Things to Know Before Your First Awkward Massage

Several years ago, my wife got me a massage for Christmas.  Not the kind where she forgot to get me a gift, and so sat under the tree and offered to rub my shoulders, but the kind at an actual massage place, where professional masseuses work.  She was worried that I would not like this gift, as apparently it is not manly to go to a day spa and relax, but that’s ridiculous!  I’m sure men do that all the time, and I was psyched!  I mean, who wouldn’t want to lie on a table for an hour and have someone rub them?  Unless you have human touch-a-phobia, I’m pretty sure getting a massage is a gender neutral activity.

When I arrived at the day spa for my scheduled appointment, I was directed to the changing room, so I walked right on in, just as some middle-aged women were in the middle of being naked.  This was awkward.  I went back to the front desk to ask where the men’s changing room was, but the men’s changing room was, alas, mildly non-existent.  You see, it turns out that men do not go to day spas to relax.  In fact, men do not go there to the point of not even having a men’s changing room.  I was told to wait until all of the horrified nudity had left the universal changing room, at which point I would be able to enter and, I guess, change.

Change into what?  I was very confused.  They had given me a robe and a towel, but I didn’t know what to do with them.  Dozens of attractive young women strode up and down the hallways, all looking as though they never would have dated me in high school, and were just waiting for me to ask them an embarrassing question so that they could go giggle about me later with their friends.  I realize that this was not true and was my own issue, but I still decided against asking any of them for help.  I was going to navigate the soft and fluffy wardrobe decisions on my own.

The first question, obviously, was how much of my own clothing I was supposed to remove.  My shirt came off; that was never in doubt.  I knew that shoulders and backs were prime massage-able areas, so easy access was needed to my torso.  Judging from the towel and robe, I concluded that my pants needed to come off as well, but how much further did I need to go?  Just what were they going to be massaging here?!  And yet, how embarrassing it would be to have the sexy young masseuse inform me mid-session that I had left on too much clothing!  Of course, it might be even more embarrassing for her to inform me that I had taken off too much…

I removed my underwear and then put it back on several times in a row, before deciding that I ought to just ask someone.  I knew I was taking too long in the changing room, because various women kept walking in, looking at me in shock and disgust, and then walking back out again to wait at the door until I had finished defiling their sacred space with my repetitive mooning.  I stuck my head out the door in the hopes of finding someone official looking who could tell me how exposed I was supposed to become.  Finding a likely candidate, I asked the dreaded question, and she replied, with a sly smile, “Oh, it’s up to you.”  Curses!  She had given me no answer at all, and now I had exposed myself as a day spa newbie.  At least that was the only way I had exposed myself.  I decided to leave the underwear on.

I wandered out into the hallway wearing my robe, my towel, and my underwear, in an attempt to look like I knew where I was going.  I casually loped along the long hallway, trying to secrete confidence as I became lost and ended up in what I think might have been the break room.  Luckily I was put back on the right track and finally ended up in the correct room, where I was told to take off my robe and lie face down on the table.  Then I was told to take off my towel, which I guess I was not supposed to be wearing under my robe, and lie face down on the table.  The towel was draped over my mid-section, I guess to cover me up in case I had decided to go commando, and then I got oiled up and thus began the most relaxing hour of my life.

For those of you who were concerned that I was lying face down on a table while someone above me squished my body down, don’t worry.  The table had a face-hole in it, so I did not die.  Also, I was glad for the towel, because I got all greasy and oily during the process, and the towel was a good way to keep all of that lovely scented back lube where it was supposed to be.  I was glad to be partially clothed, since it allowed me to relax a little more without being self-conscious, and I couldn’t believe it was over so fast.  I have spent an hour trying to make a baby stop screaming, and this did not seem anywhere near as long as that.  I think I may have only gotten 50 minutes.

Overall I would highly recommend the experience, but I hope you will keep a few things in mind if you are thinking about getting your first massage.  One: you cannot wear the towel and the robe.  It’s awkward.  And two: always knock before entering the changing room.  Otherwise, that’s awkward too.  But do know that it’s underwear optional, and there’s nothing awkward about that at all.

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Posted in Massage, Misadventures, Throwback Thursday.


  1. Not because it isn’t “manly” … but for several other reasons – I just could not redeem the gift of a massage my wife gave me. I just couldn’t do it. And reading your post – you, who I believe are less inhibited than I and, in some ways, are more socially adept than I – I am convinced I did the right thing in not going for the massage. I think it ended far better for you than it would have for me.

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