Thursday, December 21, 2006

Development of a phobia

My last massage took place on a cruise ship. For the bargain price of $120, you could have a "rejuvenating" massage and hot oil treatment. The little brochure promised things like relaxation and "enlivening one's senses". It failed to mention that the sense they'd be enlivening was pain. The spa visit was the one big splurge we did on that trip, and this is how it went down.

I arrived at my appointment and was shown into a room with lots of little oils and lights and soft music playing. I was told to get undressed and put on the towel and get onto the table.

"Helga will be right with you."

Helga? For some reason I thought the masseuse would be a male. And further that males would do males and females would do females. I was there waiting, hoping Helga was some swarthy Greek male name. And then she came in.

"Hello Richard how are you today?"

"Fine thanks," I said as I was trying to place her accent. Not quite German, perhaps some stern former Eastern Bloc country like Sadistivakia.

"I vant you to try and relax Richard, and remember a little bit of discomfort iss normal."

I immediately reacted by thinking oh no, she is going to hurt me, and now she is telling me not to be a baby. Of course then I couldn't be a baby, and didn't feel confident enough to tell her the truth: I just wanted to relax and feel all tingly and stuff. (Dirk's story reminded me of Helga)

She started by digging her dagger fingers and knuckles into the flesh of my shoulders, "Oh my, but vee have a lot of tension here."

There were two voices in my head at this time. The first just wanting to say "ouch" and "stop" but instead sufficed for a tear, unseen, trickling from my eyes. The other enraged, bellowed, "Of course there's fucking tension, you are bruising every inch of my flesh."

This went on and on to each part of the body, " I never see someone vith so much tension in their muscles, you are going to hurt for a few days, but that is good because all the toxins are coming out".

Detoxifying? Had I missed that part in the brochure? Who said anything about detoxifying?! So Helga is here to squeeze every last toxin out of my body while I'm on a cruise ship being a perfect lush?!?!

Afterward, I got the added joy of her attempt to peddle lotions to me. Bwahahaha. I don't do lotions Helga.

Anyway, it scarred me. No more massages for me. Ever. (I might make an exception for Em, but only if she gets on a plane.)


Anonymous said...

Regardless of how tight one's muscles are, massages should not hurt nor leave bruises.

Let's pray that Helga is not working now as a pedicurist in Montreal!

Anonymous said...

If I'm paying $120 for pain, I want to see lots of leather. And it had better be Helmut of Porn rather than Helga of the KGB!

Timmy said...

Sadistivakia! OMG -- too damn funny!

Call me a sadist, but I love a good deep tissue massage. Mmmmmm, pain.

Anonymous said...

I had a massage last week and was left sore in the shoulder blades for about four days. It's normal! It's not like it is in the movies, where you nearly fall asleep on the table. You want the relaxing tingles, you should go for an Indian head massage (don't get dirty now, it's not that head, and stop pouting) or a hot stone massage.

I want the kind of massage where they pour liters and liters of very warm scented oil on the middle of your forehead (It's the chakra point cleansing thing kind of massage) and it just runs down your head, coating it in warm, pretty oiliness. Yup, have that and then a 15 minute nap in an isolation tank. Then again, I could use Helga for my tension areas. I like the afters pain.

mainja said...

a good massage therapist will listen to you if you say 'i don't want any pain'. what you got was a treatment, not a relaxation massage.

my massage therapist and i have the conversation before every massage, she says eagerly 'are we doing a treatment today?' and usually i say yes, but i also have certainly been known to say no, just relaxation. she likes those because they're way less work for her. *grin*

i agree on the hot stone massage. i've never had one but i've heard they're devine and very gentle.

Anonymous said...

Ugh. That sounds awful. You're justified in not wanting another!

I had a massage once, but it was for physiotherapy on my knee and thigh.
Unfortunately, he was very cute (and straight) and my sudden erection fwapped against his arm too often for his comfort.

Snooze said...

Isn't it unreal that so many of us don't feel we can speak up? I would have been the same as you and just have suffered in silence, but you should have felt empowered to ask for relaxation. My friend has a tattoo on her ankle which is beautiful, but she wanted it on her hip and her tattoo artist refused. As a result, my friend wants to get it removed.

Anonymous said...

Yikes! No wonder you are skipping a massage and having a pedicure instead.

I hope the ship's spa doesn't let that sadist perform Colonic Irrigation!

Anonymous said...

I had a massage on Tuesday and I am having another one today. The recent stress has caused a 'hump' of muscle tension in my back, I look like the goddamn hunchback! It's wonderful and my girl is wicked with the oil and hot stones treatment, you should try THAT. It hurts a bit but oh baby, it's worth it! Plus, since she is a friend, she only charges me thirty bucks a pop!

Patricia said...

helga sounds like a real lil sweetheart. i hope your pedi is much more enjoyable.

me, i don't like massages or pedicures. *sigh* i got nothin.

Anonymous said...

Hilarious! I just got back from a cruise and spent an inordinate amount of money to be tortured as well. But in my cases she added hot rocks (burning, more like it) to the mix - I was sore for 3 days later...

Merry Christmas to you and Serge!

Doug said...

Yikes! Helga should be ashamed for scaring you away from massages. I love them, and they shouldn't leave bruises, though there is sometimes a little discomfort if you ask for heavy pressure. If you ask for light pressure, no pain, just the tinglies. And you're paying, so you should be able to ask for and get exactly what you want, including a masseur instead of a masseuse. I much prefer massages from men, even if they're straight.

Anonymous said...

There are relaxing massages, and then there is massage therapy. Massage therapy hurts like hell, but I love it nonetheless. It's much more beneficial in the long run. But Helga should have asked you what you wanted. Don't let her scare you away. Find a reputable place with a hot guy, and I'm sure you won't mind a bit.

Merry Christmas to you and Serge!

A Bear in the Woods said...

Maybe I'm crazy, but I love those deep tissue massages.
However, if in this crazy world I should ever wind up giving you a massage(a dearly held fantasy of mine), I promise to leave all your toxins untouched and intact.
Scouts Honor.

anabel said...

I trade a once a month massage for a month af karate tuition for her daughter. Lily's great. She asks me to speak up and let her know if anything's uncomfortable and also checks in from time to time and asks "How the pressure?"

GayProf said...

Hmm -- Helga, eh? Wasn't that the name of the evil masseuse who tried to kill Kelly with deadly massage in an episode of Charlie's Angels?

There does seem to be two philosophies of massages: a) relax and feel somebody smooth your body or b) pain makes life sweet.

Personally, I don't like pain. I avoid pain. Therefore, I am not inclined to pay for pain.

What did Spouse think of his massage?

r said...

Here's the thing:

I don't want to pay someone to touch me. I know it's weird, and I love the pedicures I get every month, and it's kinda the same thing, but it isn't.

The only massage I got was in Calistoga about 15 years ago. I weighed almost 30 pounds less than I do now, and one of the first things the (size 2 female) masseuse did was comment on my "extra" weight.
"What are you going to do about it?" was her exact question.

Nope. No more massages for me unless it's a friend (hint hint, em...).

Anonymous said...

I never "get" the relaxing music part while they hurt you. The music disappears from my consciousness once they start kneading my back.


Kevin said...

That's what I fear. Even when friends start to give me a massage I tend to always think "OW not so hard!" Imagining someone who gets paid to do it the "right" way makes me fear for my life.

And exactly, who wants to look like a little girl to the female masseuse?

Anonymous said...

I really think you need to give the massage thing another shot. I have them quite regularly due to the time I spend on a plane...and I tell you, there are some wonderful massages to be had out there. There is this one guy here in Houston that gives an incredible massage, and he is NOT bad on the eyes either! If you are ever here in Houston, give me a shout and I will get you his number. You will not regret it for one minute.

dpaste said...

I had the "helga" version of a facial years ago that turned me off for a long time. But I tried again not too long ago and had a much better experience.

You really shouldn't let one bad experience turn you off forever and miss the pleasantness that a good experience can provide. All last year I traded yoga work for massages from this guy I know. I was very clear to him about what I wanted and consequently received massages that, while loosening tight muscles, never caused me undue discomfort, and I felt wonderful afterwards.

If everyone gave up on trying to walk the first time they fell on their faces, we all still be crawling on our knees.

Anonymous said...

First of all, just leave the room when your massager's name is Helga. That story just isn't going to end well.

epicurist said...

Oh man, I knew that story would not end well. It's really too bad that your swearing off massages, because when their done right, you feel like Heaven. Trust me, I know cause Rib Breaker is a Registered Massage Therapist. Not sure, but it sounds like Helga was doing a little too much pressure point treatment for you - which isn't for everyone. LOL

What you need or want is probably something like Hot Stone therapy. No Helgas! xoxoxoxo :)

dirk.mancuso said...

For some reason, when I read "Helga" all I could picture was Cloris Leachman as Frau Blucher in YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN "man"-handling you.

The first time I had a massage they also mentioned the "detoxifying" half way through and then I got the worst sore throat and sinus infection of my life. That aside, my masseuse was male and had one hell of a set of hands.

Your story has inspired me to start the new Year off with a massage.

teh l4m3 said...

She replaced your toxins with healthy yet radioactive effluvia from the Eastern Bloc.

Anonymous said...

I have this annoying habit of popping tent when I lay on a table for too long, especially on my stomach. And I usually had women do my body work so that I'd be less sexually aroused. I've always thought that I guy pushing my flesh around would make me explode, the good kind not the bad kind.

Snooze said...

What an amazing window display. I just love Montreal