"Mark?" a voice called out.
I looked up. And I didn't move. Because it seemed like the great-great-grand-mother of any possible masseuse had just called my name.
I have had what some might call a "bad history" of "massages not going well," so I can't say I was shocked to see Betty White's mom standing in front of me. But still. Deep in my heart. I thought there might be some sort of mistake or practical joke going on. So I sat there. Motionless.
"Mark?" she called out again. And I looked around...and, yup, I was the only man in the waiting area.
"Here?" I responded...in question form.
"I'm -----, and I'll be your masseuse."
Of course you will be I thought to myself.
Now, I'm a somewhat open-minded guy. So in the moments it took me to walk over to her (about two seconds), ever the optimist, I talked myself into thinking this COULD go well.
She's experienced. Friendly. Knows some old-school methodology my mind flashed.
But as I shook the hand of the octogenarian, she didn't seem to have full use of her fingers. Any of them. They curled into her palms like on someone who was checking to see if she liked their new nail polish. As I shook her claw, I managed a "Hi."
I followed her back to the massage room, and she walked like she needed hip replacement surgery, her right leg dragging a beat or two behind the left. I was glad she didn't tell me to "Walk this way" or I would have had to curl over into a hump-backed ball.
While I might not personally understand why a person without full usage of her hands, back, or hips would want to do a job where she has to use her hands, back, and hips all day...that is not for me to decide nor judge. OK....not for me to decide, at least.
After the dead-man's walk to the room was over, she asked me what I would like to have done. Admittedly, I was a little flustered....so while in the midst of discussing all the places I DON'T like to have massaged...I left one out. I forgot to say, "Whatever you do...for the love of GOD...don't touch my feet. I CANNOT stand it when people touch my feet."
This omission would come back to haunt me.
Five minutes into the massage it was clear to me that all my previous suppositions about her possibly being experienced and knowing a lot of old-school methodologies were wrong. Very, very wrong.
She had about two moves:
- Move Number 1: Move claws up and down back, scratching me with the top of her nails
- Move Number 2: Rub sunspot-filled forearms on the center of back ever-so-lightly...not enough to massage anything...but just enough so I could feel the bumps on her arms.
All of this was clearly very relaxing.
A little later, after her fourth Move Number 1 and fifth Move Number 2 combination, she asks,
"I'm new at this. How's it going? Pressure OK?"
Now, you aren't going to believe me...but I was wrong about the kitty litter smell from before. I was. I'm telling you, when she asked me this question, wafts of cat food smell poured down on me...heavier than her hands ever could. I don't know why her breath smelled like cat food. I don't believe I was in a Simpson's episode...all I know is what I smelled.
Regardless, I simply couldn't bring myself to let Fancy Feast know that this was possibly the most excruciating thirty-minutes of my life (thus far). I also didn't let her know that because of her, I basically had just decided that I would absolutely NEVER, EVER get a cat. Instead, I simply said "Fine" as I once again wondered why someone who clearly should not be using her hands OR be standing all day would choose to do this job.
Towards the end of my time on my stomach, she made a few passes at my feet. I quickly thought back to our pre-massage conversation...and realize SHIT...I DIDN'T TELL HER I WOULD RATHER STAB MYSELF IN THE BALLS THAN HAVE HER TOUCH MY FEET!
At this point, a normal person would probably have politely asked her to stop, but part of me was actually relieved that all the Move Number 1 and Move Number 2 combinations were over...and she just massaged my feet for a few seconds. So I was cool...
...until she had me turn over and decided to give me a twenty-minute foot massage with oil and lotion and scents and all the squishing and touching and individual toe touching. AHHHHHH!!!! But what could I do? I didn't mention it before the massage. I didn't mention it when I was on my stomach. And I didn't yet get the tattoo on my forehead that says, TOUCH MY FEET AND DIE, LADY.
So while I listened to the SQUISH, SQUISH, SQUISH of this lady clawing and milking at my feet, I squirmed. Fairly regularly. Eventually, I guess I squirmed too much, and she inquired: "Ticklish?" Chuckle. Chuckle. Huh huh huh.
"Yeah. Ticklish." I replied...imagining myself jumping off a cliff into a pool of lotion with a bunch of faceless people I don't know touching my toes, AKA Hell.
My time was up. She limped out of the room. I fumbled at putting my socks on over my still-damp and recently-molested feet. I sat there. Staring at my shoes. Wondering how in the heck this actually happened...and what it was she could have possibly eaten for dinner....until I decided to re-retire from massages.
Until I go back for more...because this couldn't possibly happen again. Right?