Dr. Dot, a big-deal massage therapist to big-deal rock stars, began my massage by biting me.
At most spas, it would be grounds for dismissal. But that’s how Dr. Dot kicks off most of her otherwise regulation (and generally excellent) deep-tissue treatments.
Almost 30 years ago, the passionate music fan hit upon bodywork as a way to meet rockers without doffing her pants and now markets herself as the “rock ’n’ roll masseuse.” And she’s as colorful as her clients.
Dorothy Stein—dubbed Dr. Dot by Frank Zappa—gave her first backstage massages to Def Leppard when she was 15, traded rubdowns for concert tickets from 1983 to 1994 (and sometimes still does), and saw more than 3,000 shows for free.
The “Bite Method” became part of her persona as the leading light of “backstage massage.” And, if you were wondering, it actually felt kind of nice—a sort of wet pinching sensation along my spine—once I got my head around the boundary issue. She played nice by asking me first and didn’t leave any bite marks.
Eventually Dr. Dot turned legit (Charlie Watts was her first paying client, after he insisted), went to massage school, and got licensed, all while growing her star-studded clientele and assembling a like-minded staff.
Now shuttling between Berlin and Hoboken, Dr. Dot still treats VVIPs in her home, but is really a dispatcher. She no longer sees civilians, so maybe you can hint at being Cindy Lauper or a past winner of American Idol when you call for an appointment?
But she books a worldwide army of more than 600 “Dot Bots.” All “jump through hoops of fire” to audition and deliver a reasonably priced massage ($150) to any NYC location within an hour—no matter what the hour (rates go up to $200 after 10pm and $250 after midnight).
“We’re the pit bulls of massage,” she says of her team’s focus on deep tissue. “Musicians need a strong massage. The rubbie-dub stuff won’t help.”
Still the wild child of massage, Dr. Dot courts controversy. Along with the biting, she’s appeared in photos wearing a sexy nurse’s uniform, and she writes an advice column for a German magazine that’s run in Penthouse Forum. Little wonder she strenuously emphasizes that she’s not in the business of happy endings.
There’s even an anti–Dr. Dot page on Facebook—spurned job applicants and music obsessives who are jealous she touched their idols, she claims—but “you can’t be successful without having haters. People get pissed at what I do, but more people love what I do.” You could say she sinks her teeth into her work. —Ann Abel
To book, call 973-953-5291 or visit www.drdot.com