happy ending

In ALL, LIFE OBSERVATIONS by Stephanie Klein17 Comments

I just had a physical fight in a Korean nail salon. It’s a hot humid Wednesday, and it just so happens on Wednesdays they’ve got manicure pedicure specials near my office on Madison Avenue. They even throw in a 15-minute massage, all for $30.00. Not bad. So, my toes are Fiji, and my nails are filed round and coated Limo-Scene. Just darling with my adorable new silky lace tank top. Then I shuffle in their too-big flip-flops to the massage chair. James, the man who greets everyone at the door and instructs, “Pick culla,” Vanna Whites me to the massage chair. The chair is not in a private room; it’s beside the drying tables in a loud crowded area, so it might be a little hard to relax. For $30.00 it will do. I spread my legs and hunch into the chair, nuzzling my face into a leathery catcher’s mitt cradle apparatus, careful in my movements so as not to nick the polish.

I imagine James turns a timer for my 15-minute slot with him. It’s hard to completely relax when your masseuse punctuates his moments with you with “Bubye, come again. Bubye now.” And the occasional Korean bark. But I try. I try to clear my mind and stay in the present, reminding myself to drop my shoulders and relax my neck. He spends some time on my neck, pushing in knots and points with his fingers, hard. When massages are too hard, I sometimes try to will the clock forward and pray for the ding. But this is perfect. It feels like relief, and I imagine having a lover. It’s been too long since someone has touched me like this, so selflessly. Massages are intimate, especially near the wrists. I wish he’d spend more time on my neck and the base of my scalp. Instead, he spends a lot of time fannying about near my breasts. But it’s a massage, so you’re not quite sure he’s crossing the line. I mean, maybe he thinks your pectoral muscles are sore from all that lifting you do. Clearly James doesn’t know me very well. But as he’s massaging my neck with the palms of his hands, his fingers continue creeping lower and lower. It was like he was digging in a desk drawer for my pink erasers. He wouldn’t be satisfied until he found at least one.

Then he moves toward the outside, rolling my shoulders. It becomes a silent war. He pushes my shoulders back, to prop my chest up off the chair, so his hands can swing around to the front. “Okay, yes, bubye.” He says in a smile and nod to the regulars as they leave. He can’t get quite what he’s after because I won’t budge. I’m stiff full of stubborn, and there’s no way this man is getting in there. I know, you think I might be imaging things. I think so too, so I remind myself to exhale. Then, I swear to god, I hear his zipper. My eyes blink open, but his pants are zipped closed. Okay, sweetheart, breathe. And just as I begin to, his hands navigate toward my waistline, grabbing around it, hard. My eyes open again. It’s like I’m being taken from behind during good, dirty spank me seex. But then his hands zoom up and reach into my corner pockets. He begins to massage my sweaty armpits. I’m hoping I don’t smell all over his hands. I’m hoping he’ll just stick to my neck again. Instead he begins to spend all too much time trying to massage the sides of my breasts, trying to dig his fingernails under my weight. I’m telling you, it’s war. My body leans and pushes into the chair in protest. It’s my armor. I know I should tell him to just focus on my neck, but it seems impolite, like telling an ugly boy who keeps calling you that you just want to be friends before he’s really let on that he’s interested in more than friendship. I mean, maybe it’s all in my head, and then I just seem rude. Isn’t my time up yet?

Then he massages my palms, in a deep, I’m really trying to fcuk you way. Almost how a guy tries to show you how he’ll go down on you through a kiss. It’s their little preview. He then whispers to me, “Good massage no? Ha ha.” He actually says Ha. Ha. He doesn’t laugh. Then it happens. He stands behind me and rubs his hard penis against my back. I’m not confused; his pants don’t have pockets. He has wood. I want to leave. I blurt, “Has it been 15 minutes?”
“Oh, no it’s been haf owa. Fo you, special massage. Not so busy today. Good time now.”
Then he pulls my shoulders off the chair and massages my temples and taps on my chin, then cheekbones, giving me a facial without the cream or the extractions. Then his hand begins to open my lips. I know my saliva is on his hand, and I try to tighten my lips closed, but I can’t quite do it. Then he leans in again and pushes the weight of himself against me. And it becomes clear that I just had a happy ending massage, except my masseuse was the one with the happy ending.


  1. I just bought a 9mm carbine today, maybe you should have bought yours yesterday.

  2. what's on your mind dear stephanie,
    dident you read the signs…..you should have bubye'd him from the off.
    sometimes an accidental swing with the elbow to the crown jewels will cool the ardour of a rampant tribe of tasmanian devils.
    remember ,forewarned doesent have to be forearmed.
    still you make me smile

  3. oh my god- that is absolutely mortifying.
    I'm typically not one for confrontation- but that guy needed a smack down. dirty perv.

    tell me you don't go there anymore- $30 deal be damned.

  4. I can't believe I'm reading this. But really are single womans that easy?

    btw i came through NY Times link and been reading for couple hours, i must be too bored.

  5. c'mon, do you expect us to believe this bs? since when are you the victim or do you enjoy being sexually harrassed?

  6. margot, are YOU kidding me with YOUR BS? i'm a strong, independent/dependent, successful, relatively attractive 32-year-old. and i happen to be single. i felt every word of this essay, cringing as i read it, because i've been in a similar situation. (ps — i'm also a nice jewish girl who was raised to be polite.) it would be nice to think stephanie could have stood her ground, and if i'd never experienced something like this, i might be thinking the same thing. but when you're in the moment, you don't know what to do. you freeze up, you pray for it to end, you're mortified that it's happening in the first place, and you know that if you say or do something, it would mean actually acknowledging that it's happening. i think the only reason you can't believe what you're reading is because you can't relate. that's not stephanie's fault. so bugger off with your judgment and your accusatory questions. they serve no purpose here.

  7. Not to be naive or anything, but I'm wondering how you knew for sure that it was indeed, a "happy ending"—-or was he just 'up'? You mean he had thee-finale? EEEEK! I hope he mopped up for the next customer.

  8. Not to be naive or anything, but I'm wondering how you knew for sure that it was indeed, a "happy ending"—-or was he just 'up'? You mean he had thee-finale? EEEEK! I hope he mopped up for the next customer.

  9. Honey, put your B.S away, wouldn't you? There will be few more rap cases nationwide after this article,especially NY city.

  10. Amazing what a google search for "happy ending story" will net ya. A massage should be relaxing, not a wrestling match. Even as an "amateur" masseur, I know where the lines are with respect to touching.

    Thanks for the site…very interesting reading.

  11. Stephanie, if your ever in the Boston area Newton to be exact and you want another happy ending massage look me up! N/C!(NO CHARGE)

  12. Was this on Madison at 43rd or 44th? I've seen someone exactly like this! I finally had smack his hands away from creeping down the front of my chest. And he'd ALWAYS tell me I was getting the special deal of half hour for the price of the fifteen minutes I asked for. I hate that guy.

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