Thursday, February 9, 2012

A relaxing lunch

My husband gave me two gift certificates for foot massages for my birthday. Let us not think too hard about what it implies if he pays other men to massage his wife... moving on...

I used one of these gift certificates today.

I've gone three times before, and I think each time I did talk about it on here. I find the whole thing fascinating. I go to this suspicious-looking place among other suspicious-looking places, like gun stores. There's just the Asian name on the outside of the massage parlor, a neon sign that says Open and a neon picture of a foot; it's impossible to see inside without going in the door. The workers speak about zero English, which is fine as I speak zero Korean. It's a fun game of charades to explain what you want.

I love the atmosphere of the place, and I also like the way of the workers. The workers there are so unobtrusive. It can be unnerving when you think you are alone with your masseuse, and there's really two other people in the room that you could not detect even with your above average hearing. Americans are so flippin' noisy. The place is dark with a solo incandescent uplight in the corner of the room. The walls are painted a brown-orange. A water fountain trickles in the background, and mellow instrumental music surrounds you. Once you lay down, they cover you with heavy blankets. During your stay, you can hear the rhythmic cycle of the heating system intermittently working.

I've said before that I don't like to be touched. It's true. I don't like to be randomly touched, as in I hate when people touch me when I don't know they're going to touch me or people who want to hug me for no apparent reason. Personal space is good. But if you go into the situation knowing that you're going to be touched, then I'm cool with it.

The thing with this foot massage is that it really isn't just a foot massage. It's a 10 minute acupressure and face massage + a 10 minute arm massage + a 5 minute chest and back massage + a 10 minute leg massage + 20 minute foot massage + 5 minutes of physical therapy, all this under the name "foot massage." 

The first time I thought he misunderstood me because he was starting off with my face. I thought it was a foot/face English noun issue. But, alas, they have a massage script they don't deviate from that's 2/3 not foot massage, starting with the face and ending with your pelvis (which is a bit unnerving the first time you have a male masseuse getting on top of you to push on your pelvis).

I've been four times, and each time was the same script. One time a woman did half of my massage, and a man did the latter half. (I wasn't fond of her because she stuck her finger all the way in my ear, which is a script deviation.) I have had four different guys massage me, and each one diligently followed the script. While the script was the same, each one did slightly different things or had his own spin on it. It's kind of like dating, I suppose. You follow the same first date script with multiple people, and each experience is slightly different.

This time, of note, the massage dude was particularly good at face accupressure (is it a masseur since it's a guy or still masseuse? I'll just stick with massage dude.). I could have laid there all day with him pushing on my forehead and head.  They finally switched lotions/oils. For my previous 3 visits that were spaced over the course of a year, they used very smelly mango goop. I reeked of mangoes. Today he used a far more subtle oil/lotion, and of course it's on my face and hair since he was massaging there. For the rest of the day, I've been catching subtle whiffs of something kind of musky. I realize that it's likely the oil/lotion (it felt like an oil instead of a lotion, but they cover your face with a towel so you really don't know what it is), and it is better than overwhelming mangoes, just kind of unusual.

It went well overall. I still get rather tense at the arm massage. I get ticklish when he gets too close under my arms, and then I spazz out about the finger massage. I'm always freaked out that he's going to take my rings. I keep my fingers always tight together so that I can feel my rings against my other fingers. When he separates my fingers, he could totally slip off that ring unnoticed. Other than that part, I'm totally relaxed during the whole thing, even with the pelvis pressure --> which, again, is a tad weird.

One more gift certificate to use!

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