Clothes Off

Me and Chris 2006

After working six straight days at the bar I’m really looking forward to my day off. Do a quick run on the beach and then head right back to soak up some rays and write. Talk on the phone with Chris for a bit. Sarah said she might try and come out this summer. I try to convince her to come, too. It pretty much all comes down to money. Somehow our conversation turns into a discussion about vampires. “You could just turn Mike into a vampire.” No. Mike couldn’t handle being a vampire – he would definitely kill me.

Later in the afternoon I get a massage. I have so been needing this. Walked by the place a bunch of times – there’s a huge sign outside that says 1 hr massage – $45. Kind of sketchy looking, so I decided against it, until one night a customer said he goes there all the time and it’s great. Sold. I came by yesterday to schedule the appointment. Wasn’t sure where to enter so I call. The lady answers and says she’ll come outside. She does and I go over and say hi. She continues talking to me with the phone to her ear, for like five more sentences. I begin to think she’s on the phone with someone else, but nope, she’s only talking to me. “You here for massage?” Yes, well not today, I want to schedule it for tomorrow. “OK, what time?” She continues to book my appointment outside. I’d really like to go in and see what the place looks like. Besides, shouldn’t she be writing this down? I’m trying to edge by her. She takes the hint, sort of. “You want a business card?” Yea, that’d be great. I really just want to see what it looks like inside. I walk in and there’s a desk and some rooms off to the left. That’s about it.

Walking in today I’m a little nervous. Turn to walk in and there’s a dude sitting in a chair blocking the door. What is up with this place. “You have appointment?” Yes for 3:00. “Umm…3:15?” No. 3:00. He doesn’t even have a book in front of him. He turns to walk in and I follow, very unsure. There’s about four or five doors to the left. He looks at them, then finally points to the last door. “In here?” Why are you asking me? God, this is weird. If he is the one giving the massage I’m out of here. Either way, I don’t want a guy massaging me. I had a guy one time and I felt like I couldn’t relax, laying there basically naked in front of him. He opens the door and I don’t walk in. I wait until he comes back out. Then I go in. He says nothing. What the hell. Another guy immediately comes in, very friendly, definitely gay, I think, and whispering. “Hi, how are you?” I’m good. I don’t whisper back. “You can put your things in here and then lay down on your stomach. This over top.” He first points to a small plastic bin to put my purse and clothes in, then a sheet to put over top of me. After he leaves I think I wouldn’t mind if he was the one giving the massage. But why was he whispering?

I hesitate before taking off my clothes. I realize that the wall connected to the next room is not a wall – it’s a curtain. It’s dark, but there’s light where the curtain separates from the wall, and I can see out into the lobby, which means they can see me. How private. And then I hear the deep breathing. Someone next to me is getting a massage right now. It’s silent, except for this person’s deep breathing. Why isn’t there some rainforest music playing or something? This is so awkward. Whatever, there’s no turning back now. Continue to remind myself that this place was recommended.

I rush to lay down and don’t wait long before there’s a quick knock on the door and someone says something inaudible and enters. Sounds like a woman. I don’t lift my head up to see her walk in. I’m about to get a massage from someone and we haven’t even looked each other in the face. I know I keep saying it, but this is so weird. I’ve only had like four or five massages and usually have to fill out a form first. I like writing down my ‘problem areas’ because special attention on my back and feet are much needed. The silence is really the worst part. I keep hearing the person in the next room and it’s awkward.

She gets to work, starting on my back, and it feels amazing; she’s good. Here’s a question. Are you supposed to get completely naked for a massage? I’ve always left my underwear on. I’m thinking I’m not supposed to, but no one ever said anything about it before. This lady doesn’t either; she just pulls my underwear right down. Oh wow, OK, do you what you gotta go. Finally, I flip onto my back and see her. She’s a nice looking older Chinese lady. At this point, the waterfall music has begun to play somewhere. Thank God. Bottom line, the massage is amazing. She doesn’t use any fancy products and when she wipes the oil off my body I’m pretty sure it’s just a paper towel. But the actual massage is all I really care about anyway, and it’s worth every penny.

I feel great as I head back to the apartment to write a bit more. I make a delicious dinner for myself of perfectly cooked soft-boiled eggs (I’m an expert now) over a veggie burger on toast with fried onions. Stay up late drinking tea and watching the documentary, Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory.

*Gym Class Heroes

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