For a short stint when Juicy couldn’t provide the hours, I considered moving to another shop in the lanes that provided massages and therapies as well as the usual Lainsey, hippy trinkets you’d expect from a new age shop in Brighton.
I only lasted three shifts. The manager was a dopey old crone whose family life seemed to consist of hiding from dodgy looking geezers and fighting loudly with her daughter.
Smoking weed out the back was actively encouraged but then rendered me not much use to the two or three customers that actually wondered into the shop in a day. As you can imagine the clientele were a selection of Brighton stalwarts… the floaty, hippy lady in her early 60’s with a tangle of grey hair loosely pinned up and a walking cane, who’s half hour massage loosened her emotional knots to the extent that it rendered her unable to walk home without disclosing to me every detail of her life thus far, professionally, mentally and, ahem, shall we say physically? Polite nodding, smiling and trying not to appear stoned was about all I could muster as I heard every sordid detail of her affairs and ailments.
A selection of creepy men followed over the next couple of days, who’s eagerness to make sure it was the little blonde masseuse and not the male sports therapist they were seeing was bordering on disturbing. (In previous moments of existential life crisis I’d considered training in massage, but like so many of these vocations, tactile as I am, I’m not sure about sharing my energy with all and sundry… specially when all and sundry are a bit smelly and can barely conceal their leeriness) To be fair, the masseuse took it all on the chin, she was in there twice a week, did her job and moved on, she’d obviously been well trained in not appearing appalled and I’m sure most of her clientele were harmless and benefited greatly from her expertise. However, after some of them left, whether or not she did a little ‘shakey hands- cringe’ jig while shouting ‘blurrrrgggghhhh’ I do not know.
It didn’t take me long to realize this was not the place for me and I called up the owner to politely tell her “thanks for the opportunity but I think I’ll take my 150 quid and quietly make my way”. I was met on the other end of the phone by an alarming torrent of abuse suggesting I’d led her on and that she was aghast at how I could have let her down in such a manner and then point blank refused to pay me. Now for most people, specially a young person in Brighton, that’s a lot of money to let go, so I braved the gauntlet and went to see her face to face. She hid. The woman hid from me, I saw her disappear out the back as she sent her shop assistant (lord help them) to tell me she wasn’t in. I tried to call a few times but she never picked up. I ended up chalking it down to experience, and running back to Juicy with my tail between my legs, but Therepise This certainly left a bad taste in my mouth… and it wasn’t bergamot or patchouli!