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I’ve decided that I am never again going to have a masseuse come over from Craigslist. It’s just not worth it.
A few weeks ago I was at a conference in Chicago. I was staying at a so-so hotel without a spa near the airport. I called the front desk to see if they had anyone they could recommend for a massage and the receptionist recommended that I find someone on Craigslist. Since I am in the career business, the only part of Craigslist I have ever spent any time on has been the job listings; however, Craigslist has a lot more than jobs listed. As I quickly realized, you can find just about anything there.
I found a masseuse that seemed really good: She had a bunch of statements on her description about how she worked near the airport, and that there was no sex whatsoever associated with her services. After looking at the first few massage listings of other people I realized why she felt the need to have such an explicit sort of “NO SEX!” advertisement: Many of the pictures in the other ads were borderline pornographic, and it was clear that much more than massage would be occurring if you called certain people. In fact, it seemed like many of the people were not actually offering a massage at all.
When the woman arrived for the massage, I saw that she was a very serious seeming, petite German woman who was ready for business. She brought sheets that appeared to have creases ironed in them. Everything seemed very much in order. Within a few minutes she set up a massage table and started giving me a massage. It was one of the greatest massages I had ever had in my life. In about 10 minutes I had completely dozed off. When she woke me up I could not believe I had slept through the whole massage.
“How long was I sleeping?” I asked her.
“Two hours,” she said.
I was astonished that I had slept for so long. Shortly thereafter, the masseuse had packed up and was ready to go. She told me the cost of a two-hour massage. I paid her and tipped her for having done such an excellent job, and she was gone.
To get all the oil off my body I took a shower. When I came out of the shower I glanced at the clock on the nightstand and realized that only around 50 minutes had gone by since the woman had shown up. It was only 8:50 and she had arrived at 8:00. So, I had paid for a two hour massage that had only been around 40 minutes. I could not believe I had been scammed by a masseuse. By the time I realized this, the woman was long gone.
That was my first experience with getting a massage on Craigslist. I had my second experience a couple of nights ago.
I have always enjoyed getting a massage now and then. For about five years I lived directly across the street from a Ritz-Carlton resort. Every few weeks I would walk over there and get a massage. Around three years ago, I moved away from that neighborhood, and I now live far from any hotels or spas. Unfortunately, the only place I have found nearby is run by a man in an office complex, who does something called “Rolfing.” Rolfing is not like typical massage and is instead a very painful sort of muscular manipulation meant to make you stand up straighter and improve your posture. It hurts while the entire process is occurring, but after the two-hour session, you feel pretty good. The practice is more of a medical/chiropractic sort of thing than a massage, but the end results are excellent. I have noticed myself thinking clearly and feeling much more relaxed after these sessions. It is much more effective than any other sort of massage I have ever had.
Rolfing is meant to be a series of sequential sessions. For example, the first session concentrates on opening your chest, the next session focuses on your legs, and so forth. Following several sessions, you are supposed to feel a major change in your relationship with your body. Rolfers have to go to school to learn how to do it properly, and I believe one of the only schools for the discipline is in Colorado. Because of the duration of the schooling and other factors, there are simply not many people out there who do Rolfing.
The man who does Rolfing near my house eventually made it big with investments. One of the last times I visited him, he was talking about a mine he had invested in. Also, from what I understand, he is pals with all sorts of celebrities, whom he has “Rolfed” in our community. He apparently pals around with these people, flying around to all sorts of places in his spare time. He does not seem that committed to his work anymore. A couple of years ago, he gave me a few Rolfing sessions then got injured and stopped working for a year. I remembered a few months ago that I had never paid him for his last session, which was a year ago (he only takes cash) and one day when I was near his office, I saw someone inside working. I stopped by and paid for the last session I had had, because I happened to have the money on me. The woman working in the reception told me that the owner had not worked in over a year, but that he “might” be willing to take on a few new select patients. He called me a week or so later and I started going to see him again.
A month or so ago, he completely fell off the face of the earth–again. I have no idea what happened.
Because I am eager to complete all of the Rolfing sessions, I asked my assistant to start researching to see if it would be possible for any qualified person to come by my house to do some Rolfing. Realizing from my experience in Chicago that there are “massage-type” people on Craigslist, we decided to look there. The only person we found was on Craigslist, and she had a listing of at least 25 different types of massage that she offered, in addition to Rolfing.
“Are you sure she does Rolfing?” I asked my assistant as I looked at the list of all the types of massages the person supposedly knew.
“Yes, it says right here on her Craigslist advertisement that she is certified in Rolfing,” she told me. Sure enough, it did.
A few nights ago, the woman showed up at my house to perform a Rolfing session. She was in her early to mid-50s, I would guess, and quite normal looking. There was not anything unusual about her, as far as I could tell. She took a massage table and set up in a spare room in our house. I got undressed, put a towel around my waist, and walked into the room a few minutes later. My wife was putting my daughter to bed in the next room.
“Okay, make sure all of your clothes are off and lie on your back face up. I am not going to put a towel over you, if that is all right, because I want to have access to your entire body.”
The idea of lying on the table without wearing any clothes whatsoever, face up, was a bit more than I could handle. I had never seen this woman before in my life. When I had had Rolfing done in the past, I had always been in my underwear, so I did not understand why I was expected to be nude for this.
“I am not sure I am comfortable with this,” I told her. She then said something that convinced me permanently to never ever call a masseuse from Craigslist again:
“Don’t worry,” she said. “I am not going to do any ‘tantric release’ this session. While I do not need to, I generally like to sit down and discuss tantric release with my clients’ wives before doing this. People have strange feelings about sexual matters and I find this is best.”
I was in a bit of a state of shock, and I decided to push a little further.
“What is ‘tantric release’?” I asked her.
“Genital manipulation,” she said.
“Oh, of course. How silly of me,” I said.
As she had correctly guessed, this was not something I wanted to experience. I told the woman I was going to go change and would be back in a minute or so. I put on a pair of running shorts and tied them very, very tightly around my waist.
Once the “massage” started, I realized that the woman knew very little, if anything, about Rolfing. In fact, I could tell she knew very little about massage.
She told me that she preferred to use water instead of massage oil, and started massaging me with water. I have a lot of hair on my body, and she kept pulling all the hair on my back. The entire process was excruciating. It was even worse because she was talking the entire time about her past lives and a bunch of other nonsense. She said something about being on a raw meat diet that was so effective it had made a bunch of warts fall off of her back. The whole experience was completely bizarre.
Because the massage was so painful, at some point I had to ask her to stop and get some oil or something.
“She was probably using water because she is too cheap to buy massage oil,” my wife said later.
The woman did not seem happy about this, but she told me she would use olive oil instead of water. She started massaging me with olive oil and my eyes started to water. It smelled like garlic. I told her it smelled awful.
“It’s garlic olive oil. It’s all I have,” she told me.
I could not believe I was being massaged with garlic olive oil. I smelled like a bowl of spaghetti. Several days later the room still smells like a bowl of spaghetti. My shower still smells like a bowl of spaghetti, and so do I. In fact, I cannot get the smell of garlic off my body. She even used the oil in my hair to give me a scalp massage. Wherever I am I can smell that garlic. For example, I was sitting there watching television last night, and suddenly got a whiff of the smell.
I hate the smell of garlic; just thinking about it gives me a headache. It has been days since the garlic massage, and even as I write this, my eyes are watering. The only way to keep my eyes from watering is to be on the move.
“She probably purchased the garlic olive oil because it was on sale,” my wife told me later.
My experience with looking for a massage on Craigslist is no different from someone looking for a job on any sort of Internet job board, who is looking for the best thing he or she can possibly find. When I saw the ad for a masseuse on Craigslist in Chicago, I did not have many options: I picked the person who was not showing me pictures of her private parts in her advertisement, and who declared that nothing unexpected–or illegal–would happen during the massage. However, the fact that the massage therapist in Chicago was advertising in the same area as hookers should have been a warning sign to me. The next time I used Craigslist, I simply looked under the keyword “Rolfing,” which was not the most intelligent way to conduct my search. The fact that 20 different types of massage were listed in the chosen masseuse’s ad should have been a warning sign.
You need to do your homework and always know what you are getting into. In the case of the Rolfing practitioner, I could have called the people who give certifications for Rolfing, and I probably could have found someone good. In the case of the hotel in Chicago, I could have simply found another hotel down the street, one with a decent spa. You need to use logic and make sure that you always understand that what you are doing is the correct thing to do.
Many people look for jobs the way I looked for a massage. They do not think through what they are getting into, and they wind up in jobs that do not match their interests or deliver on their expectations. You need to research and understand the people you are interviewing with and whom you are going to be working with. Even if you are desperate for work, you need to make sure you fully understand what you are getting into before you take the job.
Do your homework, and always know beforehand what you are getting into. Think logically, and always make sure that you are correct in what you are doing. When people approach their job search without a clear understanding of what they are getting into, they often find themselves in jobs that neither match their interests nor live up to their expectations. Even if you are desperate for work, you must do your research and fully understand the situation before taking a given job.
Tagged: career advice, career advice | a harrison barnes, craigslist massages, how to find a job, internet job board, job listings, job market, job search guru, job seeker, legal recruiter, looking for jobs, new job opportunities