I decided to finally splurge and get a massage in Palolem, the beach town Summer and I stayed in for ten days in Goa, India. And by splurge I mean pay $24. A virtual fortune here, but a price I would be over-the-moon-excited to pay in the US.
Taking very seriously a warning for women to hire only a female therapist in India, I reminded the man who scheduled my appointment. Twice. And then he followed me into the room and told me to take off my clothes. Three times. While he stood there, staring at me. 'Are you my therapist?' I asked him. He said 'Yes!' and I said again, 'No. I want a woman.'
Dejected, he left and a woman came in. She stood there watching while I stripped down to just my underwear. Oh well. Then she had me sit in a chair. This was uncomfortable for me, but I went with it: boobs hanging out, thighs looking squashed and fat sitting in a chair while she karate chopped my shoulders, neck and head for three minutes. Then she poured three handfuls of oil into my hair and rubbed it around. Not into my scalp, mind you. Just into my hair.
Poke! Poke! She jabbed my eyebrows. She made two small circles at my temples for an inordinate amount of time. Abruptly, I was instructed to lay on the table, face down.
What happened next I can only describe as the worst massage I have ever received. And I've had hundreds of massages. This woman karate chopped, pinched and applied oil to my entire body and especially my underwear for an hour in rapid, erratic sweeping motions. Foot-leg-underwear-back-shoulder-back-down-to-foot-never-missing-getting-hung-up-by-pesky-underwear-in-lightning-speed. Only once did she slow down to focus on any particular part of my body, and thankfully it was my calves, which were screaming from running barefoot on the beach all week.
I didn't miss the fact that she did not even rub my back when it was time for me to flip over to have oil applied speedily to my front side. And by front side I mean boobs. She rubbed my boobs for twenty minutes. And not in a good way. Swoosh-swoosh-quick-quick-make-an-awkward-circle-on-stomach-pour-oil-into-belly-button-more-more-more-oil-rubbed-into-underwear-boobs-boobs-boobs-and-don't-forget-snap!-every-finger-and-toe-twice-or-three-times-back-to-boobs-more-boobs.
The massage ended with her hands on my face and a whole new kind of oil applied, more of a cream actually. She did it this way: one hand on forehead and one hand on chin. Switch hands. Switch switch switch switch for ten minutes. With six pounds of cream in my mouth I couldn't breathe, much less ask her to please stop.
When it was all over, she handed me a towel that was not washed between customers and watched as I tried to swab the oil from my skin unsuccessfully. I put my clothes back on and paid without looking her in the eye or tipping. I went back to my hotel and showered for twenty minutes, soaping up multiple times and never seeing even the slightest bit of lather. The water sat on top of my skin and beaded up as I shampooed, rinsed and repeated over and over. Even after a second day shampoo, I'm still Grease McGoo carrying a backpack seven pounds too heavy from my poor underwear, sodden with oil.
|Don't believe me? Here's the evidence: my laundry bag, with the underwear inside.|
Though she wasn't "happy" to hear about it, Summer appreciated knowing that this bad foreign massage curse wasn't exclusive to her anymore.