing cat!!

  20. barbara says:

    I’ve never had “that” experience although I have seen a lot of different masseuses. Now I know to be sure to say I want to relax as opposed to say, I’m all knotted up. I forewarned now.

  21. Joy Brown says:

    Oh my!! That is about all I can say! Just picturing this, I didn’t know whether to laugh or cringe….think I did both! Thanks for sharing your massage ‘experience’!

  22. Samantha says:

    Wow! I’ve only had one massage before, but it was NOTHING like this one! 🙂 How strange! But at least no one got smacked in the face by a stray boob. That would have been awful.

  23. Alison says:

    Oh no how awful!! And to finish a bad massage with an alarm clock?! RUDE! I’m guessing he didn’t get much of a tip haha!

  24. Alana says:

    Thankfully, that half hour session was all he offered you. OUCH. But now we all know – if a massage therapist offers you green pants, RUN.

  25. sue says:

    Oh I wish I was a fly on the wall! I don’t have massages regularly although I should. I would however prefer a ‘fluffy’ massage as Nadya said. A relaxing massage with candles and soft music is more my style. You brought a smile to my face and a few points to remember next time I want a massage. Have a great day Carol. x

  26. Carolann says:

    I had a “massage” once at the place I went to physical therapy for…it sucked! It was costly too. I’ll never do that again. The best place to get a good massage is at the spa – full stop! Too funny Carol…those green shorts are too funny!

  27. it is amazing to me how little I care what they see when I get a massage…I love it so much I just don’t care. I should care…..but I don’t, nothing is better, ever. Even if Don was Caligula I would do it.

  28. Rosemond says:

    I’ll get back to you on that! LOL, truly does sounds like an industrial strength “massage”! Eek!

  29. Wow! How embarrassing and awkward. I feel like this would be my husband if he were to go into massage therapy. We have to constantly tell him to stop “man-handling” everything.

  30. quin says:

    I’m glad you avoided smelling the shorts! LOL! I absolutely HATE massages because the couple of times I’ve had it done, I get THAT guy. Yeah … I’ll get back to you, indeed.

  31. Aubrey S says:

    Sports injury massage doesn’t have to be that rough. I think Don might need some more hours to practice his bedside manner.

  32. PS my piriformis tightness got a lot better when I found a chiropractor who said it was a back injury, 2 years of Pirformis syndrome to find out it was a back injury. Anyways Literally he funniest thing I’ve ever read, I’m sorry that happened to you but thank you for sharing! I hope you went to get a good massage later!

  33. This was SO funny! I’ve never had a professional massage before and I’m 30. After reading this, I’m not sure if I’m missing out or not haha

  34. massage says:

    Great post, Remedial massage is very beneficial for everyone. And all points you have mentioned in this post are essential. Thanks for sharing this post with us.

  35. Hello Carol,

    I am a lover of massage. Firstly, thanks for your post & article. The post is very helpful for your physical fitness. Massage is very important for our fashion & beauty. So, can you read the passage? This was so funny! I am waiting for your next post & health tips.


  36. Eric says:

    Thanks for the laugh, Carol. ‘Don’ will surely laugh out loud if he read this article of yours.

  37. Dhel says:

    What a funny experience! I also a massage lover it gives me more energy every after the session, especially relieved my tension or pain. Thanks for sharing this article.

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