Rubbed the Wrong Way

Wednesday, August 4, 2010 | 0 Comment(s)

Family matters have arisen.  Please forgive the infrequency of recent posts.

Moving on.

Today I got a bad massage.  Now this post is not about shaming the guy who did it (which i have no need for), but rather, I have found that getting a bad massage is the kinda thing i need to vent about in order to get over it.

Some preface.  This is all taking place at a massage school.  It only costs 30 bucks ($25+$5 tip), so results can be . . . variable.  The massages take place in two large rooms, 6 tables per room. 

All the other people getting massages got called into the rooms, I was still sitting there.  5 min later, my guy comes bounding up the stairs, apologizing and saying it'll just take a second to set up his table.  At this point I'm not feeling like my guy (whose name i never caught) has got his game face on.   He's super laid back to the point of seeming like he's not enthused about being there (which is a vibe i've never experienced from a masseuse before--quite the contrary i have found that most have had a particular jua de vive.)  He asks me if there are any particular areas that need work and I tell him that my right side (hamstring from my calf to lower back) has been really hurting (aka. immobile) and that's why im there.  he responds that he's just coming back from 3 months off.  I'm not sure why he is telling me this.  Is he lowering my expectations?  Massages are special treats to myself, and its kinda a buzzkill going into it expecting the worst.  If the secret to a good massage is communication/trust between the masseuse and the client, we are not doing well so far.

I like it rough.  I tell him this.  What i mean is that i have only once or twice experienced a masseuse giving me more pressure than i can take.  This guys early up and downs on my back feel like a mouse scurrying near my spine.  I tell him I can take much more pressure.  He adjusts.  His pressure is pretty good, but something about using that pressure totally f's his flow.  He finds a spot, pushes hard (which is good), then moves and repeats.  What I would call the "flow" of the massage, is just not there.  But he's still only on my back, and my leg is what im more concerned about.  I try to delay judgment.  I try and relax.  When he begins on my right leg I realize that this i'snt going to be the experience I hoped for.   He's going much lighter on my leg, not searching out the tightness, and generally not spending a lot of time trying to pinpoint my bad area (which is particularly surprising since the outside of my hammy is rock hard).   His touch on the bottom of my feet is so light that it tickles instead of massaging.  Next he's bending my knee.  Nope, no ending to that sentence. He just bends it.  I can touch my foot to my back, so this is . . . not even a stretch really.  He later does a similiar thing where he kinda slowly swings my arm back and forth.  It's like the light version of shaking the tension out of someone.  Again, unhelpful. 

I'm starting to tense up. I'm now going through all the negative things about the massage instead of relaxing and just enjoying.  Trying to work out my phrasing for the comment card.  Quick hint, if this kinda stuff is what's going thru your head during a massage--you aren't having a good time.  I'm realizing that getting a bad massage is very much like getting a toothy BJ.  Something that should be so relaxing and wonderful becomes a disappointing letdown.  (And you dont want to see the person again for awhile!)  He finishes my legs, but i can tell that he's done so too quickly--he's ahead of the other masseuses (who started at least 5 min before him).  Instead of going back and trying to work on my identified problem area he uncovers my back and starts pressing again.  I imagine that this is how women feels when a guy with a really small penis is giving it his all and she can't really feel it.  "this again!," i think to myself.  Any hope that this massage will get better as i flip over has evaporated.

5 minutes of the end of the massage are spent with either his hands wedged un-symmetrically under my shoulder blades or with his hands at the base of my skull  (which feels good--but i laid there forever).  I feel like he's biding time.  The "neck work" consisted of turning my head right, and then one move where he moved up my neck over and over again.  turn left--repeat.  right--repeat.  left--repeat.  This is not flow.  It was as if he was running out of ideas or moves or motivation.  He concluded before all but one of the other masseuses.  Maybe he did actually run out of ideas.  Perhaps he should have fallen back on, um . . . the shit i had told him that hurt me.  I've been to this place many many times, and this performance felt less engaged, less professional, and not super helpful.  It's not the money; it's the disappointment.  My expectation had been that my ailing back would feel better this afternoon from having gotten a massage.  No such luck.  I tried to convey this disappointment both when he asked for feedback and on the comment card.  he took it pretty well, but as I was filling out my comment card i could hear him talking about our session in the room behind me.  Unprofessional, even for a student.

Bletch bletch bletch.

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