The least relaxing massage ever

I had a massage today, one that I had planned for several weeks. After torturing myself on The South Beach Diet for 2 weeks, and then semi-torturing myself on a modified version of the diet for 2 more weeks, I had earned myself a reward. I look awesome, by the way, weighing in at my pre-kid weight.

My mom gave me a gift certificate specifically for a hot stone massage. She arranged for it with the spa and created a cute card from the printed out email certificate they sent her. The dollar value was clearly marked.

Here are 10 things that made me hate this massage. In no particular order.

  1. Two weeks in advance, when I made the appointment, the receptionist asked if I have a preference for a man or a woman. I let her know that I prefer a woman. Two days in advance, they called to let me know that my masseuse would be a man. Ok, thanks for letting me know, but why couldn’t you satisfy my request when I made the appointment so far in advance?
  2. While I was waiting, the receptionist offered me magazines in a totally awkward exchange. “Do you want InStyle! Or Cosmo!” she asked too loudly. I took both from her hands, but then saw that there was no place to set anything down. They gave me water also, but again, no place to set it down. I am already feeling physically uneasy. But this is getting picky.
  3. The start of the massage consisted of the man applying lotion to my back in a random feeling, lightweight pressure. It felt like I had asked a girlfriend to apply sunscreen, not like a massage. Weird, but I tried to assume this is part of the hot stone methodology.
  4. Some of the stones were too hot. I believe I am burned. The spot in which I am burned is pretty much the start of my butt crack. Did I want a scalding stone placed there?
  5. In my past experience with massages, the masseuse typically tucks the sheets snugly around your legs and chest as your limbs are pulled out from under the covers, subtly reassuring you that your private parts are not being exposed. This masseuse did not do that, and I felt anxious that I was exposed at many points during the massage.
  6. He went pretty far down my back(side) and came up pretty high on the thighs, without asking me if I care to have my tushy massaged. My past experience tells me that asking first is the norm. I felt uncomfortable.
  7. When he asked me to turn over, he did not do the reassuring “I’m going to lift this sheet so that you can turn over.” He just told me to turn over and I took it upon myself to cling to the sheets and blankets to make sure I was covered.

At this point, you might be thinking, “Jesus, woman, you are 35 years old. Tell the man what you like and don’t like, and if you don’t like it, leave.” Well, let me assure you, that’s exactly what I was saying to myself in my head. But I didn’t leave.

Allow me to keep going with my list…

  • When I turned over, the lights were glaringly bright. I asked “Do you have anything to put over my eyes,” which I hoped was going to result in a lavender eye pillow. He searched in a drawer and put a dry, floppy washcloth over my eyes.
  • He said he was going to massage my belly. I don’t know how it happened that suddenly I had a dishtowel over my breasts and my belly exposed, but I felt pretty sure that he must have had more of my breast exposed than is ok with me. I tucked the dishtowel around me more tightly and endured for about 30 seconds. Then I said, “I feel uncomfortable with this. Can you pull up the covers and move on to the next thing?” Really, a belly massage for someone who has had two pregnancies (one of which was 42 weeks) has got to be just, well, gross looking, and I couldn’t relax with the image of what my kneaded abdomen flesh was looking like, although I couldn’t give a shit what this dude thinks of me.
  • Finally, he ended my torture with a weird massage of a thickish cream on my face. “What is he putting on my skin?” I wondered, worried that I was undergoing a zit-inducing pore suffocation session. When he proclaimed the massage finished (by the way, don’t rub someone’s face after their feet, please) and left the room, I sat up and looked around at his tools of the trade. He had been using Avalon Organics Hand and Body Lotion. On my face. WTF! I am not a picky or savvy consumer of cosmetics, but I do know that you don’t put hand lotion on your face. Blech!

I basically rushed out of there, thinking that I just need to go home and process and will call to voice my complaint later.

But not before I clarified that it was unacceptable to charge me more than the price of the gift certificate, since when I arrived, they had admired and acknowledged the gift certificate. And then post-massage announced that I owed $30 more. I don’t think so.

Then — the kicker.

I saw Heather for dinner and asked her how her treatment at that place had been two weeks prior since we had never talked about it and GUESS WHAT! THE SAME EXACT EXPERIENCE! (How could we have never talked about this?)

Heather had blamed herself, assuming she just didn’t care for a male masseuse. WRONG. The dude was totally unprofessional. I’m disgusted and furious. And I have a very mildly burnt butt crack.

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RookieMoms.com co-founder Whitney lives with her husband, son, and daughter in the San Francisco Bay Area where she writes about parenting, crafts, and activities that moms can do with babies in tow. She and Heather also publish 510Families.com, a site for East Bay parents and are the authors of The Rookie Mom's Handbook and Stuff Every Mom Should Know.