Every so often for a holiday or birthday I have been given a gift certificate for a massage/spa treatment. Chalk it up to a dislike of strange people rubbing me or just a fear of Enya but getting a massage always sounded about as relaxing as riding shotgun with Nicole Richie. Yes, I’m fully aware that I’m the only woman on the planet that has that hang-up. If I explore the issue more deeply I guess I’d have to admitt that I’ve always had trouble relaxing. And especially if there’s real or imagined pressure to do so. My body just seems to have the opposite reaction. Like, it used to be if a nurse airily said, “go ahead and pee in this cup” my bladder would close up like a steel trap. Didn’t matter if I’d had a two liter bottle of Diet Coke for breakfast, no pee would be leaving my body until I got home. For many years I couldn’t pee in a stall if someone was next to me. I’d have to pretend I was “just changin’ a tampon” and rustle around some paper, prematurely flush or do something to distract from the lack of peeing going on. It was embarrassing and uncomfortable to say the least.
Besides not being able to pee on demand I also had trouble enjoying “oral pleasures.” Again, it’s the hurry up and relax dilemma. I’d be so busy worrying about how long it was taking me and how bored he must be and wondering if it had been the right move to avoid feminine deoderant products all these years that I felt the opposite of pleasure. It was work.
So, even though I’d worked my way past a few of these issues, I still didn’t want to put myself right in the path of any forced relaxation situations. I avoided Yoga, meditation, hypnosis, staring into space and had never indulged in any sort of spa activity and those Burke Williams certificates remained in my drawer beneath a bunch of bank statements, old birthday cards and a few random baby socks. That is until two days ago when my sister-in-law mentioned how much she loved getting a massage and I offered my unused gifts. Of course, she wanted me to go too and I didn’t have a good excuse. So after careful consideration, I figured I could trade in a massage for a facial – hell, what forty-year-old couldn’t afford to improve their glow? Little did I know the facial also included a scalp massage, paraffin hand dip and rub, mini foot massage and face and neck rub. It was pure fucking heaven. Every second of the fifty minutes I cursed myself for not having done it sooner while I layed in the heated bed with cucumbers over my eyes and a variety of aromatic creams seeping into my skin.
Okay, I’ll admit that a few thoughts still raced -actually raced would now be too strong a word – meandered through my brain about what I would have to eat from the Cheesecake Factory afterward and whether or not I should get a present for my babysitter on top of her Christmas bonus and how much that bonus should be…but for the most part, I found myself thinking only vague thoughts and just feeling blissful. And, yeah, relaxed.
But here’s the rub (intended). Now I feel I might have become an addict. Oh yeah, heed my warning, it only takes once. I need more relaxing! And this stuff is more expensive than heroin! Oh Santa……..