Yesterday marked the day I got my first professional massage, and let me say I now believe that every woman should be touched the way I was touched last night.
I remember vaguely the room I was in and the words in the Korean music playing above my head. I just recall drifting off to a happy place as my face got ground into the massaging table’s hole. My back popped fifty times, hands rubbed oil on every part of my body except my no-no’s, and I had to keep slurping my spit back into my mouth every five seconds.
It was heavenly – all one hour and a half of it. Sitting up was the best part. As the masseuse put our shoes back on our feet, she took a deep look at Ai’s face. I thought she was going to kiss him. I was too relaxed to care either way.
“Are you Korean?” she spat. I just started hysterically laughing, as if I was plastered and coming off of a weekend binge.
“Why is that so funny?” my masseuse said, laughing as well.
“Because she could have guessed anything but that and been right.”
What was even better was that the couple’s package came with so much more than just the massage. Actually, it led you up perfectly to that grand finale.
As soon as you walk in the door, they hand you a disposable bathing suit that isn’t meant to fit shrimps like us. You end up running to each station holding them up by the sides and hoping neighboring couples didn’t get a view from the gaping hole in the front.
I just told Ai to tell anyone who looked: “Yeah, that’s what you used to look like when you were 23.”
After a mandatory scrub down with herbal-hippie lotions and potions, you are tossed in a dungeon that reminds you of Hell. It’s lit up red, sweltering hot, and you sweat out all of the sins your body has been holding for however long it has been since your last visit – I had 22 years of them to confess.
Stepping out dazed and confused from dehydration, you are given water and tossed into a steam room that dries you instantaneously through its foggy maze. I relate it to purgatory. You are so drained from Hell, purgatory seems like a step up with its atmosphere smelling of herbal tea. Who knew forgiveness tasted like lemons?
Next, you get to marinate in a Jacuzzi tub that blows bubbles in all the wrong places if you are five-foot-one. After finding your sweet spot, you get to indulge with fresh fruit that they cut in to cool shapes, like birds and boats.
After a few Asian jokes and the typical, “Oh, it’s so pretty I don’t want to eat it!” you devour your entire plate. The complimentary champagne to wash it down probably added to my prior explained hysteria.
And then you get let in the pearly gates and are ushered to lay down by two goddesses with magical hands. You lose yourself two minutes in, and don’t come back to consciousness for another eighty-eight. Its nirvana, samsara, bliss, heavenly, enlightenment – whatever you want to call it. It’s ah-ma-zing.
And then you realize while riding the subway back home with two couples screaming at each other and a toddler thumping its head against the seat in a temper tantrum, that you woke up a new person. Nothing bothers you. In fact, today is the best day of your life.
Today is the day your life starts anew. Those crappy Astoria apartments are a thing of the past. Brokers are suddenly amusing to think about. And a trip to California is right around the corner.
Sweating my ass off earlier prepared me for that “LA B-day Vacay.” Are you loving that use of alliteration as much as I am?
Life is hard, especially when trying to find a place to live in the city. But then you get over it, as Mrs. Farrar once told my AP class.
She never told me getting over it could feel this good.