touch me all over
After booking my massage six months in advance, I'm eager to say the least.
Standing in front of the glass sliding doors, I watch as people inside slowly set up for the day.
The building is tall and I'm on the third floor. Glass windows across the way reveal people heading to their offices, racks of expensive clothing and a restaurant upstairs.
My brother bought me the massage at the Kenzo spa as a Christmas present. “Book early,” he warned, having been told there was a five-month waiting list.
Eventually I'm let in and led to the back of room, where I'm seated on a cushion and given a glass of water.
In front of me is a large, glowing bubble, white and cushion-like. It is la bulle Kenzo, where my massage will take place.
A woman leads me inside and gives me two options: “The massage you’ve been bought isn’t really a massage. It’s more of a sensual game for your back. There are no oils or massaging. Most people don’t realize this, and if you like, you can exchange it for a real massage.”
I pause and think. She continues.
“We use feathers, and different objects…”
I don't hesitate: “I’ll take the real massage." Feathers? I need someone to work my back, not tickle it.
She tells me to undress, gives me the option of wearing a towel over my underwear, and leaves the room.
This is my first massage, so I strip down to my thong and wrap the towel around my waist, then lie down and wait.
Eventually she returns, lowers the lights, and soft French music fills the small room. As I start to relax I feel a tug at my towel, which is slowly lifted away from my body.
Left in nothing but my lacy thong, I realize that being bashful isn’t always an option in Paris.
Soon her oily hands are running up my legs, up my back, down my arms. I’m surprised by the intimacy. I didn’t realize massages were so personal. It’s practically sexual, but the rubbing motions are so soothing I eventually become comatose.
By the time the massage is done I feel like falling asleep and never awaking. I don’t want to leave my little bubble. She gets me a drink, lowers the lights, then tells me she'll meet me outside.
Alone in the room I take my time. I slowly get dressed, turn up the lights, and reach for the door handle.
The door won’t open. It won’t open. I push, I pull, I wiggle the handle. Nothing.
I press buttons. Nothing. I’m locked in a bubble. A fucking bubble.
I body slam. No luck. I knock.
After a good ten minutes I’ve lost all serenity from the massage, but eventually my knocking is heard and the woman arrives.
“The door gets stuck sometimes. You have to push hard,” she tells me.
Is body slamming not pushing hard?
Eventually I’m calm and serene again. I’m out of the bubble, I smell of oils, and my skin is softer than the day I was born.
And other than the unsettling ending, I feel my body could get used to this kind of attention.