The masseuse introduces herself as Curiosity. I look around the room to make sure I didn’t inadvertently walk into a strip club. As you might expect, I am skeptical from that start that this will go well.
She asks if I have any areas that warrant specific attention. I note the lower left back pain I have and my left Achilles issue. “Those are most likely related,” she says. “It might be that one leg is shorter than the other. I’ll measure them, and if there’s any difference, I can make a chiropractic adjustment.”
I stifle a snort. The sandalwood smell fills my nose.
She starts by rubbing my scalp. “You do phrenology, too?” I ask.
“Sorry, thought you might dabble in all of the discredited sciences.”
At that point, the essential oils she’d set out start to hit me. It’s not just sandalwood, it’s the most pleasant peatiness I’ve ever smelled. It’s fruity, red fruity, yet dry and floral. It’s the cascade hops of peat I’m smelling as she crams my face further into the padded donut. As I relax and take it in, it’s smoked cranberry, lychee berries, and lavender honey.
Curiosity digs her elbow into the flesh beneath my shoulder blades, and I ask her if she can tone that down a bit. She doesn’t hear me at first. When she does, she steps away and changes the essential oil container and then comes right back with the elbow, just as hard as before.
These new oils are brighter, stronger, and they fill my mouth as I gasp from Curiosity’s merciless attempts to destroy a knot in my back. I can taste peat from before, but now it’s layered over with coniferous sap notes, like someone took a whole Norwegian spruce, fresh cones and all, and used an industrial press to turn it into a tablet the size of a children’s aspirin–and then that someone heated it over an open flame, without the slightest concern that the heat might make it the most explosive Black Snake ever.
Curiosity has me flip over, and I can barely manage, she’s so pulverized me into a happy, useless gelatinous pile of flesh. She asks if I want an eye covering, and I say yes. I get one, but I also get a huge mouthful of aromas as finishes working on my legs. Imagine a giant charcoal pacifier used for a strange S&M game among consenting adults, and you’ve got an idea how this one finished up. But don’t misunderstand me here: the whole experience was simple, but rich, not unlike a large Fortune 500 index fund, only slightly more medicinal, as you might expect here.
Curiosity leaves the room so I can roll off the table onto my now totally relaxed legs and attempt to dress myself. That Curiosity was not what I expected at first. She was a feisty one, but also wonderfully good at what she does.
On the scale of possible reactions to a massage,
The BenRiach 10 Year Old Curiositas is nearly falling asleep and drooling through the hole in the padded face donut–The Happy Ending has more mythical force, but it’s wholly unprofessional and unduly messy. Provided you’re not going for deep tissue massage and provided you don’t have too many kinks to work out, a sleepy rope of spittle stretching to the floor is a mark of excellence.