A life in massages

I really enjoy a good massage, and although I don't indulge in them regularly, when I can, I do. With gusto! I am all about alternative methods of healing; acupuncture has done wonders for me over the years, massage is truly therapeutic when done correctly, and reflexology is cool- why turn down a foot massage if it also happens to be great for you?

That said, I've had some incredibly weird experiences with massage therapists who should not be thus, and today ranked as the strangest ever. But first, some historical context.
There was once the man named Spider who seemed to be nearly seven feet tall and was nice as could be but whose hands felt like Brillo pads, and I wasn't there for exfoliation.
There was the woman who kept doing a finger sashay up my sternum for no good reason, and I kept making very clear signs that she should stop approaching my goods but to no avail. By the end of that massage I was in a full plank with tension and stormed out angrily after receiving absolute stone-face reactions from the managers to whom I complained. No gratuity and no return!
There was the ill-forsaken massage and mud-bath combo which was just revolting in every way. T and I were dating, on vaca in Napa and splurged on this package deal in Calistoga as it was "the thing" to do. Disgusting. Do you want to sit naked in hot mud? Why did we? We're not pigs. Thank god for wine afterwards!
In contrast, there is Marlene, a masseuse in Lake Charles, LA, who has hands of magic. I've gone to Marlene pretty much every time I've visited my parents during the past seven years. And here in DC is Kristy, over at Equinox. That woman is amazing too, and both serve as my points of reference for what constitutes a top-notch massage.
So back to today. T bought me a Groupon for a 60 minute treatment at the Washington Institute of Natural Medicine, and earlier this week, I booked an appointment for this afternoon. I requested a female practitioner and the gal at the front desk gave me a lot of flak for that, finally, grudgingly scheduling me with Denise. Between then and today at noon, however, she called back four times to see if I could change my time, be put with Robert, and so forth. We finally settled on Jasmine* at 1:30.
I didn't, not surprisingly, have a real good feeling going into the appointment, and upon meeting Jasmine, my suspicions began to crystallize into full-scale doubt.
Bless her heart if she is plagued with severe social unease, but really, if you're in a healing profession that involves talking and hands-on work, you need to improve your skills. Eye contact was sporadic, bizarre pauses too frequent, and there was some random and confusing dialogue about how much she disliked stretching (WTF?). As well, she suggested I remove all "jewelry and accessories" so that "I don't get lubricant on them." Oh my god. Please use a different word.
The lights stayed mostly on, there was no music or even white noise, and the time between each pumping of lotion and then applying was oddly protracted. In addition, there was a coffin-shaped white tent suspended in the air above me with the words Steam Wonder or something similar on the side. There is no way I would let that thing down on me, I'll tell you that. There was no plan-of-action, so to speak, and she forgot to do one arm. I asked if she intended to, and she replied "I did." Nope! "Oh, I must be caught up in something else." The hand massage felt unfortunately like a hand job if you catch my drift, and I've now got a cramp in my shoulder. The WORST was the interminable ear massage during which he fingers were IN.MY.EARS. Why in god's name would you want to stick your fingers in a stranger's ears at all, much less for several minutes?
My mind skipped around to all manner of subjects: new recipe ideas; musings on if I were in another part of the world and this were the healing treatment of that place or culture, would I be pleased? (no); is the platter that's on sale at Sur La Table still available?
Isn't it just too much? It's so ridiculous that it's hilarious. Right afterwards, I went to pick Jack up from school, and he asked why I'd not brought a snack. So, I regaled him with the story, and I must say he did a great job appreciating the complete outrageousness of it all. It's always something, yes?
*Jasmine is a pseudonym.