Jason Schwartzman on the Worst Massage of His Life

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Jason Schwartzman Marvin Scott Jarrett / Trunk Archive

I was going out with a woman, as I often did, and maybe I seemed stressed out, but she decided to spoil me with a massage at a spa. Massages are things that I wouldn’t ever think to get. I think I’ve only had five in my whole life. I told her, “I don’t want to do this, I feel very uncomfortable, this is not relaxing to me.” She said, “Listen, I love for you to be happy. Whatever happens today, just go with it.”

So I go into the spa, there’s very peaceful music, you see people walk by you in robes, and they look blissed out. I thought, “Oh God, this is just not right.” I meet a woman who works there, and she tells me to put on a robe and to follow her into the massage chamber. I’m so tense during the massage, my knees are sweating. Did you know that kneecaps can sweat? Because I didn’t.

All of a sudden she says, “You’re done!” I’m so happy. It was like a roller coaster—once you’ve done it, you want to do it again. Then she says, “Your girlfriend bought you a whole spa package, and next is a sea-salt scrub.” I make some terrible joke because I was super-cocky and really relaxed: “Well, I hope it’s not too much salt, because I’m on a low-sodium diet.” She ushers me into another room and standing there is a woman who says, “Hi, I’m Magna. Put these on, and I’ll come back in,” and she hands me a weird, very light ball of fabric.

She leaves and I go to put on this underwear, but they’re a G-string, so I figure this can’t be right. I take them off, and rotate them one click to the left. Now they are a G-string that’s not covering much at all. So I get panicked and turn them over, and now it’s a weird bathing suit that’s covering part of my upper thigh. They’re just not working. I go through every possible variation and finally I arrive at the idea that these just are a G-string, at which point, the echo of my girlfriend’s voice comes into my head, saying, “Whatever happens, just go with it.” So I put the blanket over me, and I said, “OK, I’m ready!” in a sing-songy voice. When she’s about to begin coating me, I hear her start shaking with laughter.

She says, “I think you might have these on incorrectly. These aren’t supposed to be a G-string.” It’s very embarrassing, when you’re lying facedown in a massage parlor with a G-string on that’s not really supposed to be one. I try to pretend like I did it on purpose, do a little wiggle with my waist, and say, “I know it’s not a G-string. I just did it for youuuu.” Then I closed my eyes, cursed myself silently, and kept saying to myself it’s OK because I’m never going to see her again.

As I’m finishing the massage, she puts a Sharpie and a piece of paper in front of me, and says, “My daughter is your biggest fan. She has a very big online presence and the whole community is going to be so excited after I tell her that I massaged you today. Can you please sign this?” Of course, this is the last thing I want people to know, but I sign, “Dear Becky, it’s not a G-string. Love, Jason.” And that’s my story for you, for Newsweek, for the world, forever.

To this day, I don’t know how it’s supposed to be worn, I guess I just missed some kind of hole. It still keeps me up at night. And I never saw my girlfriend again. We broke up. I know in the scale of massage stories, this one is on the tamer side, but that’s just how some of us live our lives.

Interview By Kara Cutruzzula

Career Arc

1998

Makes his acting debut in Rushmore, which becomes a cult classic.

2004

Embarrasses himself at a luxury spa in New York.

2007

Releases his first solo album under the name Coconut Records.

2009

Begins playing a private detective on the HBO series Bored to Death.

2012

Reunites with Wes Anderson for his latest film, Moonrise Kingdom.

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