It really is a sign of the times when a person gets stressed because they’re late for their massage. (It’s also a sign the person in question is an idiot.)
I’m a sucker for massages. If a creepy guy approached me in an alley and offered a massage, I’m pretty sure I’d accept. So yesterday I went and had my first Chinese massage.
There are a lot of shops where staff talk amongst themselves in another language while serving English-speaking customers, and this was no exception. I’m pleased to share with the world that I know enough Mandarin to know they most certainly weren’t talking about me. (You’re welcome, paranoid monoglots. Customers just aren’t an interesting topic of conversation.)
They were surprisingly discreet – letting me take my top off and lie down, and then placing a cloth over me as well. That suited me fine. One of my favourite things about doctors and masseurs (and the artist Spencer Tunick) is that in their eyes the human body isn’t good, or bad, or sexy. It’s just a workspace or a piece of meat or clay. It’s oddly liberating to be seen in that way. My masseur used my bum as a handle more than once, and it just made me more relaxed. (Dear internet: This does not apply to the real world.)
It hurt a LOT. Chinese culture isn’t known for being a soft-hearted namby-pamby new-age love fest. For a little while I thought she’d snap my neck tendons like aged guitar strings. Then it was all nice and relaxing. Then I thought she was sanding my muscles off against my shoulder blades.
Eventually she gave me a vigorous pummel and let me go. I sat up a little hesitantly, and discovered that all my movements were smoother and better than before.
Nice work, lady.
PS For something even more terrifying than a little lady who can extract kidneys one-handed, tune into the blog this Sunday. The karaoke has occurred, and there’s an extremely embarrassing video.