by Marinka on March 27, 2014

Last month I was spending time with some beloved friends. I think it was book group, but it may have been wine tasting night, who the hell can remember and/or tell the difference. At any rate, we were sitting around and one of the dear friends was blathering on about something or other. It wasn’t about me, so I was quietly dying of boredom, filling out my toe tag, initialing the DNR form, that kind of thing.

I was just about to flat-line, when another friend, also dear and beloved, said, “oh, I love the massage place that’s upstairs from the bagel place.”

I stopped macrameing the noose.

“Massage?” My ears perked up.

I really like massages and when someone has a place to recommend, I take note.

“Yes,” the friend said. “Right above the bagel place.”

I knew where she meant, I’ve seen it a kazillion times during my bagel pilgrimages, and it never once occurred to me to visit.

Because in my universe, all establishments that are upstairs are either Mafia storefronts or whorehouses, possibly both.

I have no idea why I think this, although I haven’t eliminated moronism as a possibility.

“Isn’t that a brothel?” I asked innocently.

“No,” my friend said. “They do regular massages.” And then she gave me a half-sneer, which is not something that I appreciate from my dearly beloved friends.

“Then why is it on the second floor?” I asked. Apparently none of my friends have heard of this Second Floor Brothel And/Or Mafia theory, so they did not know how to respond.

“Because that’s where they rented space,” one of them answered, as though we were discussing real estate.

I wasn’t sure. On the one hand, I wanted to try the massage. The price was reasonable and it was close to bagels. On the other hand, I didn’t want to start dating my masseuse, if you know what I’m getting at. On the third hand, my hips were really tight and I needed to get a massage.

I was tense going in. I don’t know, I think it was from all the tension. I was worried that my friends were getting happy endinged in that place, after being slipped some sort of a mickey situation, and just didn’t know it. Obviously that was working out for them just fine, but I wasn’t interested.

“I’m here for a massage,” I announced when I walked in. “A regular massage,” I added meaningfully.

“Ok,” the lady said and then asked for how long. I was nervous that if I picked the wrong time, it would signify something inappropriate, so I sought guidance.

“What is the regular time for people who want a normal massage without any shenanigans?” I asked, maintaining eye contact. Eye contact that went far towards conveying that I wasn’t there for any shenanigans and that I had a possible personality disorder.

The good news is that the massage was great and didn’t have any surprises. I have to give it to the Mafia– they really know what they’re doing!

One year ago ...

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Leighann March 27, 2014 at 10:19 am

Sounds like you found the right place… near bagels, top floor, and inexpensive with no happy endings.


Laurie March 27, 2014 at 11:48 am

I didn’t realize that I thought second floor establishments were sketchy too until just now.

I’m still dubious but the bagels could change my mind.


Barbara Sigelbaum
March 27, 2014 at 4:01 pm

My dear friend fractured her hip while dancing during her book club meeting. Wine was definitely involved.


Tinne from Tantrums and Tomatoes March 27, 2014 at 4:10 pm

I once chickened out of a job interview because the offices where on the second floor, right above a bar. Now I feel guilty for not giving them the benefit of doubt…


Susan Weinstein March 27, 2014 at 4:14 pm

There are of course a spate of films set in 1950’s Hollywood that have glamourous actresses in towels on massage tables with very cute boy-toy masseuses. But then it was about after tennis (wink nod) sports therapy.


awesome dude March 27, 2014 at 4:29 pm

If you are looking for the whore house on the first floor, it is in China Town.


Charlotte March 27, 2014 at 5:29 pm

I’ve always thought that too!! Especially if they also offer fortune-telling.


One Funny Motha March 28, 2014 at 10:37 am

Nice. If things are on the second floor, they don’t exist to me. Who has time to look up. Glad you found a place w/ no shenanigans. That’s important.


Nancy Davis Kho
March 28, 2014 at 11:58 am

The real happy ending in this joint is the warm sesame bagel with schmear that you get on the way home.


Suzy Soro (@HotComesToDie)
March 28, 2014 at 4:39 pm

“Filling out my toe tag” is yet one more thing I’m definitely going to steal from you and pretend it was “great minds think alike” when it turns up in one of my books that I’m way behind on finishing.


anna whiston-donaldson March 28, 2014 at 7:24 pm

still sounds a wee bit sketchy to me.


anymommy March 28, 2014 at 9:35 pm

I think it’s an excellent theory overall. Also, the price was reasonable and it was close to bagels is my new favorite measure of a business.


Mama bird diaries
March 28, 2014 at 11:18 pm

I don’t like massages. Or cats. How are we friends?! I love everything else about you though.


dusty earth mother March 29, 2014 at 8:36 pm

You think your massage place sounded sketchy? I recently got something called a “wet massage” at a Korean spa. Yeah, I know.


March 30, 2014 at 9:18 am

This killed me, in a good way. I actually wish there WAS shenanigans because I would love to hear how that went down!


julie gardner April 3, 2014 at 4:02 pm

Your second-floor philosophy applies to my house, too.

Bagels downstairs. “Expectations” upstairs.

It’s a wonder I ever leave the kitchen.


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