Never buy a Groupon voucher for a massage without checking the reviews first, I learned the hard way. About a year ago, I purchased two massages without thinking to read the reviews. I wrote about the first nightmare massage in an early post, “Unhappy Endings.”
After “Unhappy Endings,” I read the reviews for my upcoming 90 minute massage at Sangraal Body Works in Seattle, to my horror. “DO NOT GO HERE” several reviewers wrote. One person said that upon arrival, the masseur was eating his lunch in a small room covered with trash, barefoot. She said there were two overflowing baskets of trash by the massage table, and that the whole cramped room was a mess.
In the back of my mind I must have been thinking, “Go out of your comfort zone and get material for your blog.”
I arrived at the office building and knocked on the door. I heard a voice but couldn’t tell what he was saying. I knocked again. “Hold on!” He said.
“Sorry, I couldn’t hear what you said,” I said, entering the room and noticing the vacuum cleaner sitting out amidst some other clutter. “I’ll go into the other room while you change,” and he slid the mirrored doors shut. He was short, with his balding hair caught in a ponytail–a look that retired long ago.
I have rarely had a male masseur, and I was nervous about it. I didn’t see a licence anywhere.
I lay face down on the table, hoping he’d turn on music. He did, but it was so faint that the sound of cars soaring by on the busy street bothered and distracted me.
He didn’t ask what kind of massage I wanted or how much pressure he should apply. He just started pressing points in a deep tissue massage. I prefer Swedish, light pressure.
He started asking questions about my writing, which, for a writer, is like asking a fat woman if she is pregnant.
“What is your memoir about?”
“Like. smuggling machine guns into Egypt?” I suppose this was his attempt at humor. I wasn’t laughing.
“Do you have a publisher?” Ugh. I’m a playwright.
Towards the end of the massage, when I was in a zoned out state, I noticed my fingers were touching something. Then I felt something.
His package! Oh my God, icky icky icky. He didn’t ask me to move my fingers, which had instantly recoiled. Why was the massage table at that level? I couldn’t tell if he was erect or not, but the package was firm. I didn’t realize my fingers had been rubbing against his pants at crotch level.
“Feel free to move your hand where ever you want,” he said, too late.
Disgusted, I got up and left, feeling dirty and violated. I wrote what happened in a review on Yelp.
But I certainly had a story to tell.