I consider myself a relatively modern woman. I use anti-wrinkle cream, work out to keep my body somewhat cellulite free, watch E! news to stay up on celeb gossip, and try to be aware of national and wordly current events. I know all of the fad diets to stay away from, I can figure out my internet connection issues with little help, and I can find just about anything on the Internet in under three minutes.
Yes, I am truly a modern woman.
However, in my modern woman warrior life, there is one thing I have somehow missed out on.
Over the years, I've heard many a friend pontificate on the amazing massages they've experienced and I've always been kind of jealous. I've been curious to try it out, but never managed to take the steps toward making an appointment. There always seemed to be a few road blocks in my way.
For example, the idea of a complete stranger touching me weirds me out. I mean, you may or may not know this, but...I'm a bit high strung. It's even hard for me to be still and quiet with Hubs, let alone with some random person putting their paws all over me and whispering, "Theez iz a place of haaarrrrmoneeee. Breeth in ze eucalyptis flower sme-ahls. Feel ze eenergee az I am to tooch you all over ze BODEEEEEE."
(Apparenlty my imaginary massuse is from another country. Like Transylvania.)
So for whatever reason, I had never experienced the joy of a massage. Until last week. Hubs' Mom gave me some moola for Christmas, and since a massage is something I would never buy for myself, it seemed like the perfect way to spend the money.
Like a good little consumer, I researched spas throughout Kansas City and finally decided on a winner. Great reviews, great recommendations, reasonable prices.
So the big day finally arrives...and I'm running late. Like, super late. My morning appointments get moved up an hour, conference calls last longer than they're supposed to and I'm starting to wonder if I'm going to make it to my appointment on time. Needless to say, I'm stressed.
And while in the middle of my stressed morning, I realize I didn't shave my legs.
What masseuse is going to want to touch a prickly pear legged woman? Ew. But there's nothing I can do about it. She's going to have to deal with it.
I arrive at my 11:45 appointment promptly at 11:35 to allow for check in. The nice woman at the counter finds me in the books and softly says, "Follow me". She leads me down a flight of stairs and on the way down, I see at least three different signs that say things like, "Please No Cell Phones or Children Beyond This Point" and "This Is a Quiet Place. Keep Voices Low." and "If You Didn't Shave Your Legs, Turn Back Now."
Receptionist Lady leads me to a locker where I'm to put my clothes and personal items. She gently reminds me to keep my cell phone on silent and place it in the locker, as cellular devices are not allowed in the treatment rooms.
We then arrive at a small changing room with a robe and slippers. She motions for me to go in and tells me to adjourn to the sitting area for some tea and a magazine when I'm ready. My masseuse will come and get me.
After she whisks the curtain shut, I begin to have a small panic attack. I totally forgot to double check on the ONE thing I don't know about massages.
Do I have to be naked??
Seriously, I have no idea. I've seen movies where people are naked, but sometimes they aren't. Receptionist Lady didn't give any instructions, but maybe she assumes that all patrons of a spa know the rules.
What if there's some weird spa rule that EVERYONE but me knows, and my masseuse laughs and says, "AHH HA! We hev a new cli-unt it zeems. You are neekid! Vaaaa ha ha ha ha! Pleez to go beck to chenge room and put ohn yer pantees. Olso, een future, pleez to shev legs befoor me-sage."
What do I do?
Since I still have my purse, I break out my Blackberry and try to Google the answer. No dice. My 3G signal is too low.
I begin to panic. I can't risk the humiliation of making the wrong choice. Then I realize my texting should work. I'll text my friend that recommended this spa! Surely she'll know what to do. So I type:
Hi, T. It's Kim. I have a dumb question. Are you supposed to be completely naked for a massage? I seriously have no idea.
I can't believe I actually just sent that text. Seconds tick by. I realize the buttons on my Blackberry are quite loud when I type...hopefully no one will hear me texting in "the quiet place." Pretty soon the masseuse is going to wonder how it can possibly take so long to change into a robe.
Finally, a response.
Sorry, I just about spit water all over my computer. Yes, you can be completely naked or wear panties. If you're getting their vichy shower, I'd recommend your b-day suit.
REJOICE!! I can keep my under-things on and won't get paddled by Inga the mean Swedish massuse. I text back quickly,
I knew I could count on you for info! I'm texting in the changing room...I think that's frowned upon.
As I type, I suddenly hear through the curtain, "Hello, Miss? Are you all right in there?"
Crap. It's Receptionist Lady, come to whisk my phone away. Nazi.
"Uh, yes!" I shout back, forgetting about the quiet rule. "Just about finished. I, uh, couldn't get my boots off!"
God, I'm lame.
Quickly I throw on the robe, toss my cell into my bag and stash all of it in the locker. My massuse is obviously annoyed with waiting on me, because she is standing by my locker. So much for tea and magazines.
"Hello, Kim," her voice is neither foreign, nor creepy. "I'll be assisting you today. We'll be in room 2."
The massuese gives me a quick run down of everything after I tell her I'm a massage virgin. She explains that she won't touch anything "sensitive", which loosely translated means, "I won't touch your special lady parts."
Fine with me.
My massage is scheduled to be an hour long. I lay on the table as instructed and she begins with my feet. Great, only the most ticklish part of my entire body.
My mind instantly flashes back to my wedding, when I got my very first pedicure at the age of 26. (Perhaps I'm not such a modern woman after all.) I all but kicked the poor pedicure dude in his front teeth when he tried to use that scratchy puma stone on my heels. And I may or may not have screamed and laughed like a hyena for the whole ten minutes he worked on my feet. Poor guy.
To my surprise, the relaxed atmosphere is soothing and my masseuse did not in any way give me reason to kick her. In fact, as she moves toward my head to work on my shoulders, I truly start to relax.
But this is me we're talking about. High strung, remember? The more that I try to concentrate on relaxing, the more my brain starts making up wacky sitcom scenarios that cause me to want to laugh. Scenarios like...
This is pretty relaxing...but what if all of a sudden I have to fart? Will I let it out and hope it doesn't smell? What if it's one of those toots that you CAN'T hold in and it comes out, ready or not? I wonder if the massuese ever had someone fart on her table. I bet with the warm room, it would be extra smelly.
I wonder if she notices that I clench up every time I'm about to laugh from thinking about fart scenarios? Does she sense I'm trying not to laugh?
What if I fall asleep and I start to talk in my sleep like at home? What if I say something dirty like, "Do me, Hubs!". Will she ask me to leave? I wonder if anyone has ever said something offensive in their sleep before? Would she slap them and just tell them it's part of the massage and to stop crying?
I wonder how many massages this lady has done. Can she tell I'm dehydrated from drinking Dr. Pepper all day? Can she determine my body fat percentage by massaging me? God, I need to work out. Tonight I'm going to start running again. Then I'll come back in three weeks all toned and skinny, and she'll be like, "Ooh! Someone's been working out. It's so much easier to work on her muscles when she actually has some."
I kind of have to pee. I wonder what time it is. Has it been ten minutes? Twenty? Do I interrupt and ask to go to the bathroom? Will that cut in on my massage time? Can I just hold it? What if I think I can hold it but I get so relaxed my bladder lets go and I pee all over the table? God, that'd be so gross. Ew, I wonder if anyone has ever peed on THIS table. What if I'm laying in old PEE? OMG, thank God I left my undies on.
Despite my mental wanderings, I do manage to keep my mouth shut and finally relax into the massage. (Except when it's time to massage my legs. Then all I can think about is how this woman must think I'm a direct descendant of King Kong.)
Soon the massage is over. And surprise, surprise, I feel good. Relaxed, rejuvenated and very, very sleepy.
(Word to the wise: Don't book massage appointments over your lunch hour if you have to go back to work. You will be, in a word, worthless.)
In the end, I did choose to do the aroma thearpy steam shower (which was fantastic) and all in all, it was a very pleasant experience. Being that it was my first time, I was quite preoccupied with the logistics of everything, which didn't allow me to get as comfortable as I'd hoped. That being said, if I was to go back again, I think I would be more ready and able to fully enjoy the experience.
But maybe next time I'll book a wax appointment first...