I've had a late night at work, it's raining and I'm procrastinating going to the gym. I decide to stop off at Body Co. on Connecticut and get a massage.
“Do you take walk-ins?”
“Sure. You want man or woman?”
“Whatever you have.”
G appears in the doorway. He is young, he is cute and he is Brazilian. Knowing my weakness for foreign men and accents, I wonder if it’s too late to trade in for a woman. Would that be rude? I mean, a massage is meant to be relaxing and I don’t want to be thinking about arching my back and sucking in my gut the entire time. I resolve to sleep during the massage.
I take off all my clothes down to my white hip hugger sheer panties and I get under the crisp cotton sheet. I flip over on my belly and place my face in that horrible little hole at the end of the table. He enters. He dims the lights. He puts on soothing music.
“Are there any areas where you need extra attention?”
Yes. My ass is very sore and I could do with an entire hour of ass rubbing.
“Um. My lower back?”
And he begins by pressing on my back through the sheet. By the time he pulls back the sheet to expose my back, I’m already feeling a little, well, damp.
“So you’re from Brazil.”
“I hear the women there are beautiful.”
And he kneads into my fleshy arms.
“Is it true what they say about plastic surgery in Brazil.”
“Depend. What they say.”
“Just that a lot of women get it.”
“Yes. Many women trying to look perfect. Many men too. The new thing is butt implants. But you no need one of those.”
I blush. But he can’t see my face.
“I maybe need some.”
“G. I can’t really see your ass at this moment, but I’m sure you are perfect just the way you are.
“No, I really need work out.”
“I guess I used to feel that way about myself once as well. I’m just happy that I’m finally at an age where I don’t care anymore.”
“You can never stop caring. You stop going to gym?”
“Well. I go to the gym. But I feel like I’ve accepted my body. You know? I can only change it so much.”
“I a personal trainer and you can always change your body. You just need to work harder. Watch diet. Go to gym more.”
“Yeah. But in the end, how much can you really change your body. In it’s natural state, it only really fluctuates by a few pounds here and there.”
“Nobody happy with their body. Can always make better.”
“I’m happy with my body.”
“Just like it is?”
“Just like it is.”
“You don’t think can get better with workout and diet.”
“I don’t think I will ever look like Cindy Crawford. No matter how hard I work out or what I restrict myself from eating.”
At this point, he has moved onto the most unflattering part of my body. He pulls the sheet back to reveal the backside of my leg and upper thigh. He lowers my sheer white panties and tucks the sheet into them.
“How old you are?”
“Oh. That old? You look good for thirties.”
Now he is caressing the inside of my thigh and I decide it is time to end the discussion. There is something too oddly intimate about inner thigh massage and discussions about age and beauty. Although I am not sure which makes me more uncomfortable.
After G has rubbed me down to my toes, he covers me back up with the towel, comes to the center of the table, holds up the towel and asks me to flip. I’ve had a massage before. Usually they tell you to turn away from them to protect your modesty. Usually they are not looking while you flip. He looks.
I flop over on my back and try to breathe through my nose. Hanging upside down always makes me a bit congested. He starts rubbing my shoulders, down my arms, over my thighs, down my knees and back on my toes.
As my time wears down, he comes around to the tip of the table and starts touching my face. Very slowly.
“You have a husband?”
“I’m not really interested in one.”
“How come you no want boyfriend?”
“Boyfriends are boring.”
“Well, I done with that party life. I want a girlfriend. Clubs are boring.”
“I agree. Clubs are boring. But if you don’t have a girlfriend and you don’t like clubs then wont you make yourself go out and find new things to do?”
“Like bowling or book readings or theater or museums.”
“How can you say that?’
He finishes rubbing my face and I open one eye to realize that the room has become incredibly dark. But not dark enough for me to realize that G’s face is very close to mine.
I feel his breath on my eyelashes when he speaks.
“Boring because you have no body to see all those things with.”
And I think he might kiss me. But he doesn’t. He pulls his head away and pats my nose with the tip of his index finger.
“You have a beautiful nose.”
And he leaves the room. I lay there for a moment staring at the ceiling and thinking. Then I pop up off the table, get dressed and take myself out into the lobby.
G is sitting behind the counter with a cup of tea for me.
"Yeah. I feel great. Thanks."
I'm sure I have eyeliner making deep dark circles around my eyes. And hair sticking up in strange places.
I pay. I tip. And just as I am walking out the door, he comes around the counter and hands me his card.
"Have good night."
I get outside and take the card out of my pocket. On the back he has scrawled his cell phone number. And suddenly, I feel so naked.