Tom, I’ve decided, is the only man I need in my life (outside of my father, nephews, and employers—all for whom I’m financially bound one way or another). And One Direction (1D!)…But I only need them for that one song (That’s What Makes You Beautiful is the clutch).
We met through a mutual friend, who thought to connect us after I’d just survived yet another traumatic experience with yet another asshole who used my poor vulnerable spirit as a hackey sack. “He’s amazing,” she insisted. “Trust me.” Well, what do I have to lose?
Forty bucks with the possibility of being trafficked into a lifetime of happy-ending servitude, I feared.
Tom is a 70-something-year-old tiny Chinese man who—shittest thou not—is half my size. Next to him, I feel like some massive mythical beast (with some ethnic semblances, but not much else). This man is going to massage me? He’s going to break his poor arthritic thumbs on my wolverine dorsal hide! But I’m a Broke Bitch, and for $40 his chiropractic probz ain’t my bi’ness. Yes, I do realize I’m going to hell.
I stripped down to my skivvies in an effective hospital bed, separated from other such makeshift massage tables by pink shower curtains lined along a dimly lit corridor. He got to work. A Chinatown massage, lemme tell ya, is not like a Swedish massage at Burke Williams. Tom set the egg timer and basically pinched my fat for 60 minutes. At one point, he mounted me—though I didn’t realize at the time because he weighs about as much as my 8-month-old niece—and ground his bony twiglet elbow into my fucking spinal cord. I have a lot of tension, and I carry most of my stress on my back like a spider monkey; hence why my friend recommended I meet Tom. I also, consequently, happen to have bungee-like reflexes to discomfort, so by the time Dear Tom got to the small of my back, I flinched, and he nearly flew off me like a rag doll at a rodeo (can’t handle, mang). Probably why the massage ended with him literally punching my ham hocks (my sister has called them my “island legs” since I was 14), probably out of protest. Poor guy. Can’t blame him.
So, I’ve resolved to see him once a month, and no one else. No more meeting people on Hinge, or at a bar, or at work. No more trying to rekindle flames from faraway places. And no more playful Instagram flirtation with Swedish male models who may or may not be gay and are in any case stratospherically out of my league (true story). No more putting up with anyone’s abuse but that administered by Tom’s little lemur fingers.
Dating is expensive. Because I’m a feminist and I believe in gender parity, I’ve been paying for my own drinks and dinners (so that I owe no man), which is honorable, but I’m honestly too poor for that shit. Chivalry might be dead, but that won’t stop me from poking at loose dirt trying to find where best to dig it back up from its grave.
“You know what your problem is? You keep looking to recreate what we have…with a dude.”—Little Loca, BFF.
Indeed, if my best girlfriends were ever men, and if I were ever to date them…I would probably still be exactly where I am now. A magnet for crazy. #perspective #buhlessed
After my massage, which left me sensationally broken, I FaceTimed my family in California to see my niece. On the corner of Broome and Mott, I stood making funny faces into my phone, meanwhile surging the area and making eyes at attractive passersby, winking so often that I’m sure I looked like I was blinking Morse code. I need to work on my smolder.
“Dude, you’re lucky he didn’t charge you for two people,” my sister says. Bish.
Plan remains to find a nice man to bank roll my lifestyle. There’s gotta be one! Just one!