Almost every single time, I get the same reaction. When I tell a girlfriend — or any female acquaintance, for that matter — that I have never had a pedicure, she will throw back her head, roll her eyes toward the heavens, and exclaim, “Ohhhhhhhhhh my GOD! You HAVE to get one! It is the BEST THING EVERRRR!!”

So I decide on my beach trip to make an appointment at a day spa, and I punctuate the package with a fun little treat for my toes. My reaction to the pedicure?

Eh.

Oh well. I suppose not every neverdone can have an ecstatic outcome. Yeah, the accompanying foot/calf massage was pleasurable in an anticlimactic sort of way, and my toe cuticles are now in primo condition. It makes my tired, deserving feet feel pampered and really pretty, and the super-spa-quality polish will probably last a long time. But, from an aesthetic point of view, it’s not a much better job than I could have done myself. I doubt I’d pay for another one.

Don’t get me wrong…..I’m glad I did it! I had a multi-fabulous 2-3 hours at a place which made me feel like a princess. It was cool to go from soothing-back-room to soothing-back-room wearing one of their soft, comfy robes, carrying a cup-and-saucer dose of lemon-ginger green tea. Later, when I asked for some water, they brought it to me in a champagne glass. Melinda herself (the place, located in North Myrtle Beach, was named Melinda’s Day Spa) did my pedicure, and she was a fun, interesting person. I never got the courage to ask her about the dainty gold pendant hanging from her neck — it featured a naked couple, embracing while facing each other on their knees. Sort of like this but without the pentagram design in the back. Was it a symbol that she’s into….something unconventional? Maybe just a loving gift from her husband? Or a subtle suggestion that they may have other services besides those on the published list? Hmmmmmmm. I tried not to stare at it.

Anyway…….

Did you catch the ‘anticlimactic’ part a couple paragraphs ago? Don’t think this post will be without a fun story. Let me tell you about the massage I had beforehand.

I signed up for an 80-minute full body integrated massage. Upon your arrival, you’d have a conversation with your therapist about your aches, pains, and goals for the time, and that person would decide which special techniques, if any, would need to be integrated. My appointment was with a dude named — um, let’s call him Tony. He sort of looked like a Tony.

When I first started getting massages back in the mid 90s, I said I’d never go to a male therapist. It would be too weird. But every so often I wouldn’t have a choice because of schedules and availability, and I eventually discovered that, in general, I liked the men better. I don’t know if women just don’t have the upper body strength or if they are just afraid to employ heavy, therapeutic pressure, but rarely do they get in there and… ahem, satisfy me. Maybe I just haven’t found the right woman. Or maybe I’m masochistic, and men are more willing to slip into the accompanying sadistic role. Ha!

So I wasn’t too nervous about Tony. I would’ve been more comfortable if he’d been unthreateningly gay, but I suppose I can’t always have everything I want. He was very professional and went to great lengths to ensure that I felt a high level of trust and comfort.

“Now, I don’t want you to give me one of those girly massages,” I laughed as we exchanged pleasantries in the lobby. “I want therapeutic, not relaxing.”

What I wanted to say, which I think would have been a little clearer: Do it hard. Use every muscle you have to do it hard, and I mean HARD. Do it so hard that you will need a massage after you’re done with me. And go deep, buddy. Go deep, all the way to freakin’ China. Don’t let a tiny ligament stop you. Get in between whatever you need to. Just GO DEEP. Hard and deep, baby, hard and deep. Do you understand? HARD and DEEP.

But that would’ve been awkward. I hoped my ‘therapeutic’ comment would suffice.

“Let me tell you what I need,” I began, as we headed toward the back. “You know that neck problem you get where you can’t turn your head? I’m beginning to get over that, but would like some help working the rest of it out.”

“No problem, I’ll fix you right up,” he said, as we entered a little room filled with ocean waves, classical music, and soothing scents.

“But, way more important than my neck is to loosen my lower body. I’ve been trying,” I chuckled, “to become a runner, and my lower body is feeling abused and tight, tight, tight. The worst parts are my hamstrings, IT band, lower back, and hips.”

“You’ll walk out of here feeling like a new woman,” he assured me as he slipped out so I could undress and get under the crisp sheet and fuzzy, light blanket.

He started with my calves and worked his way up, one leg at a time. Just as I suspected, when he got to the backs and sides of my legs, he found knots. Still trying to find a delicate way to convey the amount of pressure I wanted — and of course the word ‘pressure’ never occurred to me during the whole 80 minutes — I said, “you can go harder if you need to.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yep.”

“I don’t want to hurt you.”

“You won’t. I’ll holler if you do, but, trust me, you won’t.”

He chuckled. “Well, just don’t yell too loud. My boss will wonder what’s going on in here.”

“Well, you won’t hurt me, I promise.”

So he went deeper into my hamstring, and it felt gooooooooooood.

What I wanted to say: Ohhhhhhhhhhh, yeeeeeeeeaahhhhh! Oh my god, that feels sooooooo gooooooooooood. Go harder. Deeper. Don’t stop. Whatever you do, don’t stop. Goooooooooood LORD, that’s wonderful.

“That’s the spot,” I said, “and it feels awesome.”

“Good.”

So, after a glorious 15 minutes or so, he abandoned my legs and hesitated. “I have to ask,” he said. “We have rules. Do you mind if I lift the sheet to reach…. ?”

He meant my ass, but stopped short of the end of his sentence. If I’d known him better, I would’ve said: Good lord, of course you can lift the sheet. Get on with it. You’re wasting time.

“Nope, I don’t mind.”

So he folded back one side of the sheet and got to work. And I am here to tell you, my friends, that NOTHING feels better than an ass massage when your glutes are tight and knotted, and the area deep inside your hips is sore and out of whack. A couple of times he acted as if he would stop and move on to the next body part, but I wouldn’t let him, asking him to move up or down or deeper…anything to ensure he wouldn’t stop.

“I can feel I’m breaking up a lot of knots,” he said. “Are you beginning to feel better?”

“Oh, yes, you were right — when I leave, I’ll leave brand new and feeling great.”

I kept asking him to press harder. And harder. Finally, I guess I convinced him he could do his maximum, because he stopped those annoying I-don’t-want-to-hurt-you comments, and even let out a grunt or two.

When he happened upon the spot in my lower back/hip that my chiropractor’s been working on……ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! This time, I couldn’t help it. I actually said what was on my mind.

“Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!” I wasn’t as eloquent as I would’ve been a few minutes earlier. He must’ve massaged my brains out.

He laughed. “That feels good, does it?”

“Yeeeeeesssssss.”

“You should get your husband or boyfriend — or both — to massage this area for you every day.”

“Hmmm. Yeah. I’ll see what I can do about that.”

Eventually, sadly, regrettably, he told me that we only had 10 minutes left. Wow, he must’ve spent more than half of our allotted time on just my ass! He did a quick job on my back (I mean he massaged my back, for those of you whose dirty little minds produced a different sort of picture) before moving, finally, to my neck and shoulders.

“You should see another massage therapist when you go back home,” he advised. “Your neck is full of knots, too, and we don’t have enough time to work them out today.”

His finale was a scalp massage which felt tingly and nice, but — oh my goodness — it was just no comparison to the afternoon’s ass crescendo.

That’s why the ensuing pedicure was anticlimactic.

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