People have very mixed feelings about massage. Some are creeped out by being rubbed with scented oil by total strangers. This is clearly a birth defect and I feel totally sorry for them.
Tuesday, August 5, 2014
**Slather Me Up
["Let Inga Tell You," La Jolla Light, published August 7, 2014] © 2014
Everybody has a fantasy about what they’d do if they won the lottery. I’ve always been clear about mine: hire a live-in masseuse. I’d get a minimum of two massages a day of about four hours each. In fact, some days I wouldn’t even get off the table, especially if I could figure out a way to simultaneously get a straw into a glass of chardonnay.
I have other friends who, like me, absolutely love massage. My preferred masseur, of course, is Olof who generously rubs my back if we’re watching TV together, racking up husband points like you wouldn’t believe. He insists he needs them in case of a sudden husband point conflagration which has occurred from time to time, especially when long-awaited plans were cancelled due to business travel. But he’s retired now so it shouldn’t be too hard to maintain a positive balance.
Not surprisingly, my favorite massagee is Olof. Not a fan of “stranger” massage, he is only too happy to have a can of whipped cream slathered over—er, too much information. Anyway, as a single working parent for twelve years, I was financially ineligible for massage unless someone gifted me one. So I’m trying to make up for lost time.
My only hesitation at all about massage is that I feel a little bad that the masseuse is getting stuck with my aged chubby body. Was I the fantasy she had when she went to massage school? I think not.
Of course, we aged chubby people are often the folks with money for massages. Which I’m sure doesn’t keep massage people from hoping for some firmer flesh to manipulate. Several years ago I went into a spa to get a massage gift certificate for my very athletic younger son. He’d been there before. That massage girl’s face lit up like a Christmas tree when I mentioned his name. I can assure you that nobody’s face lights up when they hear my name, except possibly to recall that I tip well. Considering my body, maybe it’s not well enough.
Sometimes it’s nice to do a massage just focusing on one area. I’ve never actually taken heroin (which probably won’t surprise anyone, especially with the easy availability of chardonnay) but I think head massage must be a similar high. Those endorphins just go crazy. I’d probably have my post-lottery live-in masseuse do at least one head and one foot massage a day too.
My extreme fondness for massage has made my husband wonder aloud if I were secretly adopted from a sensory-deprived Romanian orphanage. As a blue-eye blond in a family of brown-eyed brunettes, it seemed plausible. Nope, I'm just a massage junkie, plain and simple.
Not too long ago, I wandered into an Asian-run massage place whose brochure advertised their treatments as “better for your organ.” I couldn’t argue with such a charming endorsement and signed up for a reflexology foot massage. All our organs are alleged to have nerve endings in the foot so that pressing on certain areas can help diagnose problems elsewhere in the body. Of those 7000 nerve endings, 6,000 of mine seem to be perennially annoyed. The foot masseur pressed on one place that was excruciating painful. I flinched. “Hurt there, kidney no good,” he said. No good? Maybe they were just having a bad day? I mean, we’re talking kidneys here.
Noting a really sore spot during a foot massage at another place last year, I asked, “what organ is that?” The masseuse said “sinuses.” Geesh, that’s probably one of the three organs in my whole body that has consistently behaved! So as a diagnostic tool, it may not work that well for me. I’m thinking that in my case, maybe the pain in my feet might mean “need new shoes” or “lose weight, Lumpy!” Don’t really care. It just feels heavenly.
I guess if you’re going to have an addiction, massage isn’t the worse one you can have. But I really have to start buying lottery tickets.