Sunday, November 20, 2005

Is it Supposed to Hurt?

My move to Delhi has warranted many firsts. My first time living in a developing country. My first time making Gold Status with an airline’s frequent flier program. My first time having curtains made and hung to order for my home. On Saturday I added another first to that list: my first ever massage.

Earlier this year I discovered the bliss of the facial. For you boys reading basically a facial is me paying somebody to buff, moisturize and mold my face. Done right it should also include at minimum an arm massage and leave you wishing you could spend the rest of your life with your facialist. I always left my facial looking, and more importantly, feeling years younger. (I also always felt the need to shop for frivolous things after a facial. Weird.) The three or four I’ve had were blissful experiences that made me wonder why I waited almost thirty years to enter a spa.

Saturday morning, my friend called me and asked if we were still on for spa day. Sure why not! We arrived at a really nice women’s only spa in Mulcha Marg that was a slice of civilization in the midst of the chaos of Delhi. We initially booked for one facial and one massage: each of would have one or the other. At the last minute my friend suggested we both have massages. Cool! I’ve never had a massage and it sounded like a cool idea. I am a naive little blogger.

Despite my discomfort with the whole “naked” part of the massage I hopped up on the table and put my head on the towels that my masseuse, Evilina, had arranged for me. Then it started: the pain. The agony. The massage.

I’ve always carried my stress in my back. It’s not like my back is doing anything else! So when Evilina began to massage my back it initially felt nice, the way you assume a massage is supposed to feel. But then she started grinding her thumb into my back and I actually cried out in pain. “Too hard? No, you have knot.” I may have had a knot but if she kept that up I soon wouldn’t have a back.

Over the course of the next hour she ground her thumbs into my back, legs and arm muscles. My cries of pain were ignored and treated with looks of disdain. Don’t get me wrong, some of the time it was nice and relaxing. But a lot of the time it hurt.

When we left the spa I asked my friend point blank, “Is a massage supposed to hurt?” She looked worried and said that it wasn’t. Oh. I put the pain my back aside and we left for an enjoyable lunch at a local wine bar. A few glasses of wine later and the sharp pains in my back hadn’t disappeared but I cared less. Even waking up in pain the next morning didn’t deter me from contemplating my spa future.

You see, after much introspection and despite my time in traction I have decided to give it another try. If it wasn’t supposed to hurt it must have been a fluke. I hope.

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