It was Friday, and I had narrowly escaped being fired when my boss caught me shopping - for a friend's bacchelorette party! - at a sex toy emporium online. That evening seemed as good as any to relax at the hands of some hunky masseuse surrounded by soothing whale sounds and an overpowering lavender air-freshening plug-in.
At the boutique, the skinny, blonde, all-black-wearing receptionist showed me to the relaxation room to wait for "Marquis." Why is it that all receptionists at salons and spas are blonde and skinny? Is it some kind of requirement? Is there a support group out there for beauty-treatment receptionist hopefuls to get together with drugstore boxes of Platinum Pretty and group-purge?
I undressed, awkwardly shimmied under the wash-cloth sized towel on the massage table, closed my eyes, and waited. When Marquis - who turned out to be an overweight sixty year old former apartment manager who lost his job when the complex was purchased by some housing conglomerate, and who's real name was Marty - arrived I had almost fallen asleep with my head in the slightly less than comfortable donut head rest.
Marty seemed nice enough, and even the devout Catholicism proclaimed by the three (Three!) crucifixes he wore around his neck didn't bother me too much. I settled in and tried not to care that my love handles probably looked even bigger than they normally were, squished onto the table under the rolling pin arm movements Marty was using on my back. Ah, bliss.
Not even two minutes into the forty-five minute massage however, the frozen burrito I had eaten for lunch decided it was time to wage war on my stomach. Oh My god. You'd have thought Mount Vesuvius was about to erupt again, or demolition had begun on Caesar's in Vegas, or at the very least I was about to have a monumental...moment. The thing was - I wasn't. Not at all. Even if I had acknowledged the problem like the adult I claim to be and excused myself and my little towel to the restroom, my insides were so tied up in knots, I don't think I could have found relief even there.
So I hid. Like a little girl playing hide and seek, I closed my eyes, forced my face to remain in the donut, and willed myself invisible.
God bless Marty for gracefully ignoring my obvious discomfort and refusing to short-change me; forty-three excruciating minutes later he left the room, and I prepared to dress as quickly as I could and get out of there without facing the smirking receptionist who by that time would surely have heard of (or OH GOD! had already been listening to) today's burrito.
With pants, shirt, shoes, and sunglasses on - bra and panties stuffed in my purse - I opened the relaxation room door and ran smack into Marty, who had been hovering, waiting for me to emerge. With a brief nod, he shoved a business card in my hand as I made a beeline for the door.
I was safely in my car, half-laughing, half-crying with embarrassment when I noticed the handwritten note on the back of Marty's business card: "To aid with digestion, drink warm water."