My date with Lupita, the beachfront masseuse

Six months ago I was diagnosed with crepitus, an annoying but hardly fatal ailment. Perhaps because of arthritis, the vertebrae in my neck crick and crack, and as a result, muscles on the right side get sore.  This should not be confused with decrepitus, at my age a far more widespread and insidious problem, particularly when I slither out of bed in the morning.

With crepitus in mind, I occurred to me it might be helpful to get a massage at Lupita’s Swedish massage and reflexology studio, down the beach from us, on the way to a palapa joint where Stew and I planned to have lunch.

Get your crepitus, or whatever, fixed here.

Lupita’s facility isn’t a studio, spa or anything as luxe. It’s a fifteen-foot-square hut, sided with planks of coconut tree wood, roofed with palm tree fronds and leaning slightly against the  side concrete wall of the hotel next door, as if for support. Inside it’s divided in half by blue bed sheets draped over ropes. Set back 25 feet back from the beach, you’d miss if it wasn’t by a sandwich-board sign planted in front.
As I approached, Lupita leaned somewhat seductively by the door. And seductive she was: Bronze-skinned, about 30 years old, wearing an extra-brief pair of hot pants and a string tank top that barely contained her considerable upper endowment. She wore bright-pink lipstick and eye makeup; her hair, reaching down her back, was neatly braided into cornrows. Her dark eyes were small but struck me as purposeful and intense as she looked at me.

Still thinking crepitus, I laid face down on the massage bed and mumbled about the pain in my neck. Lupita told me to lie face up instead and started squirting baby oil on my right foot, which she spread over my upper leg and then some. Gradually she reached under my Bermuda shorts, and no doubt discovered I wasn’t wearing any underwear. As her rubbing was about to become, hmm, really intimate, I squirmed a bit, which she must have interpreted a signal to direct her enhanced massage to my left leg.

She began a similar treatment on my left leg, while gently rubbing her thigh against my hand, which was resting on the massage table. I discreetly moved my hand away.
No, I’m not that clueless. By now I’d realized the massage was not the kind of therapy I’d been looking for, and that Lupita’s technique was about as as Swedish as plate of fish tacos.

So she moved to the head of the massage table, smeared baby oil on my chest and stomach. Her breasts rubbing against my forehead, her ministrations went down past my chest into my navel, which she rubbed with her index finger, and a bit beyond. I blinked and found Lupita’s eyes nailed onto mine, as if waiting for any reaction from me. Anything?

My reaction was embarrassment, for the both of us. Compared to many or most men, I ‘m not delusional about being a sex magnet; on the contrary, on the self-esteem scale I tend to score on the negative side. I was surprised by her interest in me, feigned and mercenary as it was, and my lack of response. Or my inability to direct her to the affected parts of my body.

I finally muttered something about the neck and right shoulder. She asked me to flip over, applied more baby oil, even to my hair, and desultorily rubbed both of my shoulders and my hair.

With that, it was over. I hurriedly put on my tee-shirt back on, paid her her $350 pesos and joined Stew, who was lying on the beach sunning himself. We then walked along the surf over to our original destination for lunch.

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