It wasn’t my first massage. Growing up my mom would often take us to the Arizona School of Massage Therapy for five dollar massages from students who didn’t really know what they were doing yet. It also wasn’t the first time that I had experienced something new, if you will, while getting a massage. During a couples massage once, the therapist found it funny to tickle my boyfriend. Another time no matter how many ways I explained that I was in actual physical pain, the therapist would simply chuckle and press harder. However no amount of technique could prepare me for the massage I was about to receive.
Sitting in the waiting room is always more nerve wracking than relaxing for me. The dim lights, smooth jazz, and extreme fresh candles feel more like the waiting of purgatory than luxury. It's too calm, and I'm an overly alert person so I don't trust the relaxation. Because I'm a psycho, but I digress... When the door finally opened a small Chinese woman called my name ever so quietly, she shook my hand and gestured down the hall towards her room. Standing at only five feet and four inches myself, it was incredible how petite this woman was. How was she even going to reach across my back? Let alone apply pressure?
She instructed me to undress to my comfort level and lay facing down, and as she shut the door I began to do so. Typically I remove everything but my panties before I slip beneath the sheets, but the more I took off the more I realized that I was in a public place and what if somehow I misunderstood her? All of my previous knowledge went out the window, and my mind began to race. "Wait... this is what I'm supposed to do right? Oh my god... I’m practically naked under this sheet, what if I'm not supposed to be? Did I make up that I'm supposed to strip down? Is she going to freak out if she walks in here and I'm naked? Will they drag me out of the building for my blatant disregard for the rules? And if so, will they let me get dressed first?!"
My panic subsided as she entered the room and rage did not consume her. “I begin now, ok?” she grabbed the sheet and slowly pulled it backwards revealing my back, but she didn’t stop there. She pulled the sheet all the way down to the top of my thighs, displaying much more than I was prepared for. Without hesitation she grabbed the top of my thong and pulled it down exposing a half moon to the brisk Massage Envy air. Cold and exposed I was very unsure of what to do, and yet very grateful that I was wearing clean underwear. Before I had time to process what was happening I felt her place something lightly on the very top of my hind quarters, directly in the middle... My butt had become her personal table for her lotion dispenser. And because of it’s size, the bottle did not so much as wobble...
Pump, pump, pump.
Three pumps of lotion, another inch into the ridge, and she began to rub my back. That bottle wasn’t going anywhere now.
I decided that the only thing to do was accept the situation and try to relax.This wasn’t so bad. It’s not like she meant anything inappropriate by it. I was fine. My mind began to wander to other places...
"I’m moving to New York soon. Does Nick still live in New York? I bet he’s still dating Sarah. I should see if he wants to get lunch. I wonder what part of town he lives in?"
"Okay... Anyways, it's getting close to my move date. I'm really starting to freak out. I know it's going to work out, but I'm nervous. I almost can't believe it's really happening.."
"Ok this is driving me nuts. Should I say something? Does she do this for everyone? Or did the sheer size of my butt present her with too tempting a hands free opportunity?"
"OK THAT WENT TOO FAR. LITERALLY!"
I was at a loss. Clearly this woman saw no problem with the location of her lotion bottle. My discomfort was inconsequential in comparison to the convenience it provided her. I finally decided to cave and say something. Massages aren't cheap and I was not going to walk out more tense than I walked in.
"Excuse me, I'm so sorry, would it be possible for you to place the lotion bottle some place else? I'm not comfortable with where it currently *ahem* resides."
She continued to work down my arms as if I hadn't said a word. I mean what do you actually do in a situation like this? Do I stop the massage to protect my rear ends dignity? Do I ignore it and trust that at some point she's going to ask me to flip over and her little lotion holder will no longer be an option? Oh god.. what if I flip over and she uses another part of me as her personal table...
This was getting to be more stressful than it was relaxing which is painfully ironic given that I only made the appointment because I wanted to unwind.
After a while she did end up asking me to turn over. I saw her searching for a new location to store her bottle. She looked me over and accepted that there was no where on this new terrain that would do the trick. She settled for leaning it against my side and continued her work.
Years have passed, but this memory has stayed with me. Ingrained in my brain like that bottle was in my ass... Somewhere in the world right now there is an unknowing soul about to have a bottle of lotion crammed into their butt whilst getting a massage. They may feel violated. Hell, they may even enjoy it. But if that experience taught me anything it's to not be afraid to speak up when you're uncomfortable, and most importantly, to clench.