Monday, October 31, 2011

Different Strokes

I've been seeing the same massage therapist for the last four years. She's a few years younger than me and a former co-worker. Working from her home, just nine blocks from mine, and charging a mere $55 for a 90-minute massage, I was more than happy seeing her every four weeks.

The month before last, however, she didn't respond to a couple texts I'd sent regarding an upcoming appointment. Wondering what was up, but not wanting to send yet another message, I made an appointment to be seen at the biggest masseuserry in town. They were more expensive, but my wife was a big fan of theirs, having gotten caressed a number of times at their Las Vegas location (the only city in which she's ever had a massage). I asked to be set up with someone who was a specialist at what they call deep-tissue (Swedish) massage. For obvious reasons, I requested that the healer be female.

I headed to my appointment earlier this fall, not sure if it was going to be worth it, but knowing I had to give it a try. I parked my car and told the staff up front who I was and the time of my appointment. I noticed a curious thing. The other people waiting to be seen either had their noses stuck in their mobile devices or reading a magazine. No one's eyes strayed at the other clients as if, in some way, they were ashamed that they were here, about to be touched by a stranger. Imagine if someone they knew came in. It'd be like getting caught in a brothel.

As I sat, looking at the pictures on the wall, I lifted my right hand to my neck and started rubbing a bit. I was obviously ready to get it on. A big guy with a Harley-Davidson shirt came in and sat a few feet away. After a moment, he did the same thing. Had he noticed me doing it or was he also just getting in the mood? I was surprised when a male therapist came out for him. Could it be that his wife had let him go to this facility on the condition that he not see any female rubbers? Or was it his idea, not feeling a female would have the proper strength to get the numerous knots out of his neck and shoulders?

One thing I loved about the waiting area was the quiet. The staff spoke softly and, of course, there weren't any kids waiting to be seen. This was my kind of place. Just like when I go to the movies, I headed to the bathroom before things got going. In keeping with the quiet theme, there were no hand dryers to be seen, not even any paper towels. No, after one's hands were washed, you actually used a fresh white washcloth to rub the excess moisture from one's hands; there was a basket near the floor where you threw the spent cloth.

A few minutes later, I was greeted by the petite woman who would be mine for the next 50 minutes; there were more than a dozen rooms available. There were actually two different white noises going as I entered: a small fan and some piped-in music, the kind you'd expect to hear at a house of healing.

I disrobed and got under the covers and was pleasantly surprised that the masseuse knew a few things that my former one didn't. When she did my neck, she was pushing so hard that it hurt. I made sure not to let her see my discomfort as I felt being rubbed that hard would be worth it in the long-run.

One thing I've tried for years during massages is to let my mind go blank or at least not to think about ridiculous minutaie. What a waste of money to be getting pampered, but spending virtually all the time pondering on what I'm going to have for supper or why Kim Kardashian's getting divorced. I think I'm getting better at this, but it isn't easy. Thankfully, the good vibes I feel from a massage continue over the next few days, no matter how many thoughts I had during the actual appointment.

When it was time to get dressed again, I knew I'd be back in a few weeks. My former healer sent me a text a few weeks ago asking about my next appointment. I said that I'd sent her texts which were never returned, so wound up going elsewhere. She apologized and said that that may have been the time when she'd dropped her phone. I said that was OK and that I'd let her know when I needed to be seen again. In the end, I'm thankful I was led to my new masseusse in such a serendipitous way. Life can be funny that way.


Anonymous said...

I've only had one proper massage and I really enjoyed it. Very expensive though so it's definitely not something that I'll indulge in very often. Just on special ocassions.

Narkissos said...

glad you enjoyed the masseuse....I mean the massage....:)

ExtraO said...

I could have sworn I left a comment here yesterday... maybe you haven't approved it yet. Maybe it's a very lengthy approval process. :-)

Phats said...

What a crazy little story, I am assuming the pain was worth it? I love massages I haven't had one in awhile though. I agree letting the mind go blank is the best :)

Glad to hear those noisy hand dryers that are taking over weren't there haha

Rocketstar said...

I can never think of a massage without a happy ending. Do you think you could ever get one?

Dave said...

I have only ever had one massage and that was from a male... there was no part of me left without pain afterwards but the next day I felt great. Is that normal or just me?? :-/

Thomas said...

Sil, I think getting one right before your wedding would be a winning proposition.

Nice turn of phrase, Fay.

Extra, that's the only one I received.

Yes, it was worth it, Phats. Just like having a hoarse voice after a nail-biter in which the Boilermakers come out on top.

I suppose passing on while I'm getting a massage would qualify as a happy ending, Rocket.

I think it's rather typical, Dave, and suggest you treat yourself to one before the days get too much more colder and shorter.