I decided this week to treat myself to one of my favorite ways to indulge myself - with a massage. I'm a fan of massages, head rubs or back scratches. Any of my ex-girlfriends can attest to this. I will return the favor, and I think i'm fairly good at it.
I had to decide where in Hoboken to get a massage, and there are many places you can get one. I chose Spa H, formerly known as River Spa (3 months after River Spa opened another spa trademarked the name "River Spa"). I chose the spa for two reasons:
1. It was bright, clean and new. The facility just opened less than a year ago and the design is much like Club H's environment. I have been to some massage parlors in the city that, while cheap, had each "booth" just seperated by a curtain. I wasn't interested in hearing someone next to me get a massage.
2. Club H members get 10% off all services. The massage, normally $90 - was only $81 with the discount. For all the money I pay at Club H - it's nice to get a break for being a member.
I could go into fanciful details about the massage, but it was just as expected. An hour long massage. I chose a Swedish massage, but in retrospect I probably should have gotten a deep tissue massage. I am very tight and sore from working out 4 days a week, plus it really felt great to get my injured leg worked on.
I did talk to my massage therapist and decided to ask her some straightforward questions about her job. I figured that i'd share them with you, so that the rest of Hoboken can learn a thing or two from your friendly neighborhood massage therapists.
1. They are massage therapists, not a masseurs or masseuses. I learned this because I was about to ask Amanda, the massage therapist, her advice on "good" clients and began by saying "As a masseuse...". As soon as I said those three words, I could immediately tell I used the wrong words. We had been chatting amiciably during the massage, and it was a small and slight change in the vibe I got from her that I knew I used the wrong word. I immediately corrected myself and said "Wait - do you guys call yourselves that? What's the proper term". She informed me that a "masseuse" is a bit of a deragatory word which categorizes her profession, but also those that would be found in the back pages of the Village Voice - if you know what I mean. Massage Therapists prefer not to be called a "masseuse". Learn from Furey.
2. Tipping is important. As a bartender, and working as a waiter during my adolescent summers at Ocean City, I learned about how important it was to tip properly. I paid $81 for a massage. If I was at dinner, and had an $81 dollar meal, I would have tipped about $15-20, depending on the service and quality of the meal. The same is true for a massage. If you get a massage, expect to tip in the same range. A $5 tip isn't cutting it, folks.
3. Take your happy endings and shove it. While writing this I was expecting a few snarky emails on Monday asking "Did ya get a happy ending - har har har...". Massage Therapists are performing a job to help you. Guys, no matter how great the massage was, they aren't there for you to hit on them. If you happen to see your massage therapist in a bar, hey, buy 'em a drink - and try to impress them about how much money you make or what kind of car you drive. But at Spa H, or any spa, let the professionals perform their jobs.
4. Hygiene is important. If you just had a big workout - TAKE A SHOWER BEFORE YOU GET A MASSAGE. That means, soap, water and a washcloth. Amanda told me how some people don't exfoliate their skin and during the massage the skin peels off and gets under her nails. How disgusting! It is simply considerate to make sure you don't smell like a New York City cab driver or are sweating like Michael Jackson at a nursery school before you get a massage.
5. Get there early. If you make an appointment for 7pm, try to be there 6:50pm. Massage Therapists are on a schedule. They have clients every hour, so if you are late - that means less blissful massaging for you. Also, that backs up their other appointments if they do give you the full hour. Again, it's another simple way that you, as a client, can be considerate towards the massage therapist, who is trying to give you the very best experience possible.
I thought the massage was good, but at $81, it certainly isn't inexpensive. For the same price, I can get a similar massage in New York City. If you are living in Hoboken, you kind of expect that services around here would be a bit less expensive than the city.
I told Amanda that there were two types of people who lived in Hoboken: Those that love the town or those that can't afford New York. Those that can't afford New York are probably the same people who are poor tippers. They aren't going to shell out $90 for a massage but when they do, they would be the type to skimp on a tip. They are the same people who tip $1 after making them 3 mixed drinks and a Cosmo.
I'm always interested in your comments and emails. If anyone has another spa for me to try - let me know where I should be going for a good massage.