Monday, August 24, 2009


After a week filled with Jeff working two jobs, a huge first day of kindergarten, early intervention appointments, intense workouts and one kid coming down with a nasty cough, I needed a little something to take the edge off.

But wine is off limits for another three weeks.

In recent months, Chinese foot massage locations have been popping up around where we live. Don't let the word "foot" fool you. The hour long torture massage doesn't discriminate but includes the full body. For those of you who are shy and/or uncomfortable, you remain fully clothed in a room of several other chairs. The downside? It's not exactly the posh spa you may be accustomed to. The upside? It's 25 bucks -- cheap enough to keep my money-saving guilt at bay and still get the knots out of my shoulders.

Image shown is not the actual location but is the Guinness record holder for most people receiving foot massage (reflexology) simultaneously. It took place in Taiwan and involved 2016 people.

So I headed on over to my Sunday evening appointment. I checked in and was led to one of the ten comfy chairs in the room. When a man came over to greet me, I was quietly psyched. I totally prefer a male massage therapist. They tend to dig in a little less and don't need to use so much force to get in there and work it out.

Immediately after exchanging our "Ni Hao(s)," I was punched in the nose with the stench of stale cigarettes. Somebody's got a nasty habit, I see. But it's OK... 'cause he brilliantly covered up the odor with a stick of chewing gum -- that works, right? But the smell was the least of my worries. If you've spent more than an hour with me sometime in my lifetime, you'd know that I hate, despise, loathe, find intolerable (check your thesaurus for more) -- I really dislike mouth noises. Snorting while laughing? Chills up my spine. Surround sound of kissing in a movie scene? Just kill me now. And don't even get me started on chewing food loudly or snoring. I can't help it, it just grosses me out. I've had to keep myself from smothering Jeff with a pillow on many-a-snoring night.

So when my new friend the massage therapist starting chomping away on his gum while digging his fingers in my neck, I prayed for lightning to strike me down. It was like a cruel joke. I didn't even care that his hands had me in more painful positions than my brothers' childhood wrestling moves (can you say figure-four leg lock?), I just wanted him to stop. chewing. the. damn. gum.

I thought to myself, how long could he possibly continue? The piece had to run out of flavor sometime, right? I would just wait it out. But what if he was chewing a piece of EXTRA gum? That lasts an extra long time! Or what if it were a piece of Big Red? He can massage a little longer with Big Red. I kept my fingers crossed that what he really was chewing, was an old-school stick of Fruit Stripe gum -- that stuff lost its flavor in like two minutes, remember? Or maybe at the very least, it was a Razzle... or Bubbalicious? A girl could dream anyway.

I debated back and forth on whether I should say something. On the one hand, I wouldn't want to be rude, hurt his feelings and/or have my arms ripped off, all in the name of "massage." On the other, I'm paying for this hour (however little) and don't I deserve a non gum-smackin' relaxing time? I was willing to let the eau de tobacco go after all.

What do you think I did? And what would YOU do?