Jill Kushner
June 26, 2012 7:00 am

I don’t get massages as often as I should. My chiropractor once told me that it’s laptops that keep chiropractors and masseuses in business. So take that, car accidents and people who bend over to pick up a grape and throw out their back. As a writer, I spend more time on my laptop than I do anywhere else during any given 24 hour period. Let me rephrase that. As a writer who is also on Twitter and many many other unbelievably important websites 24/7, I spend more time on my laptop than I do anywhere else during any given 24 hour period. All of this logged laptop time leads to less than sexy posture, earrings made of shoulders and headaches that start in my neck and creep up into my, wait for it, head. I know what you’re thinking. Jill, say that slower. You are so hot.

Every now and then, when it’s reached the point of Advil and “Why do I always do this to myself?”, I’ll go get a massage. Here’s the thing, though. As helpful and lovely as they are, this control freak refuses to fully relax in a massage. First off, I feel like anyone who tells me to take deep breaths is about to Chloroform me. Does logical me know that’s ridiculous? Yes. Does regular me still think that there’s some possibility of it happening? Yes. Regular me watches TV and just knows things. So, once we’ve gotten past me making pretend to take 3 deep breaths in and out for her (nice try, lady), she begins. Strike that. I begin. I ask if she wouldn’t mind raising the face hole contraption because if it stays as is, it always feels like it’s rigged to try to make me dizzy. I also politely ask her to please not use anything in the patchouli family. Not a family I can deal with. In fact, during my last massage I said, “Nothing that seems like it went to Burning Man, okay?”  This is usually when she asks me what kind of pressure I like and when I make a dumb pressure joke. “Somewhere between my ex-girlfriend trying to get me to try oysters and my parents telling me it’s not too late for law school.”

Once we begin, which is likely right around when she’s wishing she’d called in sick, the conversation really picks up, because I like to check in like it’s a doctor’s appointment or a fundraiser. You know the tagboard with the big thermometer and the rising red line gauging how much money has been raised so far and showing  where you want to be at the end of the fundraiser? I like to see how we’re doing as we go. “So, am I like really tense or medium tense in comparison to everyone else?” “Is it getting more or less?”  “Am I normal?” The last one really always coming off like a bigger picture question that I’m probably asking in the wrong room.

If I don’t talk, it just always feels too quiet in there. I’m not sure why I treat each of my massages like it’s her first day of ever doing this and I need to make her comfortable. All I know is, I seem to take way too much responsibility during this massage that I’m paying for. Sometimes, if it gets super quiet (super quiet is different than quiet because it’s quiet with soft sounds of a stream flowing over rocks in the background), I’ll ask stuff about what she’s doing, “So, what does that do?” And about next steps. “So, what are the next steps?” To which masseuses will usually respond, “Uh, release tension.” And “Uh, heating pad?” My point is, I  gain their respect.

It’s not that I don’t relax at all. I do. But not fully. I mean, what if she takes advantage of a blissed-out me? Admittedly, I do have a somewhat warped massage-based fantasy. Which is likely another reason I don’t let myself relax entirely, because what if I’m all zenned and I say something stupid. “Here’s crazy. I have this fantasy about the masseuse just totally coming on to me during a massage.” Because really, there’s only two ways that would play out. And only one of them is hot. The other one involves a spa ban for me. Which would be horrifying but also amazing. I. Am. So. Tempted.

All kidding and inappropriate overshares of sexual fantasies aside, I look forward to learning how to relax during relaxing.  I’m sure that there’s an online course that I can take, which will find me sitting at my laptop for even longer stretches of time and then, in turn, back on the massage table.

Bow-chica-bow-bow …

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