Here’s the thing about massages—they feel so good, yet they’re a complete and total mindfuck for me. A spa is like one, big aphrodisiac. It’s as if they’re sliding a tray of oysters down your throat the moment you walk in the door. You hear the new age music with the sitar solos humming softly in the background. The smell of sandalwood and eucalyptus oils wafts right up into your nostrils. The woman behind the desk speaks your name so softly that you almost need to read her lips as she confirms your full-body, deep-tissue something or other. Instinctively you answer in that indoor voice you always told your kids to use at a restaurant to sidestep telling them to “Shut the fuck up.” You’re directed down a hallway with dim lighting and a minefield of closed doors. You put on a warm, clean-smelling robe and the kind of white, terry slippers that you untuck from each other. You start to hear birds chirping softly over the sound of a harp. I’m already limp from the most tender sensory overload I’ll ever experience. I am 100 percent being seduced by Thai women in silk robes and the sound of babbling brooks, and let me tell you, I am fully surrendering to it.
During the first ten minutes of this complete stranger touching parts of me I don’t even let Ray go near, I am on a vacation, away from all things that bother me in my suburban life. During the next ten, I’m falling in and out of a light sleep. But, then she needs me to do a position change, and that’s when the shit goes down. The thoughts start…”Please don’t let this be the last time she’s ‘gonna touch my left shoulder!” “Shit, that’s it? I wanted her to do my feet longer.” “Why didn’t she use the same amount of pressure on my right calf as she did on my left?” I then start to focus on how my tits are mashed underneath me when I’m on my stomach. I wish it was like the beach, where I could dig boob holes in the sand. I begin to cringe when she grabs my danger zones—the love handles, the back fat, the inner thighs. I swear I can hear an alarm sound when she takes hold of these double-black-diamond areas. I know she’s touched people who are much fatter, much hairier and have really gross things growing from their bodies. That’s not comforting to me, though. I don’t care about other people; I’m much too selfish when I’m on that table.
Maybe if I were one of those massage people (MPs), it’d be different. I have friends who I consider massage sluts. “Just touch me anywhere. I love it,” the biggest massage whore has told me. She doesn’t care if she’s full-on naked, spread-eagle on that table. Yet, in real life, she slanders herself for being fat and gross. I just don’t get it. Then there are the MPs who have standing in-home appointments. Their masseuses lug in a table every week and know to set it up in the back corner of the living room. They also know exactly how hard to press and which areas are the G spots. If I were an MP, then I probably wouldn’t have these racing thoughts. I know I’d have another go at it week after week and wouldn’t be so worried about it ending. I know she’d be used to my saggy and Rubenesque areas. But, I’m not an MP at all, not even close; I’m more of a triennial, getting occasional massages only on vacations or girls’ weekends.
I haven’t yet mentioned the prep, which is just like it is for the gyno. It’s exhausting to make sure I’m as clean and hairless as humanly possible. It’s like I’m playing Twister in the shower. Then after the massage, I have to play another round, since I have to scrub the oils and creams left behind in every crevice. Wtf is in those products? Crisco? And, my last beef is not getting enough time to sleep it off when it’s over. Can’t I just rent the table for a couple more hours? There’s nothing harder than sitting upright and putting your feet on the floor afterwards. At least bring me a damn cigarette. No, I don’t smoke, but maybe I would after the shitshow that just went on in my brain. At the end, I say thank you and tell the masseuse how amazing it was, still using my indoor voice of course. She smiles and closes the door behind her, never knowing how badly I need to go back into therapy.
I dedicate this blog to my Aunt Gwenn. Her unveiling is this Sunday. There are so many times I think of her and want to call her. I know what would make her laugh, what would make her happy and what would really piss her off! I hope she knows what’s going on with me and all of the family she loved so much. If Theresa Caputo is for real, then Gwenn does still know. I can still hear her voice and her laugh. I’ll be sure to bring her a Reese’s on Sunday.
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