Newman and I booked a couples’ massage at a local spa, thinking it would be the perfect way to detox from some of the stress build-up in recent weeks. I was excited to learn that there even was a local spa, and as we drove the couple of miles down the road to get there, I was busy imagining us returning every year for our soon to be established tradition of unwinding in a serene setting together.
The spa is lovely, tiny and invisibly tucked in a little nook of the town, behind the post office and cornered on two sides with woods. There is a fenced in outdoor area with a pristinely kept private jacuzzi and sauna that we had to ourselves for an hour. We lounged together, alternately chatty and silent as we slowly slipped out of work mode. Newman was a little anxious about the massage because he wanted it to be good, so I tried to reassure him. How could you ever have a bad massage? An oxymoron and an impossibility.
Or so I thought.
We headed inside for our massages, which were to be held in the same room per our request. Newman requested the woman massage him: “I’m just not comfortable having a dude massage me.”
“Oh, but I see you’re totally comfortable having him massage me,” I joked. I didn’t care either way. I was primarily focused on making sure he had a good experience. While my masseur got his lotions ready, I watched out of the corner of my eye as Newman’s masseuse began talking to him about his aura and told him he needed to drink more water. As they got underway, my guy told me to pick out a scent, rejecting the lavender I initially wanted as an “old lady smell.” He tried to sell me on the “joy” essential oil, but it was too strong, and I went with “peace and calm.” It was all I wanted out of the next hour.
About five minutes in to the massage, just as Newman’s first happy sighs began to float skyward, my masseur whipped off the sheet covering me, whipped down my panties, and then asked, “ok if I pull these down?”
Um, seriously? I was at a complete loss, immediately both entirely uncomfortable and entirely unable to do what I should have done, which is to say NO and pull my knickers back up. I don’t know what it was that stopped me other than a weird need not to make waves or be a prude or disrupt Newman’s experience by making an issue of something that clearly wasn’t supposed to be a big deal. So I mumbled something incoherent and let the massage continue.
Maybe it isn’t a big deal for anyone else, and I never thought it would be for me, but I felt totally exposed and totally miserable. I spent the rest of the hour wanting to escape and getting ready to fend off the hands should they go anywhere really inappropriate because my comfort zone had already been crossed, and I wasn’t sure what this guy was going to try next. I hadn’t really ever thought about whether a rear-end massage would be part of the process because I figured anyone who wears their undies in is clearly communicating that they don’t want to go there. And on the form we filled out beforehand, where it asks if there are any places you don’t want massaged? The examples they list include “feet, face, etc.” How hard would it be to add bum to that list for a little heads up?
Don’t get me wrong. I love a good bum pat, but it had better be from my partner.
Newman had a great massage, by the way, and his masseuse didn’t go anywhere near his nether regions. I, on the other hand, left feeling violated and inexcusably wimpy for not saying anything.
Next year, I’ve decided we’re going to stay in for Valentine’s Day.