The most wonderful thing happened the other day. It may not be uncommon, or rare, but it had never happened to me before, and it felt wonderful.
This, by contrast, is wonderful felt.
Now for all of you who have your minds in the gutter, good work. But sorry to disappoint, I got a massage. The real kind, not the kind those women outside the hotel were offering me when I was in Beijing.
Funny story: The elderly mother of a man in that tour group ordered a massage from the hotel, and was really puzzled as to why the woman who showed up was wearing such a fancy dress and didn't have any massage supplies with her.
"So, I'm confused... do you do shiatsu or hot stone, or what?"
Regardless of labels, in my personal experience it was the best experience I've had with someone I paid to touch me. Top five, at least.
That's not to say I wasn't nervous going into it. I actually got this as a sort of congratulatory gift for my grad school acceptance. Left to my own devices I have proven to be really fantastic at not scheduling massages for myself. So I didn't really know what to do.
I gchatted a friend and reader of this blog for some advice. She's an aspiring massage therapist (AMT), so figured she would have some valuable input. I wanted to know about some etiquette. I am going to paraphrase some of this conversation.
Me: They're not going to try to talk to me, are they?
AMT: Well, it depends. Most will ask a few questions at the beginning, to get a sense of any injuries or places that you want them to focus, and then really it's best for both parties to keep quiet and let them focus.
Me: Cool. Flatulence. Apologize, or ignore it?
AMT: Eh, either way... I could tell you some stories that are much grosser than that, but I won't.
Me: Oh thank God. I'm at work anyway. What about eye contact? Can I demand they not make eye contact with me?
AMT: Is that typically a problem?
Me: I sometimes feel threatened by eye contact. Like a gorilla. Like a massive, proud, savage silverback.
AMT: Ok... you'll be facing either the floor or the ceiling for the whole thing. I don't imagine eye contact will be an issue.
Me: What about Happy Endings?
AMT: Oh jesus.
Me: Precisely. How does one request one? Is there a hand signal involved? Would it show up on my credit card statement?
AMT: Rev, I have a lot of stuff to do...
Me: Don't get me wrong, I don't want one. Gross! But if there's a hand signal involved I want to make sure I don't accidentally make it.
AMT: I don't know. I work at a reputable, legal place.
Me: I get it. You can't tell me. Trade secret, huh? I'll guess and then you just type Y or N.
AMT: I'm going now. Goodbye.
Me: So there's this one gesture my Mom makes when she's talking to a telemarketer. Is that it?
AMT: autoresponse from AMT: note to self: stop reading Rev's blog.
Ok, so I embellished a little. But I did feel more comfortable going into the massage. I politely requested my masseuse don the gorilla glasses I brought from home.
I bought a gross of them last month. Also useful for walking through the park during the sunbathing months.
I told the masseuse about my shin pain and the stiff neck I'd had that weekend. Then she left, I disrobed and slipped under the blanket, facing down. What I assume was the same person I had just spoken to came back in and started the massage.
I just now thought of how simple it would have been to switch masseuses on me. If that had occurred to me then I probably wouldn't have been able to relax as much as I did. What if it was some huge hairy dude? What if he wasn't wearing the gorilla glasses? Did he know about my tender shins?
Turns out it was the same person, as most of the time I'm convinced there's an evil conspiracy against me, it turns out that they're really good at covering their tracks.
My life is sort of like a Robert Ludlum novel, except that nothing ever really happens, so it's exactly like a Robert Ludlum novel.
The story of a man and his forbidden love for a gondola.
I kid, I kid. The Bourne Identity is worth reading.
So I won't go into all the details. Suffice to say that the massage was fantastic, I no longer had a stiff neck and for two hours afterwards I felt like I was floating down the sidewalk, even when I wasn't.
I highly recommend getting one for yourself, they're pretty great.
Ok folks that's all for now, I'm going to go for a run on my path to Boilermaker 2010.
Happy Mother's Day, everybody!