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Saturday, 19 June - link

foot oil loincloth citation - beta testing massage

The other day, I had walked down the to Venice Beach with my copy of Japan Unbound. A woman sat on a grassy knoll near the sand, smoking in a bent yellow cowboy hat. I passed her, nodding my head, taking a seat a few paces away. I sat on the beach in a threadbare shirt shivering in the Southern California summer, reading about the charismatic politicians regenerating Japan.

A few minutes later, I looked up and saw a giant police SUV pulled up in front of her and two police were asking her questions and writing her a ticket. I thought she might have been cited for smoking. After they left, I asked her about her infraction; she shared that she was busted for sipping from a small bottle of wine in a brown paper bag.

Turns out Deborah moved here from the East Coast a few months back, and she's training to be a masseuse. She traveled a bunch in India, where she learned a foot massage technique, and she's studying Swedish massage as well. She lives in a house that's a spa, with a few other masseuses, a few blocks from the beach.

She's just restarting her local Indian massage practice after months of studying other techniques. She needs someone to practice on. I volunteer. We set up an appointment for the next morning at 9am. I am shivering from beach winds; I thank her, we smile at each other and I leave.

The next morning, I walk to the spa near my house in Venice. She's left a note on the door; she's running late. I sit on the stoop and play with my Treo, admiring the foggy morning.

She arrives in her cowboy hat and walks me around back, touring the spa. The woman who started the place ripped up piles of concrete and planted grass, herbs and vegetables. In between, a hottub, sauna, and bed suspended on chains from a wood pyramid. Inside, a profusion of tapestries, small musical instruments.

loin clothedDeborah took some time to gather her materials; her notebook from India, oil, plastic sheets, mats. Meanwhile, she handed me a string and cut a piece of an old bedsheet; my loincloth to wear during the massage. I relished putting that on - I immediately realized I had been unknowingly harboring a loincloth fetish in my deep unconscious and as soon as she left the room I took pictures of myself. A fashion trip to the heart of darkness? Maybe a fundoshi fantasy.

Finally, the room assembled, I laid down on a plastic sheet and she poured oil on me - cooling for my pitta body type, she said. Then she grabbed ahold of a sash running from one corner of the ceiling to the other, and proceeded to push her feet, heels and toes across my muscles.

At one point the sash holding her up fell down. The mat she was using turned out to be too squishy, she said, so she was sliding around, unable to apply the pressure she wanted. Halway through the two hour session she turned on a CD of indian chants - vishnu, rama, hare hare. The loincloth turned into a wegie.

That morning, I discovered that feet can be stronger than hands, and I like a strong massage. At times, she put all her weight into my back, my thighs, my shoulders, and it felt good. When Deborah gets her routine down, her proper setup, she will be offering a good service.

Afterwards, I stood up from a greasy plastic sheet, covered hair to toe in oil. She offered me the chance to shower, but she remarked: this is good oil, you might want to just leave it on. I observed to her roommate Zoltan that I felt greasy. He was eating a bowl of blueberries, bananas, sprouted almonds and hemp seeds, topped with cranberry juice. He replied, "It's good for you." Why? "It's cleansing, detoxifying."

Cleansing? Life is an experiment: I left it on, rubbing it in real hard. My skin felt great all day, but my dripping oily hair hanging in my eyes bugged the hell out of me.

Posted on 19 June 2004 : 12:08 (TrackBack)
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Justin's Links, by Justin Hall.