I threw my back out this weekend. It was a combination of sleeping on it wrong, picking up Maddie, stress, and lurching after my daredevil nephew. This morning it hurt so badly I could hardly breathe. I’m no stranger to back pain, but this time I definitely hit a new pain level.

I was pretty desperate to get a massage all weekend, but it was impossible for me to get one at a massage parlor at the last minute. I remembered when I was in New York, every nail salon had a chair you could sit in and you could buy a massage for a dollar a minute. It was worth a try, so I headed over to my favorite salon.

When I walked in, I asked the receptionist if they had pay per minute massage. She said they did, and she’d get someone to help me. As soon as I sat down, a tiny older woman dashed toward me from the back. It was Tina, my guardian angel pedicurist!

Tina: I hear you want massage!
Me: Yes! I was thinking maybe 20 minutes. I really hurt my back.
Tina: I give massage! Come in back with me!
Me: Uh…ok. You don’t have a chair out here I can sit in? You know, the one you put your face in?
Tina: What? NO! COME IN BACK!
Me: Okaaaay.

I followed her to the back…which was really just the far corner of the salon cordoned off by a curtain. She yanked the curtain shut behind me, then barked, “STRIP!”

Me: What?! I thought you were just going to rub my back!
Tina: You have dress on! Take it off. I have oils!

And then in one swift motion, she stepped behind me and unzipped my dress. I started to freak out.

Me: OH, you know what, this is ok, I don’t need a massage, it’s cool, I don’t really know about this…

…and then she bent over and pulled my dress up over my head. Tina did NOT mess around. She pointed to the table and said, “Lay down!” so I did…in my underwear and my bra. Oh wait, NOT IN MY BRA because as soon as I laid down she unhooked it and pulled it off. She was like a tiny Asian Joey Tribbiani. I was powerless.

I told myself that this was just like any other massage. I tried to relax, I really did. But all I could think was there was just a small curtain between me and the rest of the nail salon full of patrons and windows. Tina didn’t put a blanket over me, so when she was working on my lower back all I could think was, “don’t fart, don’t fart.” It didn’t help that when Tina would find a knot in my back she’d shout, “You like it right there? YEAH!” I knew the whole salon could hear her. I started counting to 60 over and over, timing out the minutes until Tina would be done.

After I’d counted to 60 seventeen times, I knew I was almost done. I could tell Tina was winding down, too. Then she leaned over my head and whispered, “I work your boots.” “My what? My feet?” “NO! Your boots. BOOOOOTS!”

And then she touched my butt. Ah. GLUTES.

Me: NO! No, that’s quite alright!! I think I’m done!

I jumped up and quickly put my bra and dress back on. I struggled with the zipper until Tina leaned over and zipped it back up. Then she spun me around, looked me in the eyes and said, “You are very tense. Next time, one hour. Tina fix you up goooooooooooooooooood.” Then she winked.

I didn’t make eye contact with anyone as I left.

I’m sort of torn about whether or not I should go back to this salon. I mean, really, they’ve seen just about everything there is to see between my last two visits. Maybe I should just go bananas and get a bikini wax to totally remove the mystery.