I go up to this massage place and am totally prepared for them to speak zero English. And they don't. I take off my shoes as I walk in the door and they give me a pair of slippers that were made for someone with feet approximately three sizes smaller (and skinnier) than mine.
|See how far those fat toes fall short of the end of the slipper?|
I'm told, in a sign language sort of way, to take off all my clothes and put on some paper panties and a velcro muumuu. After getting all gussied up, I am led to a massage table.... in a room with six other massage tables. Luckily I can't speak or understand Korean, so if they are cracking jokes about the chubby white girl, at least I won't know. (Ignorance is bliss...) I lie face-down on the table with the top half of my jiggly derriere hanging out of the paper panties, and the masseuse proceeds to take off the top 8 layers of my skin with some handheld contraption that she is applying with more force than is necessary. The first few times she does it, it's bearable and I can talk myself into it feeling almost pleasant. By minute five of scrubbing the same patch of skin off my lower armpit, I am starting to feel a sensation known as extreme pain. I even lifted my head up and made the universal face for "OMG you are killing me" and she said, "Pain?" and pointed to where she was de-scaling me. I nodded yes and put my head back down. And she started right back where she left off.
After my skin was as shiny as a brand new penny, I felt her hop on my backside and straddle me. This wouldn't have been quite as weird if she had scooted my paper panties back up to their proper location. She attempts to break both of my legs off and make me pigeon-toed all at the same time. Then I felt a ton of pressure on the back of my thighs and I thought she had moved her knees up to sit on them. But I look at the wall of mirrors to see her STANDING ON ME AND WALKING AROUND OMG. I kid you not, folks.
The next portion of this assault involved a giant metal...... vibrator (?) and she took to pressing that into my back and telling me to relax. The vibrations were almost soothing compared to the previous types of torture and just as I was about to fall asleep, she stopped. I hear her cranking knobs for another machine and I assume it's something similar so I don't even look up. She puts something on my back and I feel it pinch me! Son of a mother! It really hurt. She picks it up and moves it further down my spine. It pinched me again! She gets to an area with considerably more skin to pinch (ahem, midsection), and this machine sucked my skin up into a vacuum, twisted it, and then held it before it finally released! How the hell that is supposed to make anyone relax is beyond me.
At this point, I am looking at the clock and begging time to speed up. But time likes me almost as much as the Army likes my plans, so it doesn't. The lady rubs a bunch of oil on my back and then starts wrapping me in a giant plastic grocery bag. After I'm wrapped with my arms by my sides (still face-down), she lays some towels over me and then places a little dome over the top of me. This little dome blows out heat. Because maybe they think I have trouble sweating here? (I assure you, I DO NOT.) And then she leaves me to sweat it out for 20 or so minutes. It was so gross and weirdly refreshing to feel tons and tons of sweat just roll off my back. I mean, I was over that whole sensation after about a minute of lying in a Walmart bag in a pool of my own sweat, but for a second there I felt "cleansed." Many of the slowest minutes later, she comes back and takes off my soaking wet saran wrap and probably did her best not to gag as she rubbed me down with a towel.
She kept motioning wildly with her hands, and stupid me, I'm just asking her what to do in English. "So you want me to roll over? Sit up? Stay here?" Finally I figure out to turn over and she starts in on my front side. And omg y'all, I just didn't think I could handle what she did to my back over again on my front. But she basically just did a chest/boob massage, tried to lengthen me by way of pulling my hair, arms, and neck, put my hair up in a cute 'do, and karate-chopped my back while I sat up until everyone had seen waaaaaaayyyyy too much of my naked front side.
Eventually the massage is over.
|Amen and hallelujah.|
I put my clothes back on and exchange my too-small slippers for my gigantic oaf-feet sandals. I try not to look like what just happened was more painful than childbirth. She gives me a hair bow for Molly. As I'm walking out the door, the other two girls who were massaging a lady next to me, run up and say very excitedly, "We see you again soooooonn!! Bye bye!!"
I hobbled home and tried to tell Steve all the details and how badly it hurt. "Why would you ask for the Abuse Massage for me? You should have said something about being 'gentle' and how I'm a pansy American." He didn't believe that it was so painful, but I tell him to see how shiny my back surely is and lo and behold, he can see where they bruised me. So yes, weird suction cup twisters and full body weight on my thighs and a sickening sweat is considered semi-un-enjoyable in my book. The bright side is that I spent two hours (yes, sweet Moses it was a very solid two hours) by myself and was horizontal for most of it. That's usually my prerequisite for a good time, but I'm starting to rethink that. I don't know if I can recommend a Korean massage to you, dear friends. But if I suddenly drop 20lbs and never sweat again, you can bet your bottom won that I'll be their poster child and scheduling a weekly beating.
Oh and this knocks off #18, albeit painfully.