Recently my best friend decided that all these people that fill up my house and my heart were also stressing me the eff out. I don’t know if it was the daily venting sessions, the frequency with which she heard Soul Asylum’s late nineties hit “Runaway Train” playing at my house, or the sporadic requests to enter into a sexless lesbian marriage with me, but something tipped off my very observant bestie. So she got me my first ever massage! Fifty minutes of tension-releasing calm. At least that’s what it is for normal people. What my darling friend forgot in making this grand plan for me is that I am a crazy person who loses control of herself in new situations. In case you haven’t gone to a masseuse yet, here’s a heads up for you, dear reader, so you know what’s coming. You’re welcome.
First off, you have to get naked. Everything EXCEPT your underwear (lesson number one) should come off because when you pay someone you’ve never met before to push lotion into your skin for almost an hour, undressing you is not part of the fee…and neither is seeing your crown jewels (thank goodness!).
Be ready because the table you lie on will be a pleasant level of warm. It might make you giggle like a school girl when you tuck yourself under the covers, so make sure you get the sillies out before the massage therapist comes in the room. Otherwise, you’re going to sound like an idiot if you’re still laughing when she walks in to poke at you.
The room is set up like the cheesiest blind date you’ve ever been on. Candles, scents, and light music set the mood and have undoubtedly been purchased from the final scene of Boyz II Men’s life-changing music video for “I’ll Make Love to You.” Every bit of it is designed to scream “CALM DOWN” so that when the stranger next to you starts touching you, you don’t resist. Only instead of running away like you would on a blind date, you have to actually calm down and let her get to work. Be ready to have your pants charmed off, literally.
There’s also a LOT of pressure during a massage (Yes, the pun is intended. I just can’t turn this wit off, folks!). You have to relax your body, breathe deeply, and let go of all worrisome thoughts. Right. Because it’s that easy. Once I stopped thinking of my lists, errands, chores, and concerns, my mind was a blank slate. But what was I supposed to think about?? What would I choose to ponder over when I could pick ANYTHING in the world? My idea for the greatest book ever written? My dreams for the future? My hopes for the family? PRESSURE! I buckled under the weight of it and decided instead to live in the moment. That saying is pinned all over, so it seemed like the best idea at the time. Wrong! I focused on what this lotion-laden lady was doing to me, and it was probably the worst direction to go in.
A whole body Swedish massage goes from top to bottom. The scalp and temple rub? Pretty spectacular actually. I was settling in nicely. The face massage? Weirdest shit ever. She massaged my FACE. Pushed my cheeks and nose and chin all around. Do it to yourself right now (I’ll wait.). Didn’t that feel weird? Wouldn’t it be so much more awkward if a stranger surprised you by walking over and doing that? Trust me. It would be. You know how it’s kind of cute when kids get all up in your personal space? It’s less so when it’s an adult that you’re not planning on sleeping with. Now, when I am confronted with an uncomfortable situation, I unfortunately start laughing…which requires the use of my face and is frowned upon while getting a massage on your face. So I bit my lip and prayed for her to move along before I ruined the moment. Good start out of the gate!
She then worked on my shoulders, then arms, and then hands. I was into it. I really was! She was winning me back. Before I could let her know of my approval, she did this awesome move where one moment she was holding my arm straight up by my shoulder and the next she had swung her body around such that she was standing down by my hip with my arm laying down. Incredible! I did not know interpretative dance was part of the massage, but it was so very appreciated. I would probably have liked it more if I could have opened my eyes to watch her do it, but can you imagine anything creepier than staring at someone massage you? Didn’t think so. I also wisely skipped the applause that I wanted to give her and instead hunkered down for more.
She continued to move downward and reached my big, ole thighs. She pulled up the sheet to expose all my luxurious leg meat and folded it between my knees to keep it out of the way. The path her hands were taking as she tucked the sheet in made me ready to jump up and ask for dinner (or at least flowers) first, but she pulled back just before reaching the promised land. Thank God! I might have three kids, but that’s doesn’t mean I’m always ready for business, if you know what I mean. Eh. That’s not entirely true…I’m actually kind of easy, hence the three kids. But only the Man gets those Lady parts!
Back to the squishing of my ample body. Luckily, I had shaved my legs but, unluckily, not quite high enough. I tried not to die as her soft hands gently moved over my layer of peach fuzz, but she seemed unfazed. Another point for the masseuse! If only the Man was that forgiving over a little extra hair. Just kidding. Of course he is! If he waited for me to have silky smooth legs before we went horizontal, we’d still be planning for baby number one. Was that an overshare? I can never tell.
So she went to the other side, moved all the way back up, and then had me flip onto my stomach. At this point, I had to put my face in that cutout that massage tables have for when you’re belly down. Yet another weird sensation, to be held up by your face, but I rolled with it. This was my favorite part because she worked on my ever-aching back. She started off gentle and soothing, but then I think she must have remembered an ex-boyfriend because she pushed those knots in my upper-back like they forgot her birthday and anniversary and every date night ever. I clenched and did my best to avoid screaming. That probably wasn’t the reaction she wanted, but I tried not to say anything negative because I didn’t want to hurt her feelings…at first. Soon, I wanted to hurt her feelings and every other part of her because that was obviously what she wanted to do to me. I was about to roll up my sleeves to sucker punch her in the gut (metaphorically, of course, because I was naked you remember), when she graciously stopped on her own. Lucky for her.
Then, I died. Well, I thought I did at the time. Without warning or provocation, she took a warm, moist towel and laid it on my back. I have learned that “warm” in massage language means “hotter than the seventh layer of hell.” I wasn’t sure if she wanted to make me surprise pee, beg for mercy, or have my life flash before my eyes, but one of the three definitely happened. A Lady never tells. She removed the towel, replaced the sheet, and told me to take my time in getting up…although then I was taking my time in planning my attack on this oily-handed beast woman.
But by the time I was up, dressed, and had opened the door, all the pain had melted away. She handed me a glass of water (I assume as an olive branch), and as I sipped it, I realized that for the first time in perhaps my whole life, I had no back pain at all. The she-devil had destroyed it with her tortuous and wildly intimate ways. I couldn’t believe it. I choked out a word of thanks and stumbled out the door, unsure if I liked or didn’t like what just happened to me. It’s amazing what people will pay for…Applebee’s, tandem bikes, salsa lessons, bruschetta. We can add massage to the list. But because of how incredible my back felt afterward, I’d do it again. Although, next time, I might just come in tipsy or with a weapon. Guess it all depends on how tense I am that day.