It was such a stressful end to the year that my husband decided to give me a massage gift certificate for Christmas. (This was seconds after giving me pink camouflage footed PJs which he said was a joke, but I’m still not so sure. Regardless, the massage gift card made up for that hilarity, joke or not.)
I love massages, don’t get me wrong. But, I had 90 minutes during the massage to think about how awkward they really are from start to finish.
A complete stranger rubs oil on your nearly naked body
In this crazy life of ours, my husband rarely sees me half naked, much less does he rub oil on me. Yet I’m paying a complete stranger to see me virtually naked in a warm bed with soothing music. With oil. There’s something just hilarious about that to me.
Where do you get undressed?
Am I supposed to undress in front of all of the other spa-going ladies in the dressing room or in the bathroom stalls? Is this like a gym where people are supposed to get buck naked in front of everyone like they don’t give a care in the world that their wrinkled melons are hanging freely?
I have this memory as a kid of my mom dragging me to this department store called Loehmann’s and the dressing room was this huge open room full of women of all sizes trying on clothes. There were girdles and large underwire bras holding all of their body parts together. It was startling to a young child of maybe 5 or 6.
In the end I undressed freely in the dressing room at the spa as if I were at Loehmann’s. But what’s the unwritten rule for this? Where are you supposed to change?
After I had exposed my sagging bits to the other ladies in the dressing room, I moved to the peaceful dimly-lit waiting area where everyone whispers.
(Side note with no real relevance: I always think of the movie St. Elmo’s Fire when Mare Winningham’s character said “Mother finds some words too horrible to utter so she whispers them.” )
The massage therapist came to get me and whispered ever so softly, “What brings you in today?”
Me in an awkward whispering reply, “A massage?”
The door knock
After we whisper to each other awkwardly she takes me to the massage room and steps out while I disrobe. It takes about 14 seconds from start to finish to get disrobed and hop onto the bed, but for some reason the therapist gives you at least 3 or 4 minutes.
After that 3 or 4 minutes they knock on the door. What am I supposed to say? “Who is it?” And do I whisper it?
The face holder
If you’ve ever gotten a massage then you’re aware of the face holder. For those unfamiliar, it’s the thing you rest your face in when you are laying on your stomach. The shape of it is not unlike that of a toilet seat, but it’s much smaller and the warm towels covering it make it nice and comfy.
I suppose it’s open so one can breathe while getting a massage, but it just gives me an opportunity to drool like a Mastiff on the floor. So ridiculously embarrassing.
Rolling over mid-massage
Speaking of embarrassing, there’s something hilarious about rolling over mid-massage. Not only are you half-awake, but you don’t know which way to turn. The massage therapist is whispering and you can’t really hear and you just clumsily flop over on the other side while she holds the blanket as if to shield herself from your naked body that she’s just rubbed oil all over.
The final whisper
You know it’s the end of the massage when you hear the final whisper, “Ok, I’ll step outside and let you put your robe on.” After 60 or 90 minutes of being rubbed on while drooling like a Mastiff, it feels like such an awkward way to end it. I usually mutter something stupid in a whisper, “Thank you, that was amazing.”
When I put the robe back on and walk outside to the dimly lit whispering-only waiting room, I feel like I should give her a hug. Instead I just wipe the drool off my chin and whisper “thanks” with a smile.
The oily clothes dance
Then it’s time to put my clothes back on my oily body in front of everyone in the dressing room. That alone is a sight to be seen, trying to get leggings back on when you have oil all over them. It’s in between a dance and a cry for help.
The funny thing is- despite all of these awkward things, I have no doubt that I’ll one day get a massage again.
Lastly, here is a earlier post telling the story about a previous massage that included Golden Retrievers as part of the experience. If you want a good chuckle, feel free to read.