Tuesday, February 26, 2013

My Massage Experiences Illustrated with the Help of Jennifer Lawrence

I've had five massages in my twenty six years of living so it hardly makes me an expert. I am an expert regarding the anxiety of getting a massage though. Last night being the frugal fabulous city living lady that I am I broke down and bought a deal on one of those flash sites. My bargain promised a massage and body scrub in glamorous North Hollywood (read: potentially sketchy).

Below I recount my dabbles with strangers massaging my body for your reading pleasure (I hope). Good news! We end on a happy tale. Funny enough I'm watching Celeste & Jesse Forever and there is a massage scene going on RIGHT NOW. I call that a sign.

The Ugly - Reflexology
One of my girlfriends Sam decided we should go to one of those cheap massage parlors. You see them all over in LA and Orange County. They're generally $20-$45 for a quick rub down. Nervously I asked my friend to describe what its like.
She tells me, "It's just a big room of people. You have your clothes on. It's nothing fancy but it feels amazing." 
Slightly panicking knowing I couldn't get out of it, "OK so you leave your clothes on? I guess I could do that. It's just ummm my feet... they get... clammy." 
Sam was keen on getting her kinks out could sense I was ready to back out, "You will do fine. They put your feet in a bucket of water. C'mon let's go."
They touch your feet?
My insides were curdling. My knots were creating knots. The backs of my legs were sweating with semi noticeable sweat stains on my yoga pants. The trip was already completely counter productive.

It was just as she described. However there was so much emphasis on the feet as this was a reflexology spa. I use the word spa loosely. First putting your feet in a bucket of hot water I could feel the sweat tingle come on-- that slight sting feeling that comes with nervous sweating. Although they were in a bucket of water I just knew they were dripping sweat.

The old man pulled my feet out of the bucket after a few minutes and began to put pressure on them. By rubbing the feet with certain pressure points reflexologists can release tension in other parts of the body. It's pretty fascinating but very uncomfortable with sweaty feet.

I could not stop sweating. My feet soaked the pillow they were resting on. I was mortified. By the time he worked his way to my back I wanted to run out the door. Instead I stayed like a tense ball ready to explode at any moment.

I will never get a reflexology massage again. If you have sweaty feet and are tangled by the idea of someone touching your feet RED ALERT AVOID REFLEXOLOGY. I have friends who swear by reflexology and love a quick trip in an Asian oasis. I envy their ease. But at the end of the day that shit just isn't for me.

The Bad - Chatty Cathy
Right after my parents divorced my mom decided we should take a trip to Hawaii in an attempt to have a bit of peace. It turned into a sad reminder our family was no more. I digress though, I had some pennies saved and thought a massage could help my aching heart.

At 19 I was not confident in speaking up for myself. I let the massues do what she thought was best. I cringed as she massaged my feet.

She commented on my sweating.  That is one of my ultimate pet peeves-- pointing anything physically out of the norm on someone.

She had a tone like she was going to scold me. Then trying to suggest that I wasn't drinking enough water. Oh and she rattled on what was best for my acne. Congratulations lady you just announced that you are aware that I am sweaty. As if it was the first time I was hearing it. Good. For. You. Do you feel like you found the holy grail? I'm sorry I don't have a medal for you.

For fucks sake.
Wow. I just got heated remembering that moment.

Really though, this goes for anyone and any slight abnormal "thing" they may have. All that comes of it is embarrassment and the person who calls it out gets nothing. For the love of sanity think before you speak people.

The rest of the massage was fine. Just heightened insecurity is all.

The Good- Hot Oil. Rub it all over me.
The quaint spa in North Hollywood was a dream come true. The massues used hot oil which meant my sweat and the oil just kind of mixed together. I was confident the massues couldn't tell I was sweating and if she did she didn't say a god damn thing because she's the BEST.

Don't leave! I want this to last forever.
My massage was followed up with a sea salt scrub that again masked any and all sweat. The salt also helped leave my skin smooth and sweat free for a few hours after my relaxing retreat.

Parting Words
In conclusion, know that you're in charge and there are options for everyone. I always read Yelp reviews to get a sense of the spa. Just want your back and shoulders massages and hands avoided? Ask for it. You deserve it!

Let Jennifer Lawrence inspire you to enter a spa with confidence but not necessarily grace. She is true to herself and America is loving it.

Screw the norm. I get what I need.