Thursday, January 15, 2009


I had a massage tonight. It was a holiday gift from my employees, and it was at a place I hadn't been to before. The massage ended up being just okay, but even a mediocre massage is better than just about anything else on earth, in my opinion. I'm all greased up now and ready to take my silky self to bed.

My massage therapist was about 22 and weighed every bit of 98 pounds. When she started the massage she told me to feel free to comment on the amount of pressure she was applying, and I almost immediately had to ask her to press harder. She did. A smidgen. And as she slowly worked her way around my body - left leg, right leg, back, shoulders, arms, neck - I had the sense that she knew the motions but was performing them without passion or depth. Then I started thinking about being 22 and wondering if your soul is even fully formed at that age. Maybe she didn't have the ability to connect with me in the way someone who has carried around a body for at least 37 years and knows what it needs would have.

I thought, she has no idea the distances and the terrain my feet have walked. She couldn't possibly understand all the cares and concerns that my shoulders have carried. She could never handle all the intense beauty and devastating sadness my eyes have seen. She doesn't know the worries my hands have wrung out. She has no idea about the years that have worn away at my straight back or the letters my fingers have typed, or the friends my arms have held. I thought at one point - if she knew that my ears have heard the perfect perfection that is the the laugh of my nephew, she would touch them differently. She would have to.

So she rubbed me this way and that, and it felt okay, but never really reached the layers beneath my skin, which is always why I go. Again, I'll take it. But I was hoping for more.


  1. Arghh... how disappointing. Yes, I always have to ask for them to go hard from the outset. I have a spot just under my shoulderblades that needs (and can take) homicidal pressure applied by someone using their elbow with their full body weight behind them.

    I've been luckier recently. Next time you're in London, check out 'Relax' on Brewer Street. Whenever I'm down there I drop in daily for a chair massage and they're the only place I've EVER had to say "okay, that's enough".

    I've learned to avoid 'aromatherapy' massages, because they're just too light-fingered. I need something brutal. Surprisingly, some of the harshest massages come from the 98 pounders - you can never tell.

    I'm glad you're pampering and going to bed a silky self.

    It's when I'm massaged that I have to, finally, admit that I couldn't make it all the way through my life alone. I do need to have physical contact with someone.

  2. Great post. A mediocre massage can be so....mediocre.

    Wishing you someone to knead you to the core VERY soon!

  3. First thing first, this was a beautiful post. I read it first thing in the morning just right after I woke up and I can't stop taking about it when I was driving.

    I agree with Gregory about 'aromatherapy' massages, I can never do them because I feel like they're just massaging my skin or, even worse, tickling me. And the last thing you want is to start tickling me because once that happens I can't stop laughing no matter what they do.

    In Hong Kong and mainland China, most massagist are 98 pounder, they're EXTREMELY good and can do a lot of "damage". I think it's really not about the weight, it's the combination of pressure points and understanding the patient's body that makes a good massage... at least for me.

  4. Beautiful, just beautiful. Thanks

  5. Wow. That was stunning. The massage was secondary to the story.

    You write so beautifully. :)

  6. grrrrr... did the Humphcicle just call me 'Gregory'?.... grrrrr