Last Christmas my mom gave me a gift certificate for a two-hour massage. When October rolled around and the certificate was still nestled in the back of my lingerie drawer, I decided it was time to cash in.
Turns out my massage therapist was named Angel Calhoun and two hours with Angel was the closest to heaven I’ve experienced in a while.
The afternoon of my appointment, Angel greeted me in the front of Campbell’s Vitalle Ellements Salon and escorted me back to her cozy treatment room. A wall-mounted waterfall gurgled and new age music played softly. After Angel left me to disrobe, I promptly highjacked her iPod. I scrolled down the list of artists. Yanni? Nope. Enya? Hells no. Settling on Seal, I crawled under the sheet and waited.
I hadn’t had a massage in forever. Finding a good body worker is tougher than finding a good mate. I’ve had my share of doozies. There was the masochist who contorted my limbs like I was Gumby, completely ignoring my cries of pain and the fact that, thanks to minimal sheet coverage, my lady parts were on full display.
Then there was the cruel chick who, during my prenatal massage, kept reprimanding me because I was too tense.
Oh, and can't forget the big Swede who was actually decent. Only he worked out of an office in a business complex and Bengay was his lotion of choice. Sorry, but the smell of medicinal menthol coupled with the sound of phones ringing and a copier collating outside the door doesn’t make for a spa-like atmosphere.
I could tell things with Angel would be different. She had me relaxed and drooling within the first 10 minutes. The room was dark, but I could have sworn this woman had 10 nutcrackers for fingers. She was deep but not too deep. At first I thought two hours might be too long but with the extra time allowed Angel to thoroughly heal every inch of my body.
An athlete who studied anatomy and physiology for years, Angel previously worked as a massage therapist for a doctor’s office. If a joint or a muscle feels out of whack, she can detect and work on that area. For example, when she felt the knots in my neck and shoulders, she said, “Ooh, your body is telling on you.”
“Am I really that bad?”
“I can tell you’re not hanging around with nothing to do all day,” she said.
I liked this woman. “Can you please tell that to my husband?”
You know what else I liked about Angel? She wasn’t a Chatty Cathy. Every once in a while she’d throw out a zinger. “You’re lucky,” she said, “Fridays are usually busy. You cleared the salon like Moses parted the red sea.” Mostly, though, she left me to de-stress in silence.
Besides being a stellar massage therapist, Angel has a good sense of humor, too.
“When someone named Angel advertises a two-hour massage, some people might get the wrong idea,” she said. “They might expect one of those places with blackened windows and a red neon sign that says “Spa” but my massages are legal and ethical in the state of California.”
Even after two hours, it was tough to leave. I could have stayed in that cozy lavender-scented cocoon forever.
To read Kim Ratcliff's blog, visit www.laughingattheground.com.