Thursday, September 08, 2016

rubbed the wrong way

During my lunch break, I got to experience the kind of embarrassment that makes you feel like your entire body has been engulfed in flames.

A bit of backstory first: 

There's a massage school in my city where you can get super cheap massages from the students because they need hands-on (pun intended) hours to get their certification.  By "super cheap", I mean $30 for an hour of full body massage.  They also have a few graduates who either haven't gotten jobs elsewhere or want to make some cash on the side, and they get $45 an hour.  Still cheap, but generally not worth the extra money.  Obviously, some of the massage therapists are better than others, but I've been going there at least once a month for the last 11 years, and I've only had a few really bad experiences.

Anyway, like Bill Clinton, I always prefer a female intern.  It's not like I think the male therapists are going to do something awful to me; the doors don't have locks, and it's such a small office that a scream would bring someone running.  But like every woman in the history of the world, I have body image issues, so I really don't want any strange dudes checking out my goods.

But last month, they didn't have any female interns OR graduates available, and my shoulders felt like granite and I was stressed out as hell, so I went ahead and booked a massage with a male graduate named Tony.

What can I say about Tony?  Well, Tony turned out to be pretty fuckin' awesome.  He has the warmest hands ever and his playlist (ambient, Hotel-era Moby, stuff like that) is a very welcome change from the usual Enya/whale songs/Gregorian chants.  Plus he's just really, really talented.  Sometimes he can be a bit too rough---I swear we need to set up a safe word---but he's always very quick to ease up when I say something.  I've seen him three times now, and he's definitely worth the extra money, especially because the effects of the massage actually last for a few days.  Usually I go to bed the night of a massage and wake up the next day with my shoulders and neck just as tense as they were before, but not when Tony works on me.

As far as how Tony looks, he's basically a human version of the city of Portland, Oregon.  He's got a man bun and a beard and his arms and legs are covered in tribal tattoos.  He looks like he knows every vegan restaurant in the area and he probably attends a drum circle at least once or twice a year.  I don't mean any of this in a pejorative way; I'm just trying to give you a general idea of what he's like.

Okay, back to today.  (You:  "JFC, about time!")  I had to go to the bank on my lunch break, and the ATM is located inside a grocery store, so after I got my money, I decided to grab a few things.  I walked into the beverage aisle and lo and behold, there was Tony!  He was with a woman in a batik skirt and a "Free Tibet" shirt, i.e. exactly the type of woman I'd expect Tony to be with.  I don't know if they were actually together or not, but the vibe between them sure read as romantic to me.

As they approached, I said, "Hey, Tony!"

He squinted at me and said "...hi?" in a voice that sounded like he was trying to place where he knew me from.

I said, "Oh, sorry, I'm [name].  You probably didn't recognize me when I'm not lying down!"

And that's how I know embarrassment will not actually kill you; it will just make you wish you were dead.