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.”
I 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.
Then 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.