Reluctantly written by matt jared

You know when you’re getting all cuddly with that special someone? You ask for a massage and they smoosh your muscles around and pop your back and maybe rub your head. You reciprocate for 2 minutes and 45 seconds before you’re too out of breath to function and you’re tired of leaning sideways. Quite possibly the most coveted and difficult act in the stressful and modern first world is receiving and giving a massage.

Some have the art perfected, while others just know how to poke around hard enough to piss you off (that may or may not be a direct quote from an ex-girlfriend of mine (Mom, please don’t read that part (zinger))). Well after many years of having a few minor back issues (I threw my back out a few weeks before a half marathon last year) and a year of sitting in a chair in front of a computer every single day, I was getting sore and ready for some professional help. Fortunately for me, Santa gifted me my first professional massage a few weeks ago. The joy. I was finally going to get  my back unfolded and hopefully get a mud bath or something cool out of the deal. When it came time to cash out on my awesome gift, I called the parlor (Is that what they’re called?) and did my best to schedule before I had to return to work last Tuesday. They had one cancellation and I could get squeezed in when I wanted.

My masseuse was named .. Charlie, a guy. 

Now I want to clear the air right now. I’m not homophobic in the slightest but I’m not into dudes rubbing my body. But as many of you know, I need to accomplish things when I want them to be completed and my obsessive ways will ruin everything else in my life until I see my goal through. Kinda like the time I set a goal to eat a triple-wrapped Chipotle burrito a few summers ago. Nothing was going to stop me, come hell or high water. Long story short, I wanted the massage at a certain time and getting it done when I wanted it done was the only thing that mattered to me.

Anyway, I reluctantly scheduled the massage knowing that a guy was going to go to work on my jacked up body. I pulled up to the spot and kind of psyched myself up to see the sherpa who would guide me into the forest of peace and tranquility, the Gumby maker guy to my clay and the Cesar Millan to my cranky poodleshniztsel… this guy was going to align my back and get me on track for success in 2012. YEAH!! I walked into the place and was greeted by a wonderful staff that catered to my every need. It just so happens that at that moment I wanted nothing more than a 6 ounce plastic cup of water. BOOM. From there I filled out some of my problems (99 of them) and wrote down what I needed worked on the most. After the rudimentary paper work time, I was taken into a much darker lit and scarier “Preparation Room” where I really started to question every decision I made in life up to that point.

Until this point I had a vision in my head of what this guy was going to look like… a kind and grey old man with a dreamcatcher earring and a ponytail to come out and take me to a far off land of peace and tranquility where he would tell large tales of his time with the Wamapoke Indian tribe and how he in fact administered the acid to Steve Jobs that facilitated his creative spirit. Well out walks Charlie … a 20 something dude with a bottle of lotion in a custom lotion holster, polo – khakis combo and the exact same pair of Nikes that 82% of my friends also own. I was entering the thunderdome of massage with a dude who was my own age, genre and demographic. Great.

Charlie took me back to his sanctuary where he asked me what he could do to help relieve my pain and gave me basic etiquette for massages. “Most men strip down to there underwear. Just go ahead and get to your level of comfort, get under these sheets and I’ll come back in and we’ll get started.” Whoa whoa whoa, Charles. I’m not some kind of toy. You have to at least get me a glass of wine or tell me I look pretty before I hop into the sheets AND get to a level of comfort? What is going on here?? Ultimately I caved, because all I could think about was how badly my whole back was aching the week prior. So I got down to my skivvies and laid down under the sheet face up, per his instructions. This is going to be f*&#!(^ tense.

My body is your canvas. Or manvas, if you will.

Charlie lightly rapped on the door and my crackled and loud voice blurts back “*gag* a;wf yeah I’m ready yeah” like I’m some awkward 9th grader ready for his first stint in 7 minutes in heaven. Upon Charle’s arrival he slowly dimmed the lights and kicked on the most rad Enya song I may have ever heard. From there, Charlie got to work on my sore and tender …. FACE. Uhm yeah, buddy. I’ve been running my body into the ground for the past 24 years. Please help out the other parts, I think my face is cool. My temples got a nice little treatment and a few other spots and then homeboy moved south…to my stubble ridden chin. Wow, that must have sucked for him. Thankfully I did whatever I could to keep my eyes closed so we wouldn’t have that horribly awkward eye contact where he would have surely peered through my soul.

After the most awkward dude-on-dude contact I have ever experienced, Charlie got down to brass tax and really started hammering away on my arms and hands. WHAT THE F%@#, CHUCK!! I’m ready for a small asian lady to do gymnastics on my back and your massusing (new word) my face and hands!! Well, little did I know but Ole Charlie had much more in store for me when he finally started kneading the shit out of my man thighs and calfs. A pretty intense feeling. After that Chuck went to work on my arms and shoulders. Keep in mind that this Enya song is getting more and more intense and this dude is using his holstered oil bottle like Clint Eastwood in “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly” and is lathering me up like a greased pig. Eventually Charlie told me to roll over so he could realign my spine and by now he’d hopefully stopped looking at my third nipple.

So at this point, I’m oiled up, scared, still slightly hungover from New Year’s and this dude has been man handling me for like 30 minutes in the dark with a soft Native American score thumping in the background. I’m expecting to black out and wake up mid-climb on Mt. Vesuvius when Charlie starts karate chopping up and down on my back. Alright skippy, I’ve put up with the face, hands and even the foot massage (I hate feet) and now your doing this light karate chop massage. I’m not a xylophone, massage these knots, dude!! Well it all finally came to fruition and Charlie did some magic and cracked my back like a real man!!! It was great. From there he did some work on back and shoulders and worked out muscles I didn’t even know I had. I was feeling fantastic and I felt like a hot stick of butter when he finally called it a day on our massage.

I'm sticking to puppy time, from here on out.

Whew. We finally made it. Well, kind of. Charlie told me to get dressed and that he’d be waiting for me outside. Here we go again, this is where he puts me in his van and takes me to the hills of Boone County, Kentucky where he has a cabin waiting for my ultimate demise. So I got dressed right quick and went outside and Charlie and I had another awkward stare down, I tipped and he said thanks and looked like he wanted a hug or something and I high tailed it out of the comfort tree and back into the lobby and off back into the unforgiving winter in Cincinnati.

Ultimately, my massage experience was good for my health, but not good for my subconscious. My back felt better but I’ll never let a fellow dude, much less a bro like Charlie, massage me. I will definitely get another one sometime, but I’ll make sure I have a nice looking young lady take care of me.

Well thats it for me. I hope everyone enjoyed the most horrifying experience of 2012 thus far.