Jac got me a full body massage for Christmas this year. I love to get massages and I’ve been a bit stressed out lately so it was the perfect gift! Little did I know she was actually trying to kill me.
I walked into the Marc Anthony Salon and Day Spa (I don’t think it’s this Marc Anthony) last Friday and met my massage therapist. From the beginning I knew it might be bad news. She was at least 5 feet tall, every ounce of 120 pounds, and was dressed head to toe in black. An obvious natural-born killer.
After the initial back and forth I laid face down on the table and pulled the blankets up. She came into the dimly lit room where some type of ocean sound/Buddhist chant remix was playing in the background.
“How much pressure do you like?”
(This is where I messed up). “Oh I don’t know, I can handle quite a bit.” Which apparently in massage therapy circles translates directly to “I want you to do everything in your power to end my life. And PLEASE, torture me as much as humanly possible so that when you finally off me, it feels like you’re putting me out of my misery. That way I’ll leave a bigger tip”
The massage started off pretty great. It was everything I was used to or had experienced in the past. I started to really relax and was starting to slip into the zone.
“You’ve got quite a bit of scarring back here. I’ll bet you stay pretty tense through your upper back don’t you?”
“Yeah, I do.”
“Do you want me to focus on that area?”
“Yeah, that would be great.”
I wasn’t prepared for what happened next. I couldn’t see, but from what I was feeling I’m pretty sure she reached right through my abdominal cavity, tore out my spleen with her bare hands, and was holding it above her head like a newly-won trophy.
“Do you feel that pressure point?”
In my mind: “D@&^ F*&C@ SH&$”
What I actually said: “Yeah, I can feel that a little bit.”
“Let me know if you need more pressure.”
She spent the next eternity looking for these “pressure points.” Some felt very healing and others made me think she was harvesting my internal organs one by one and listing them on eBay right as I laid there. It didn’t matter how much pain I was in at any given point, I wouldn’t allow myself to say “uncle.” You see, as a man, I have this genetic disorder that doesn’t allow me to ask for mercy, especially when it has to do with pain. Remember on Talladega Nights when Ricky Bobby had his arm broken because he refused to say “I love crepes?” That’s the situation I was in. I was willing to die before I asked her to ease up. Any other reaction would have resulted in immediate and permanent revocation of my man card. And when choosing between the man card and living, well, I think it’s pretty obvious what’s more important in the big picture: the man card.
Finding these “pressure points” seemed to become a personal treasure hunt that she was using for her own entertainment. I could feel her grin reflecting off the back of my neck every time found another pressure point. She worked on my back for what seemed like forever.
Occasionally she’d find an extra special pressure point and say something like “you might feel this shooting up the back of your neck a bit.” Meanwhile, my entire head was flopping on the table uncontrollably like a fish out of water. “Oh yeah, I can feel that shooting a little bit,” I replied. Remember, the moment I show weakness, she wins.
“I could work on this back for days. Do you want me to keep going on your back or should I move on to your legs and feet?”
I’m pretty sure that at this point I was weeping openly into the face pillow.
In my mind: “If you touch my back again this massage is going to end with me in a bath robe and pink curlers reevaluating my entire childhood while watching Steel Magnolias and talking to you about my feelings.”
What I actually said: “Um… well… yeah, I think moving onto my legs and feet would be pretty good.”
Now that we had moved away from my back I was settling down quite a bit and was almost in the zone again. I thought we were finally through the rough patches when the unthinkable happened. I had to fart. If that isn’t the worst feeling in the world I don’t know what is. I was praying she’d start inflicting pain again. I mean, it’s not like you can blame it on the dog or one of your kids (this is the main reason I had kids). There are only two of you in this tiny room and if a strange noise and foul odor show up out of the blue, it’s not going to take a game of Clue to discover who the culprit is.
So naturally I tensed up. She could feel it too. She kept encouraging me to relax and I kept thinking to myself “neither of us want that honey.” I didn’t want things to get awkward but the pressure continued to build and I got more and more uncomfortable. If she didn’t kill me then internal methane poisoning probably would.
This is why I love my brain. At this point I started to justify letting it rip.
“It’s totally natural. She can’t hold it against you.”
“You know how in Italy it’s a compliment to the chef if you burp after a meal? Maybe massage therapists take it as a compliment if you let one fly during a session? Maybe?”
“Ryan, this is a life or death situation. LET. IT. GO!”
I couldn’t do it. All the justification in the world couldn’t get me to fart in front of this stranger even though I had no problem being practically naked in front of her. (I may need some help from a professional to help sort this out).
After the massage ended she stepped outside and I changed my clothes (and passed gas obviously). I lived through it! I was cautious not to celebrate just in case she ambushed me on the way out, but as soon as I got to my car, I was a very happy man.
That night when I went to sleep my back felt amazing.
Maybe there’s a lesson in there about how being taken out of our comfort zone can be totally worth it in the end. I’m not sure. I’m still trying to resolve the whole nudity vs. flatulence dilemma.