Thursday, July 3, 2008


Today we'll see what I write about when I don't feel like writing.

I'm all out of whack because I didn't get to sleep until three in the morning and within ninety minutes of finally awakening, I had a massage with a new therapist.

How many of you out there have had a professional massage? Raise your hands. Don't be shy. I've arranged this blog in such a way that while I can see your hands waving enthusiastically above your heads or just sort waggling at the ends of your wrists (depending on your own personal experiences), the other readers cannot. Your anonymity is safe with me.

The most important thing to remember while receiving a massage is to keep your eyes shut. I learned this in childhood, as I'm sure you did, too: If I can't see you, you can't see me. If this weren't true, no one over the age of twenty-two would ever get a massage.

I've been naked and relaxed in the presence of at least twenty massage therapists -- female and male -- and only one has ever started me off on my back. It was awkward and I wish she hadn't done it. I need that half hour on my belly with my face in a cradle, relaxing and drifting, following the flute and wind chimes in the music as they evoke other lifetimes and sweeter days, completely forgetting that I'm roaring naked, all splayed out on a table in front of a total stranger.

When the therapist indicates that it's time to roll over onto my back, I'm so dreamy and slow, so otherworldly, that I wouldn't care if the entire tenor section of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir were watching.

But start me off on my back, when I'm fresh from the streets and the drive over and the introduction to the new therapist, and yikes! I'm not going to like it.

Today's therapist was the second, then, to start me off on my back. I objected to that, but only mildly. By the time there's nothing between me and the world but a thin cotton sheet, all my firmness and courage dissipates. The woman has seventeen years' experience giving massages, and she starts us all off on our backs, so there we are. I even gave her a truncated, verbal version of this blog entry, but she just chuckled.

Not only was I not relaxed enough to be ignorant of my surroundings -- which included, by the way, a healthy, fit, fully-clothed person, as opposed to my flabby, overweight, bumpy, hairy, splotchy, naked person -- but she started right off at my face, so her face was mere inches from mine. It was just too vulnerable a position. I was squinting, which is not the most relaxed position for the eye lid, but if I didn't squint, then maybe my eyes would fly open because of that same involuntary reflex that caused me to giggle during communion at church camp when I was eleven and the pastor thought it would be cool to evoke the first-ever communion by having only twelve of us in a small room with just candlelight. If I hadn't squinted this afternoon, then I might have actually made eye-contact with this massage therapist, and then I'd never get another massage in my whole life ever again I mean it.

So the massage, you see, is successful only when there's complete trust founded on mutual understanding -- and blindness on my part.

1 comment:

Steven said...

As a massage enthusiast, I too enjoy starting face down. That gives me time to get my breathing pattern down and just drift away until it's time to roll over.

Steven TGG