Sunday, October 2, 2011

Celebrity, massage and I gotta keep the name to myself

I arrived at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel at 4pm. I'd never been to this hotel before. Just to give you some perspective, the Mandarin is one of THE most expensive hotels in the world. A standard room costs $800 a night. And the suites start at around $2,000 per 24-hour stay. So yeah, I'd never stepped foot in this joint. This place is limited to the very rich and very famous or at the very least friends of the rich and famous. I don't know anyone with this kinda cash. Anyway, when I arrived in the lobby (which is located on the 35th floor of the Time Warner Building), there were male and female servants fixed at their stations (dressed in black suits with frozen smiles on their obedient faces), over-the-top crystal sculptures, a marble staircase (serving no real purpose 'cause no one ever took the stairs) and lots of wealthy people stepping off the elevator with compete confidence...looking unaffected by their surroundings. Oh and did I mention Owen Wilson walked by? Yeah. They all seemed right at home. But as soon as *I* stepped off the elevator, I felt like all the employees pushed those hidden security buttons underneath their desks at the same time and within seconds a 400 pound guard was gonna grab me by my Forever 21 trousers and escort me out the back. Okay, let's backup for a sec, shall we? I've been working for a mobile spa for a few years now. I get called to go to hotels and private homes and bring massage directly to the client. I work on hotshot VIP clients and celebrities. Well, I'd been told about the "celebrities" but in the two years that I've been working for the company, I'd never actually worked on a celebrity. Well, I massaged a fashion designer (who talked about her boob job half the time and farted the other half of the time), but she doesn't count and she can't be put in the same category as the one I was supposed to massage at 4:30pm, so when my boss explained who I'd be massaging this time, I truly did not believe her. I thought she was trying to pull a fast one on ol' Jolley. I was like, "Come ooooooon. Shut up. What????" But it was true. I was gonna massage the most "FP" (famous person) on the planet at the Mandarin Oriental at 4:30pm. I was told the massage could last between one hour and up to five hours depending on the stress level of FP. I was getting paid by the hour, so I didn't complain. I'll massage 'em for TEN hours if they want. Hell. Plus, just being around this person was gonna be so cool that I really didn't even care how much they paid me. I just wanted to meet FP and see them behind the scenes. My appointment wasn't supposed to start until 4:30pm, So before I even made my way to the 35th floor, before getting on or off that elevator, I sloooooooooowly walked around the Time Warner Building trying to kill time and not arrive too early., I didn't wanna seem too eager. So I stopped to browse in Aveda (I graduated from the Aveda Institute and know all their products by heart, so I really didn't need to be there looking confused and pretending to be interested in that shit). I had no shopping purpose, okay? All that was on my mind was massaging the most famous person on the planet and doing a good job.

At 4:25pm I got a call from my boss saying that FP was running late and might want me to massage them at their parent's place ten blocks away. She told me to hang tight and even if I waited there for two hours, I was getting paid starting now (including a tip), so I was cool with waiting.

The boss called again at 4:45pm to say that she would be texting me the address and then I was to jump in a cab (FP's assistant would pay) and head over to FP's parent's place a.s.a.p. It had been raining all day and JUST stopped, so it was impossible to get a cab, so I just walked. Ten minutes later, I was at blah blah blah (not gonna give you the address, Silly) and was more nervous than ever. I was never ever to say the name of the person I was to see. I was to tell the doorman, "I'm here to see "Lauri" in 1A. The guy said I should go right down the stairs and the apartment would be on the right. But before I even had a chance to get to the stairs, I hear a man's voice yelling, "Hello?! Hell-OH?" I said, "Yes. Yes, I'm here. So sorry." This was FP's father. He looked me over and then asked who I was. "I'm the massage therapist," I said. He gave me a nod of approval and told me to step inside and BAM without a warning or a ta-dah or pause FP was right there five feet from me chilling on the couch with their feet up on the coffee table texting on their Blackberry. I was so startled and unprepared that I just said "hey" like they were nobody important. In my attempt at not making a big deal out of the situation and to maintain some sanity, I got into the yeah-whatever-mode...which I thought would be wise at first, but I think it just made me seem bitchy and I quickly wanted to switch gears, but this person would just need to ask me a question and then I could reveal how nice and kind I am. I was told to never engage this person in conversation, so I just had to wait to be asked a question and told what to do and where to go and it was awkward. I was just standing there. Complete silence. Thank God two small dogs came running into the living room, they gave me a place to focus my eyes. I could not look at FP too long (more than a second), it was SO weird. I felt like I was in a dream. Finally, I introduced myself and FP scrutinized my face. Like seriously studied it. Like they had 15 seconds to take in as much of my face as they could 'cause then they were gonna have to sketch me. And then I thought maybe I didn't fit the part. Maybe FP wanted someone a little more plain- looking and the tiny bit of lipstick I had on (and no other instructed) was throwing off their idea of what a massage therapist should look like. The dad went upstairs to prepare the bed (I usually massage clients on massage tables, but FP likes to get massaged in bed...which makes things a lot more difficult for me...screws up my body's just awkward) and I was forced to stay downstairs with FP now sitting one foot from me silently texting. I did NOT know what to do with myself. I was praying that they would ask me something, so I could speak! But nothing. FINE-ally the dad called me up to the second floor to get the bed massage-ready. All I really needed to do was get a pillow and towel set-up under the sheet. Before I went up the stairs FP said, "I'll be on the left-side of the bed." I think I said, "Oh, no problem" or "Sounds good" or something like that. When I got to the bedroom and saw the king-sized bed, I had the biggest and longest brain fart ever trying to figure out which side of the bed was considered "left." My thought process was something like, "Does she mean when you're IN the bed. THAT would be the left. But if you're just looking at it head-on, the left is on the opposite side." I kid you not I was having a moment. That's how nervous I was. There were pictures all around of FP with different color hair with their family, with their sister on a skiing trip, with some random woman in a backyard, etc. It. Was. Weird. I finally realized which side was "left" and set-up the bed. I purchased some aromatherapy oils and special lotion for the occasion and set that up next to the bed. And then I was ready and I waited. And all I could hear was FP talking to their dad about some woman that they'd met and really liked because they felt so comfortable around. I listened to their conversation for over 15 minutes because it was as loud as can be and there was nothing else I could do but listen. There was nowhere to go and I didn't wanna put on my headphones and then miss FP asking me a question or something. So I stood in FP's parent's bedroom and listened to them (FP and their dad) discuss their life...uncensored. FP never whispered so I can't feel too bad about hearing everything. Finally the assistant came upstairs and laid out FP's dinner on the nightstand: two Tupperware containers of steamed veggies and one generic plastic box containing California Rolls. FP silently appeared dressed like they were ready for a slumber party (long t-shirt, no pants, hair kinda messy, etc). I showed them how I set-up the bed and they said, "No. I'm just gonna sit-up in bed and eat and watch TV and I want you to rub my feet and legs." I was so turned around and not prepared for FP to say that at all. I would have MUCH preferred they say, "I wanna be rubbed all over (well not ALL over). But this is what they wanted, so I had to do it. They jumped in the bed with the enthusiasm of a five-year-old getting ready to be read a bedtime story from mom, put on the TV, opened up their containers of food and began to eat and channel surf. They put a huge comforter over their entire body (including their feet and legs), so I had to lift up the comforter and go searching for their feet. FP is quite small, so it was an awkward minute sticking my hands underneath their comforter with a roaming hand. I finally found their feet and pulled back the blanket enough to reveal the ankles, rubbed some lotion in my hands and began to massage their tootsies. The bed was quite low, so I was completely hunched over to make it work. FP just kept changing channels every minute. They stopped on Jersey Shore for a bit and got excited we were gonna watch that show together! THAT would've been something, but then they changed it. They stopped on the Food Network for a few minutes and then changed it, But then FP found a show on A&E called Intervention and stuck on that show 'til the end. I'd never heard of this show before and I definitely would not choose to watch it on my own ever. It was extremely depressing and graphic and really fucking sad, so I just kind of tuned it out and looked at the bigger picture and just saw myself in this scene and could not stop smiling. I just kept reminding myself that this was really happening. I am really here. I'm rubbing FP's feet while they watch TV and eat in their parent's bed.  Twenty minutes into the massage, FP turned out the lights and the room was just illuminated by the television. FP chnaged positions a couple of times. Then one of the small dogs came on the bed and licked my hand while I worked (it was just getting weirder and weirder) and I kinda laughed and then FP laughed and talked to the dog and said, "You missed me, huh? Look at him enjoying Intervention." I laughed again. Like a loud laugh. This was all too comical not to laugh. Thirty minutes later, FP was asleep. I kept rubbing, though, just in case they weren't fully asleep or maybe that's their thing to get massaged in their sleep. Who knows! So I kept going. Eventually the dad came upstairs, turned off the TV (laughed at how FP was able to sleep with the TV so loud), and told me it was okay to go. So I quietly gathered my things and made my way downstairs. I looked over the room one last time to make sure I didn't forget anything and realized that FP was laying on my towel. I didn't wanna wake them up, so I left it. When I went downstairs I told the dad that my towel was there and he said he'd have the assistant leave it at the Madarin for me the next day. I asked to use the bathroom and wash my hands before I headed out and FP's dad said it was cool. I was in a such a daze by this point. I don't even know if I used soap. I might've washed my hands with Listerine for all I know. I thanked him and said goodbye.

When I walked out of the apartment into the lobby I wondered if even the doorman knew who lived there or if FP comes in with a bag over their head to protect their privacy. I stepped out into the rain without an umbrella and walked to the train and made my way home. I kept saying to myself, "If people on this train knew who I just massaged and spent time with, they would not believe it. They would get so excited and happy." But I have to keep this one to myself. It's my little secret.

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