The Couple’s Massage

You know that feeling when your shoulders seem permanently slouched forward and no amount of stretching will ever bring them back to a respectable posture? And when your neck feels like it needs to be stretched and/or popped every five minutes? And when a simple grope-around-the couch-cushions-for-the-remote move causes your back to spasm and twinge?

Okay, so that’s where we were before The Couple’s Massage.

Brandon and I had a day off together (gasp!) and one of his first suggestions was, “Let’s get a massage today.”

Woohoo! I immediately set out on the quest of finding a massage place that 1) was not terribly far away–I was willing to drive a half an hour, max 2) had two openings, preferably as a “couple’s massage”, that day and 3) was not some weird, Asian, happy-ending sex parlour. All morning was a long string of no luck. Then I found a spot. It was at the edge of my radius. And it was Asian. Hmmmm… But the website seemed professional so when they had two openings AND could do a couple’s massage I was thrilled.

We jetted up there and I was relieved to discover it was not some cinder block house with barred windows and a sign saying “Entrance around back”. Calming Chinese music played as we entered and I could smell a mix of incense and someone’s lunch in the air. Since I hate HATE the smell of lavender, this was a welcome scent and perfect aromatherapy for me.

We undressed and laid down on our respective tables. My muscles were giddy with anticipation, Finally someone to get us back to our proper places!

The door opened. I turned my head to see who was going to be working on me. She was short, Asian, and a bit of a drill sergeant. “Face down! You, face down.”

I quickly complied. And it began.

I have to confess, I’ve mostly had Swedish style massages. You know, those relaxing ones with long sweeping strokes and deep tissue work if you ask for it. The only time I had any form of Chinese massage was from a guy who literally put me to sleep by rubbing my feet and calves after I beat them to death in Las Vegas.

All that to explain, I was not ready for whatever THIS was.

She just jumped in. Whoosh! Down went the blanket and sheet past my bum. Snap! There went the elastic of my underwear, also past my bum. I was cold, exposed, and suddenly a little nervous. She may have been short, but holy cow, she was mighty. Her elbows felt like drills in my back. I think she was trying to bust through all the layers of my wretched muscles to get to the very bottom of things and put it back in place from the inside out. Crunch! Crunch! Crunch! Crunch! At one point she was rubbing up and down, up and down my spine–not alongside but ON–with her elbow. Don’t cry! Just grit your teeth, she’ll be done soon! I almost levitated. And not because I was in some relaxed state.

After grinding my spine into place, she started on my ribs. At one point I’m pretty sure she massaged my lungs as well. By this time I was trying not to laugh, thinking, “Oh my god, I can’t believe I’m paying to get beat up!” Then she found my bum. Oh well, it was inevitable as it had been hanging out there the entire time. Oh yes, Thank you, that was my sciatic nerve. Yep. Oh man. Okay, can’t feel my leg. Well, maybe that’s a good thing.

Snap! My underwear was back on, slightly wedgied into my bum. Whoosh! The covers were slung back up over my assaulted back. Thunk! Thunk! She tucked those covers so tight around the top of my thighs that her hands pretty much went where only my husband and the gynecologist go. Oh dear lord! This is so awkward! My calves were pulverized, my heels ground down to nubs by her knuckles, my IT bands felt bruised by even more rubbing up and down, up and down.

On the table next to me I heard Brandon say, “Ah, that feels good.” And his masseur kindly reply, “You have very tight muscles here!”

I felt like I was on a different planet. Or a different dimension. Or being tortured while hearing someone else’s happiness. Whoosh! The covers came back down. Maybe my hour is over! Ha. No such luck.

“You turn over now!” She commanded.

I complied. What else could I do? She sat at my head and I was expecting the usual neck massage/stretch and head massage. Oh no. I don’t even know why I thought I could predict what would happen at this point. All of a sudden she was massaging my chest. Okay, pecs. Weird but I can deal with this. But then it wasn’t just the top part of my pectorals, it was the whole darn thing. Both sides. She was so brusque that I didn’t feel molested, but it was really strange having some woman rub my breasts. Then she was massaging my abs. Have you ever had someone besides a doctor squish your colon around? Thirty seconds of scalp massage aka hair mussing later, a pinch on the tips of my ears, and she was done.

They left the room so suddenly it took me a minute to realize my hour of torture was over!

The crazy thing is that my body was suddenly feeling much better. I’m still trying to figure out if she was really that good or if maybe it was just endorphins being released after realizing I wasn’t being beat up anymore. Either way it wasn’t the candle-lit, hold-hands-with-your-lover massage I’d pictured and I wouldn’t be coming back for more.

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