I had the second massage of my life this week. Before I dive into that, let me tell you about my first massage.
Somewhere back in 2007 or 2008, I was doing remarkable with my eating disorder treatment. Everything was on track, I wasn’t obsessing over the scale, and I was experiencing life in a brand new frame of mind. Unfortunately, my physical health wasn’t at the same level as my mental health. I’m sure that working full-time and taking full-time night classes wasn’t helping. People continued to recommend massage therapy, but I was hesitant to give it a try.
Finally, I decided to set up an appointment. The massage therapist I found came highly recommended and she was located right across the street from where I lived. Prior to the appointment, she had me fill out a health history. At the time, I was still on the borderline of anemia and had some other “stuff” going on, so I think this is why she went easy on me.
Just walking into her studio put me at ease. Neutral colors, bright white sheets, candles burning, and soft relaxation music playing very quietly in the background. I spent 45 minutes face down on her table in one of the happiest places I’ve ever been. She was quiet throughout the entire massage and I drifted off just long enough to leave a puddle of drool on her floor.
That was my expectation when I went online on Monday to book a massage. I had only one requirement and that was the massage therapist be female. With the help of Yelp, I was able to find a reputable massage therapist with an immediate opening. The reviews were fantastic, so I didn’t hesitate setting up my one-hour session.
Within minutes of booking the appointment, Tracy (not the real name of the therapist, by the way) sent me a form to fill out and I had it all set when I got to her office.
The first thing I noticed when I walked in was the messy office. The next thing I noticed was that Tracy wasn’t a she and not a she wasn’t wearing socks and shoes.
“Have a seat,” he said pointing to a leather chair with an ottoman in front of it. I did as I was told and took in the clutter all around his desk. I don’t know how to pronounce Feng shui or even what it is exactly and I think that might be the only thing me and this dude have in common.
He asked me questions about my work and schedule. I was guessing his age to be early fifties and was only paying partial attention to him ramble on about smoking, soda, and making room in the budget for these things. Somehow he was tying it into the cost of a massage, but I was too busy thinking about Craigslist killers and what the inside of his trunk would look like.
The two framed certificates hanging on the wall were reassuring, but even a sociopath can get a degree.
He led me into an adjoining office space where his massage table was set up. I scanned the room for a hidden camera when I saw the Mickey Mouse sheets spread out neatly, but no one from Candid Camera jumped out.
As I stood there taking in the fresh-off-the-curb sofa, more clutter, and my upcoming trip to Disneyland, Tracy spent what felt like forever finding music to play on his phone.
Finally, he stepped out and I stripped down to my underwear and crawled in the sack with Mickey.
I spend the fall and winter layered in fleece. You would think after 32 years of this, my body would realize it is Wisconsin and quit shivering all the time. When I realized the bed was heated, I went from what-did-I-get-myself-into to I’m-never-getting-off-this-table.
When he started working on my back, he compared it to concrete. When he finished comparing my back to cement, I anticipated quiet time for him to work.
There was no quiet time. He talked about his training, his background before massage therapy, and then …
“So, you work in Behavioral Health, let me run this by you…”
I was too relaxed to even roll my eyes when he began telling me about some difficult people in his life. I just listened and figured if I pretended I was sleeping, he’d stop.
He didn’t. At least he wasn’t stopping long enough for me to interject any type of thoughts. My only care in the world was that Mickey kept my rear covered and the bed heater not be touched.
He had me roll over on my back and he continued working on my neck and shoulders. Of course, he was talking. About what, I cannot completely recall. Well, until he began talking about some sort of technique that does something to your ribs. The words breast tissue came out of his mouth and I wished at that moment I had left my three layers of fleece on. Or, skipped this all together and spent the $70 on music downloads or new yoga pants.
Don’t worry. Mickey kept me well covered. The Disney sheets, the clutter, and the non-stop talking aside, I felt incredible when I left. Perhaps he should consider concrete work.