The Mall Massage

by Roo on April 30, 2012

in storytelling

Jack and I took all three girls to the mall to meet up with my sisters-in-law.  Rembot and Sharky in the double stroller, and Minnie strapped to my chest in the carrier.  On the agenda?  Playing in the kiddie play area, taking a few rides in a firetruck that lights up and moves back and forth if I feed it enough quarters, dinner in the food court where Sharky was all FRENCH FRIES ALL DAY EVERY DAY, BABY, and a healthy amount of window shopping.

And then we got hustled.

During any one of my infrequent trips to the mall, I avoid center-aisle kiosks and large groups of tweens like I avoid taxes and the Department of Motor Vehicles.  These kiosk owners are generally on the aggressive side, and nothing ruins a good shopping trip like getting accosted at the mall.

“Check out our kitchen cabinets!”
“Here, let me flat iron your hair!”
“I’m going to rub this lotion into your hands whether you like it or not!”
“Have your daughters ever thought about modeling?”
“Step right up for a complimentary gyn exam!”

Just kidding on that last one.  I have my guard up, and respond with a friendly smile and a “No, thank you, but have a great day!” as I walk past.  That’s usually good enough to thwart a second try.  At least I’m nice, right?

Anyway, we were walking along, and we were approached by two Asian men offering us massages.

Jack:  You can’t say “Asian!” 

Roo:  But they are Asian.

Jack:  You can’t say that!

Roo:  Why are you whispering?

They had those kneel-y massage chairs out.  You know, you sit, and your face goes in that cushy face-hole pillow.  There were bamboo plants and several people dressed in white available to massage the weary shopper.  They offered us a two-minute “sample” and suddenly Jack was pushing me towards the chair.

“Go ahead.  Weren’t you saying your back hurt?”  I sat down, and Jack’s sister Marie settled into a chair.

The gentleman of no discernible ethnic background (seriously, is that better?) started rubbing my shoulders.  And immediately found a knot.  And another knot.  And then one more.

“You need this.  She NEEDS this,” he emphatically told Jack.  “Ten minutes.  Twelve dollars.”  And I was all ready to say, “Nah, let’s move on, let’s go,” but somehow we all started haggling.  I interjected here and there with an idea or two, but because my face was in cushy face-hole pillow, I could really only hear and not participate.

“Ten minutes for her and ten minutes for her for twenty dollars.”
“Fifteen and fifteen for thirty!”
“Fifteen and fifteen and a bamboo plant for thirty!”

I’m not really sure what was going on, but Marie was sold and said, “Go.  Just go.  Yes.  Rub me.”  I settled back in and let the masseuse do his work.  Big ups to Marie for giving him the go-ahead.

At one point he moved from my back to massaging my arms and then my hands and then my fingers, and I was all Listen, homeboy, if I only have fifteen minutes, I don’t want to spend five of them thumb wrestling you.  So, I popped my head up and politely asked if he could focus on my lower back.

Apparently “Please rub my lower back” also means “Please massage my butt for the next seven minutes.”  Don’t get me wrong, he totally got the knots out out of my back, but I could actually hear Jack chuckling as the guy dug his knuckles into my right cheek.

I sat and relaxed as a remote-control helicopter buzzed overhead from the kiosk ten feet away and the scent of body spray and spandex wafted over from Victoria’s Secret.  Would I prefer to have my massages lying supine between soft sheets with no one talking and lots of aromatherapy?  Sure, sure.  But sniffing out an elevator of high school girls is cool, too.

Towards the end the kind Asian man (ROO YOU CAN’T SAY THAT) tried to offer us another ten minutes each, but we declined again.. and again.. and then one more time.  They’re kind of pushy.  Salesman pushy and knuckles into your backside pushy.

But if I’m going to get hustled by a kiosk, better it’s for a backrub and not for, say, an Angry Birds t-shirt or neon hair extensions, right?

Right, right.

{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

Catherine April 30, 2012 at 10:42 am

ha ha, I have totally thought about getting one of those massages! Usually when I am feeling wrung out from dragging two kids around the shops but I can’t ignore them and get it done when I most need it. By the way, Jack, Roo can totally say ‘Asian’ – it is fine!

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Roo May 2, 2012 at 12:18 am

I kept mine strapped in the double stroller! :)

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Catherine May 2, 2012 at 12:20 am

oh, how I miss containment (mine are 9 and 6 now so no stroller in sight). :-))

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mom0six April 30, 2012 at 10:52 am

This just happened to us at Christmas and it truly was the nicest $12 I’ve even spent on my man, who had (a) never been touched by another man for more than the man hug, and (b) barely knew massages existed outside TV shows. It was just as fun for me to see him visibly melt.

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Roo May 2, 2012 at 12:21 am

I keep asking Jack to get a pedicure with me! Wish he’d comply!

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Jenny @ Fondant is Gross April 30, 2012 at 11:39 am

Oh my god, a massage sounds SO amazing right now. I just spend three days moving all our stuff to our new house (4th move in one year. Next move better not be for a good 10 years).

I am insanely jealous of your massage. Also, it’s cool with me if you say Asian. :)

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Roo May 2, 2012 at 6:44 am

Let’s go get massages!

Fourth move in one year?? Holy cow!

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Jenny @ Fondant is Gross April 30, 2012 at 11:40 am

Some people also might say I “spent” rather than “spend”…. whoops.

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Roo May 2, 2012 at 6:44 am

Those people are dumb. ;)

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Cyn & Co April 30, 2012 at 11:58 am

Ha, ha, ha, I definitely avoid those center kiosks like the plague, it’s so weird to have some random person try to assault me with a flat iron all in the name of showing me how quickly it works.

I’d love to try one of those massage things, though I think I’d prefer the privacy of a room than being in the food court.

And, you can say ‘Asian’.

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Roo May 2, 2012 at 6:45 am

I LOVE GETTING MASSAGES FROM ASIANS!

Phew. Felt so good to let that out. :)

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Juliana April 30, 2012 at 12:36 pm

You can totally call someone who is Asian, well…Asian. However, calling said Asian person “Oriental” is not ok.

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Roo May 2, 2012 at 6:46 am

Yeah. Totally. One time an older gentleman referred to me as being “Oriental” and I was all, ummmmmmmmmmmmm
mmmmmmm
mmmmmmm
mmmmmmm
mmmmmmm
mmmmmmm,
no.

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Caitlin April 30, 2012 at 7:09 pm

Don’t worry about those neon hair extensions. My mom’s got you covered — she randomly slips them into gifts for people mainly because she thinks it’s hilarious.

You can totally say Asian.
If you want to get fancy you can use Asian-American.
OR If you want to get all sorts of technical, please refer to this handy list: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lists_of_ethnic_groups
hahaha :D

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Roo May 2, 2012 at 6:46 am

Bahaha, your mom IS hilarious!

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Cara April 30, 2012 at 8:29 pm

I seriously got fondled by the same asian guy 3 days ago. He gave me a 2 minute quickie, and then I felt dirty, as if he touched me inappropriately. Maybe it was because he put his hands on me while I was walking by before I could tell him, “No Asian man, I don’t want you rubbing me down in front of my two kids for a cheap feel.” Okay maybe that is dramatic, but it’s how I felt!

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Roo May 2, 2012 at 6:47 am

Next time, call me. I’ll meet you there. :)

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Kristie April 30, 2012 at 8:54 pm

The women of (possibly) Eastern European descent are always trying to rub their magical sea salt hand lotion on my husband. I give them the “I WILL cut you” look and they usually scamper off. #mallmuscles

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Roo May 2, 2012 at 6:47 am

Bahahahahaha. This is amazing.

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Melissa C May 22, 2012 at 10:08 am

hahaha…those ladies grabbed my husband’s thumb and proceeded to buff his nail until it was so shiny you’d have thought he was wearing clear polish! He was like “umm..what just happened?” lol

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Tracy K April 30, 2012 at 11:40 pm

Oh my! This made me LOL, for real. I agree, if they were Asian, you can say Asian.
The cell phone guys are the worst, btw!
Thanks for the laugh Roo!

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Roo May 2, 2012 at 6:52 am

Ha! Forgot about the cell phone guys. Good call, Tracy! :)

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Laura May 1, 2012 at 6:26 pm

Own that massage, girl. My game plan with the kiosk people is to walk fast, make no eye contact, and maybe pretend like I’m profoundly deaf. I always feel like a jerk, but it’s that or let them get all, “I’m going to start talking and not let you get a word in edgewise until you buy this thing that NO WANT WANTS.”

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Roo May 2, 2012 at 6:53 am

I hate the kitchen cabinet lady. She keeps balloons at her kiosk, so my girls will naturally ask for one. She will ONLY give out balloons if parents fill out a form for more information.

Yeah.

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