Massage on the gluteus maximus

by Doris Steimle

This story is part of our 'Funny Spa Stories' series, featuring tales from luxury hotel guests which were sent in for our travel writing competition.

Photo by Adomas.


I was in Europe conducting some business and was offered a massage at an upscale spa affiliated with one of Monaco’s stunning hotels. I read the description of the massage and was fully prepared to "abandon myself to the supreme delight of relaxation". I am a self confessed spa-junkie and just love to relinquish all my cares in the world while immersing myself in a typical spa environment – hushed voices, quiet soothing music, comfy couches, water infused with lemon and cucumbers. Sometimes I actually fool myself into thinking that I can replicate such simple joys in my daily life (honestly, how hard can it be to toss some cucumbers and lemon into water?). But alas, that remains to be an elusive fantasy life. So I do indeed take full advantage of any real spa opportunity.

I was ushered into the massage room and instructed to disrobe, as is the norm – a massage does, after all, involve skin-on-skin contact. However, instead of "slipping" under a sheet which is later customarily "draped" around limbs and such, respecting the privacy and nudity of the said spa customer, there was no sheet! Rather, I found a limp little piece of cloth. Cloth is a generous word for this disposable garment that best resembled a hairnet at a hamburger fast-food place.

OK, when in Monaco, do as the Monegasques do, right? So I unravel this "garment" and realize that it is meant to be worn like undies. I attempt to put it on but can’t figure out which is the front or the back. It should be known, that I do not have a thong type of derriere, nor do I require padded undies to bring shape to my backside. So this skimpy collection of threads did not exactly suit or accentuate my posterior endowment.

Nevertheless, I proceeded to lie on the massage table, pretending that nothing was unusual and I do this all the time. Eventually, the massage therapist comes in with me lying there, cheeks sunny side up. The therapist did not speak English. She said something which I interpreted as a friendly greeting, so I smiled and nodded politely. Well, she must have said, "May I dig my knuckles into your cheeks?" Because that’s precisely what unfolded.

Now I have had massages before, but I have never had someone work on my buttocks, let alone knead them like a loaf of bread. I emerged from this experience a little unnerved, but my gluteus maximus (a.k.a. behind) was remarkably stress and tension free!

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