Saturday, November 24, 2012

Top 5 Things That Drive Your Massage Therapist Crazy

I recently read an article titled 8 Things Your Masseuse Doesn't Want You to Know. After reading it thoroughly, I've come to the conclusion that the LMT's (licensed massage therapists, for those of you not in the know) interviewed either haven’t been in the business for very long, or really hate their jobs. For example, one of the items mentioned that most massage therapists get scared when their clients snore. I don't buy that. I think if a client is relaxed enough to fall asleep on my table, I'm doing a damn fine job. Isn't snoring like applause for massage therapists? It is to me.
It got me to thinking of my own personal pet peeves though, so I tried googling Things Your LMT Hates or Things That Drive Your Masseuse to Drinking, but these searches provided no useful data, and quite frankly I’d like to know what insane, perverted monkey Google put in charge of their search engine for me to come up with this list: 
Seriously. You guys have a lot of explaining to do.

Since Google failed me miserably, I thought I would do a list of my own entitled Top 5 Things That Drive Your Massage Therapist Crazy (see above). So, without further ado, here are the things you bitches do that make me regret my chosen profession. Enjoy!

1. BAD HYGIENE

Did you take a bath before you hopped onto my table? Did you take one within the last twenty-four hours? Have you even been introduced to the concept of soap and water? No? Get the hell off my table!

"Feet that smell like ass and an ass that smells like feet. I have to say, Ma'am, I'm impressed!"

Case in point: I once had a chair massage client who always came in reeking to high heaven. His odor was so offensive that I could only massage him with light fist compressions as opposed to using my elbows since that would have required me to get closer to him. I would sanitize my hands and arms over three times after touching him and wasted a ton of aromatherapy spray inside the kiosk in the vain hope of removing his lingering stench. When I complained to my boss about this, he asked me to "Take one for the team." Seriously. Apparently, I wasn't the only one who had a problem with this client, and I think my boss must have had a word with him. After that phone call, the guy came back in. He was still reeking, but this time he was carrying a huge stick of deodorant. So instead of smelling like straight up funk, he smelled like funk with a layer of Speed Stick. Suffice it to say, I washed my hands raw working that job.

2. DON'T BOTHER TO TELL ME ABOUT A SERIOUS MEDICAL CONDITION. I LIKE HURTING YOU!

God, how I love this one—especially when the condition in question is something catching or life threatening! LMT's have these things called client intake forms where the client is supposed to list any medical conditions they might have or had within such and such time. I'll even ask the client before I start, "Have you had any recent injuries, surgeries, medical conditions of any kind and/or have you been under a doctor's care within the past three months?" I ask this for two very important reasons. I need to know if doing this massage is going to hurt the client, or if this massage is going to hurt me or anyone else that happens to come in contact with me after I’ve worked on the client.

Do you realize if you hop onto my table the same day you were the victim of a fender bender you could have broken bones or internal bleeding you aren’t aware of? Did you know I could make it worse just by touching you? Well guess what genius? I can. And when they're rushing you to the hospital with a punctured lung due to that broken rib you didn’t tell me about because you just had to have a massage today, don't come crying to me. Do you realize scabies is catching? Yeah, it is. And now you've just given it to me. And my next client. And everyone my next client touches.

Thanks a lot, asshole.


3. "MASSAGE THERAPIST" IS NOT CODE FOR "PROSTITUTE"

I don't do happy ending. I don't touch egg roll. No suki suki now. I had to go through a very grueling certification program to do what I do. I had to take a ton of biology courses to know how the body works and a pathology course to know when I can or cannot perform a massage. I had to take an ethics class to know what is acceptable behavior and what will cause the licensing board to turn my credentials into the equivalent of toilet paper...not to mention, get me fined and/or arrested. I have to have 12 continuing education units (CEU’s) every year just to stay a massage therapist. Laws and provisions differ from state to state, but in general, you need to know your shit. Or knead to know…Ha! See what I did there?

I don't get paid much, but I enjoy what I do. Or I do until some idiot comes along and asks me if I "Huh, do that massage...uh...you know the one...wink, wink, nudge, nudge. All masseuses do it, sweetie." No, sir or madam, whichever the case may be. I do not do THAT type of massage. No, I will not tell you where you can find IT. Get the hell off my table, you syphilis ridden pervert.

4. "SORRY I'M LATE! BUT HEY, 20 OR 30 MINUTES GIVE OR TAKE DOESN'T REALLY MATTER, DOES IT?"

Sigh. Okay, okay, you had traffic or car trouble or were abducted by aliens on the way to your appointment. Sometimes, shit just happens. I get that. What I don't get are the clients who do this time and time again. Surely those aliens don't love you that much? How many times does a person have to be anal probed before they're willing to put their foot down and say, "You know, I don't want to be rude, but I've got a sixty minute Swedish and an eyebrow wax booked for 11 a.m. Can you cut me a break E.T.?"

I work at a spa during the day. Part of being a service provider at one of these establishments is catering to your client’s wishes (For those of you who believe sexual favors falls under things to be catered, please reread item #3 above and die in a fire). If you want a glass of wine while you’re waiting for your service, we have a bottle rarin' to go. If you want something to eat, snacks are provided. We play soothing, mind draining music all day long to put our clients in a relaxed state of mind. If you’re late and have the common decency to call, we’ll try to fit you in as best as we can because the time is already booked and will only go to waste if we turn you away. No service provider wants to lose that money. That is, if you're lucky enough to have made the appointment at a place that doesn't automatically charge you if you don't cancel 24 hours before your appointment. We do everything short of hand feeding you peeled grapes while performing oral sex (Again, item #3. Fire.) All we ask in return is for you to render payment and be early.

Early. Not on time. Why not on time? Because (1) You don't know what might happen to hold you up, and (2) you'll probably need to fill out an intake form before your service starts. Not to mention, the amount of time it takes to get you into a robe and onto the table. That eats into your Me Time, too.

You go to a spa to be pampered. For those of you who haven't been taught at an early age how to tell time, let me clue you in to a little secret: It's very difficult to feel pampered when your service provider is rushing through their routine because you walked in the door twenty to thirty minutes after the start of your appointment. Do you know why we're rushing? Because we have to end that massage on time. Most likely, there’s a string of unhappy clients scheduled right after you. You know, those guys you saw in the waiting area sipping their third or fourth glass of conciliatory wine, tapping their feet impatiently, and grumbling that they aren't on a table yet when they had the good grace to come in early? And if you have other appointments scheduled (facial, mani/pedi, hair, etc.) right after me, you're not only holding up my clients. You're holding up everybody else's clients too. Nice going you inconsiderate bastard.

5. "I'M PAYING A FORTUNE FOR MY SERVICE, AND YOU'RE NOT A WAITRESS. I DON'T HAVE TO TIP YOU."

Hmmm. These guys. Let's get the record straight. You aren't just paying me. You're paying the owner of the spa where I work. I get a percentage of that, yes. 45% to be exact, but this isn’t the norm. Most places will only start you out at 25-35%. Some only pay an hourly wage that increase slightly if the provider has a client. I lucked out-or didn't, depending on your point of view-because the place I work for was desperate for employees when they hired me and was run by someone with poor management skills. And we don't charge clients if they cancel or no show.

And for those of you who think 45% is a lot of money, try working on commission during a slow week. I could be making $1000 one week and standing in the parking lot of my spa with a tin cup, begging for alms the next. You don’t even want to know what I made the week Hurricane Isaac hit! Client draining events like that make me wish I were paid a set hourly wage. And paid vacation time. And maternity leave. And sick leave. Too bad most spas in my area won’t hire unless you’re willing to work on commission as an independent contractor.

Hey, want to hear some more fun facts about working as an independent contractor on commission? My employer doesn't have to provide health insurance. Even if the new health laws go through, I'm stuck with that bill because technically, I'm only renting a space to work from her. This is kind of a bummer considering the number of massage therapists that quit due to repetitive motion injury. I also pay for my own oils, sports creams, and equipment. Some spas will foot that bill, but in a dwindling economy, more and more workplaces are placing that burden on the service provider. Other stuff that comes out of my own pocket: my LMT insurance. You've got to be insured if you want to be licensed. Oh yeah, state licensing! I pay for that too. In another couple years, I'll have to pay to renew my certification. And CEU's that can run as high as $150 to $300 a course. Every year. Every. Damn. Year.

That's what you're paying for, buddy. But thanks for telling me to look both ways before crossing the street. I would have preferred a cash tip, but hey, it'll come in handy when I'm pushing you into oncoming traffic.

10 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. I take it you got hit by a few of these lovely numbers. My condolences.

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  2. Anonymous1:48 PM

    Oh Jeebus,
    all of these,
    every.
    damn.
    one.
    drive me insane.
    I ran into most of them within my first year as an L.M.T. now that I'm into my fifth I'm wondering if I shouldn't just start putting signs up everywhere.

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    Replies
    1. ATTENTION CLIENTS: PLEASE BATHE BEFORE ARRIVING 15 TO 20 MINUTES BEFORE YOUR SCHEDULED MASSAGE. AND DON'T GRAB MY ASS WHEN YOU'RE ON MY TABLE. A CASH TIP WOULD BE NICE TOO. CLIENTS FAILING TO MENTION ANY CONTAGIOUS CONDITIONS WILL BE TERMINATED...WITH EXTREME PREJUDICE! I'm going to have to discuss this with the manager at the spa where I work, but I think that sign covers everything.

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  3. Anonymous8:11 AM

    LOVE THIS POST!!!

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  4. So true I have been a LMBT for 10 years, I have so many signs in my office, Draping Required, Please no lewd request or rude questions or I will HAPPILY END your SESSION:) AND charge full price.
    Please be well hydrated and have good hygiene! And the list keep going and going, and to the client asking with a wink wink about a happy ending here is the best response I have found in my 10 years!!
    "Ha that is so funny if I had a dollar for every-time some idiot asked me that, My house would paid for and I would own a beach home by now...Glad you are not one of those idiots!"
    Good Luck to us all lol,. Going back to school everyone I am on my way ,,,,I just enrolled as a Mortuary/Embalming student years of massage have shown me my path!

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  5. This is all so spot on, and brutally honest... I hope this sheds some light on those that need it.

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  6. Anonymous12:27 AM

    What is a proper tip for a 90 min $75 massage?

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  7. Unpleasant, unhappy massage therapist who should find another job.

    ReplyDelete