Coming home from USC on Thursday, i thought my arm was going to fall off. The pain eminating from my back was brutal and i could barely see for the headache that it produced. I didn’t know any massage therapists in LA but i had seen a place or two on Lincoln that advertised massage. As i drove past one of them, i caught the number in neon and called it. A ?Korean? woman answered and i asked if they had availability. She asked when and i said 10 minutes and she said sure. When i entered the building, my headache was wrecking me so i pretty much ignored a lot of obvious signs. Being stared at. The gate between the front room and back room. Having to pay upfront. The price being surprisingly high for non-shishi massage joint. Being asked on the form if i was single or married. Being asked if i wanted to take a shower. Being escorted to a room without getting to meet the massage therapist first.
I lied down under the sheet. The massage therapist started massaging me over the sheet which is odd but ::shrug:: i couldn’t be picking in the pain i was in. I’m trying to explain to her that my shoulder wants to fall off; she doesn’t speak much English but i point and she digs in so i just relax. She pounds away at it. Not the world’s best (or frankly trained) massage, but ::shrug:: Anything would make that knot better and she had the pressure thing down. Plus, she did a bunch of it with her heels using the handle bars on the ceiling. At one point, she asks me if i want a front massage too. Uhh… i stumble. Then she asks me if i’m Christian. At this point, i realize why my presence was so odd. I respond quickly with a YES! to the Christian question and proceeded to blush crimson into the massage table. I continued to play stupid and she continued to work out my dreadful knot from hell (successfully) until the hour was up.
When she finished and i got dressed, there was a lot of awkwardness but i just continued to bumble around and tipped her (well). She was very thankful and made it very very clear that i’m welcome back whenever. I said thank you and blushed and left.
I can’t help but wonder what actually goes on there. I was telling this story to some friends and one of them pointed me to this SF Chronicle series on sex trafficking and i wanted to die. I really hope that the nice woman who got rid of that knot doesn’t have to go through days like the story depicts.