Although I like to have my own personal space, I’m not usually weird about people touching me. I just have an aversion to getting massages. I don’t know where it started – maybe the forced backrubs in choir class as part of the warm up routine, maybe from creepy co-workers and bosses who thought because I was too timid to speak up, I actually really liked it when they pawed me. Whatever the reason, I just have never been interested in having anyone other than my husband rub my back.
I have no problem with other people getting massages. Or giving them. Some of my friends are regular clients or massage therapists themselves. But for me, to experience it, I’ve just never been able to get over the strangeness. So this week in an effort to try to get over it, I decided I had to try it just once.
I made the appointment online because that seemed less weird to me than calling a stranger to say, “Hi, will you rub my back for money?” but then I got the confirmation email. Yeah, that’s not weird at all.
I also thought it would be less scary if I made my husband come so I booked a couple’s massage. Makes sense, right? People do it all the time, right? I guess I just didn’t think it through all the way because I had a tiny panic attack when we got there and it dawned on me that there would be two strangers in the room – my masseuse and his masseur. So that was awkward.
My husband decided to think of it as purely medical so it wouldn’t seem so strange. That sounded logical. He’s had his share of hospital sponge baths and I’ve given birth tons of times and had plenty of mammograms so I thought I would treat it like just another appointment. But then when I got there, I realized there’s a reason nobody does Couple’s Annual Exams. Because it’s weird.
Without going into too much detail, I’ll just say that the massage therapists were very professional and tactful about privacy, modesty and our comfort level and they seemed to be well-trained. There was never a time where I felt especially uneasy or uncomfortable. Maybe that’s because she was so solicitous or maybe it’s because when all I could see was the darkness of the face rest, I was lulled into the same security a toddler feels when she covers her eyes – that if I couldn’t see them, they surely couldn’t see me.
But no matter how hard I tried, I could never honestly say, “This isn’t weird AT ALL.” Maybe sometime in the distant future I’ll be able to try getting a massage again. Maybe. But I am 100% sure that I will never go for another couple’s massage. It’s just not my idea of a romantic date. What’s next? Couple’s bikini waxing? Couple’s enema?
Frankly, (and this is saying a lot) I’d rather go country dancing.