When You Splurge and the Results Are … Unexpected

This past weekend, the absence of my fella and Babygirl left me to my own devices, by which I mean the laptop and the ROKU box. (I finished the edits my agent wanted on my novel! I watched all of “Sherlock” Season 3!) It was glorious.

Most importantly, though, I at last at last enjoyed Birthday Massage #1. Following your sage advice, I went with two rubdowns at the local Brooklyn place I already know and love over three at the Manhattan place that may-or-may-not-be-awesome. The massage therapist at the Brooklyn place was great. She was also what some people might call a Chatty Cathy. I mean, the lady could talk.

There I was, facedown on a table, my modesty protected only by the equivalent of a moist towelette, in a candlelit room echoing with the soothing noises of “Vaguely Buddhist-Sounding Mix #431” — I didn’t exactly feel empowered to say, “Um, would it be okay if we did this in silence?” Luckily Chatty Cathy was good at her job and her commentary didn’t take me out of the experience. Not like the very first time I splurged on a massage as an adult who badly needed one, having been laid off just before Christmas in the middle of the NYC transit strike, and got $50 worth of free advice from an Eastern European:

[My therapist was] a Stalinist relic, a hardened Back-to-the-USSR type, a human tattoo who had no sympathy for my damaged emotional state. This was our conversation.

BttU: How are you?

Me: I’m a little bummed. I just lost my job.

BttU: That’s no good. What was your major in college?

Me: Film & American History.

BttU: Oh, no, that’s no good — you’ll never get a job with that. … The office where you lost your job. Was there a man there?

Me: Uh … BttU: I tell my daughter, when you go into an office, make friends with a man. An older man, to look out for you. Not woman. You can never trust women; women are jealous of young pretty girls. You need a man to look out for you.

That was like an anti-massage. I left more stressed out than when I had been when I arrived.

This therapist was similarly opinionated, although in a less offensive way: she said I should move my hips more when I walk and buy some G-strings (!?!!?). On the plus side, she was so engrossed that the massage, which started at 7:00 PM, didn’t end until she happened to glance at the clock at 9:00 PM. For that two hour rubdown, she charged me $100, leaving me with another $100 leftover for Massage #2. PERFECT.

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