For Valentine’s Day, Mr. Right and I bought each other professional massages. He went to his regular place, a Shiatsu massage place in the mall (that he first discovered from Groupon) and came back raving about how much better he felt.
He warned me that I might not like it there, because the massages are deep tissue. Which I took as a challenge. I love a good deep tissue massage. And I’m no wimp. I can handle a Shiatsu massage.
And so I confidently walked into the Renu Shiatsu at the mall (red flag) and signed up for a 90 minute massage (that cost well under market value – second red flag).
The lady who helped me didn’t speak a word of English. Not a single word. (third red flag)
She pointed me to a room with a curtain instead of a door (fourth red flag) that was right next to the main mall thoroughfare, so you could hear the mall music and people talking as they walked by (fifth red flag). I undressed, nuzzled under the mismatched sheet (sixth red flag) and waited for my masseuse to come in.
Next door I heard a masseuse literally beating on the customer (seventh red flag) and thought to myself, I hope he’s getting a different massage than I am (nope).
The masseuse entered, and what followed was the most painful 90 minutes of my life. I think childbirth may be more relaxing than what I endured in that tiny little room next to the busiest part of the mall. You see, Shiatsu involves hitting pressure points with the thumb… the palm… and the elbow. Translation – this lady dug her elbow into my spine over and over and over. She didn’t just massage my muscles… no, she kneaded right over my bones leaving bruises in her path. When she did hit muscle, she dug with all of her might – not with a flowing, rubbing motion, but more of a repeated jab – as hard as she could.
That’s when she wasn’t hitting me.
I was in so much pain that I almost puked through the hole in the head pillow. At one point I winced so hard my left leg flew off the table – which she took as a sign that I needed my leg worked on (again – she didn’t speak A SINGLE WORD OF ENGLISH). She grabbed my leg and yanked it backward until my foot was touching the back of my head – then she bent it over to the side so that my foot was at a 90 degree angle from my knee, touching it to the table. And with my leg contorted in such an unnatural way, THEN she started massaging and digging into my leg.
It was all I could to not cry.
After she finished jabbing me over and over and over… the hitting started. I’ve had massages before when they give you little karate chopping motions over your back – lightly – and it feels pretty good. This was more like heavy hitting with her whole hand. It was horrible. But some part of me kept thinking, obviously she knows what she’s doing – maybe I’ll feel better after it’s done.
Nope. I didn’t feel any better. I could barely walk out afterward.
But I forgot the most horrifying part. At the very end of the massage, she had me flip over so that my face was pointed to the ceiling, and she rubbed the back of my neck and gently massaged my face. Finally, it felt like a regular, relaxing massage. I was just about to convince myself that THIS was the part where they go from causing pain to causing relaxation…
And she started to choke me. She literally grabbed her hands all the way around my neck, and started lifting my head off the table… by my neck. Granted, she hit muscles in the back of my neck, but she also hit my vocal cords in the front… I could barely breathe. For a moment I thought that if by some horrible coincidence I died that night in my sleep, the police would logically assume that Mr. Right had choked me to death because of the bruises this lady was surely going to leave on my neck.
And then it was over. I pulled my battered body off the table, got dressed, paid as quickly as I could and ran out of the “salon.” I called Mr. Right who assured me that his experience was NOTHING like that one. And then we both had a good laugh.
Not exactly the most romantic Valentines massage ever. Poor Mr. Right couldn’t even touch my back for three days because of the bruising. But, I did gain a new funny story, and I can cross “Get a Shiatsu massage” off my bucket list.
Trust me, you should go ahead and delete it from yours as well.