Tuesday, 26 February 2008

The art of massage

I love a good massage. I will get one whenever the opportunity arises,
preferably an hour long, full body jobby - it's one of my indulgences
along with handbags and shoes. I'm aware that for some people, the
idea of getting mostly naked, lying on a table and having every limb
rubbed quite vigorously is less than appealing but for me, I can think
of no better way to spend an hour and upwards of £40 of my money.

For that hour, I relish the calm, relaxing atmosphere, I let my mind
switch off and enjoy someone else get rid of the aches and pains after
a week sat at a desk in front of a computer. Given the fact that small
things tend to annoy me, namely external noises that you are subjected
to on a day to day basis; mindless, polite talk; sniffing and yapping
of food - it should be of no surprise to you that above all, I love
that for one hour I can hear nothing but the sliding of oil on skin
and Dance of the Whales or whatever seaworld-esque CD is playing in
the massage room. It's always something like that..birds chirping or
panpipes of some description. Anyway- It's quiet and it's the one
situation I don't mind an awkward silence, because it's still silence.

This unfortunately is where massages tend to be a bit hit and miss for
me. You could have the nicest, most interesting girl in the world
giving you a superb back rub - but you know what? I don't want to know
about it. I walked into the beauty reception area at the health spa
for my 10am massage on Sunday morning, took one look at the girl
assigned to me and knew she was going to be a talker. First off, I am
never at my most sociable pre-12pm, and secondly, I just wanted to lie
there and shutdahellup.

The most favourable situation is when there is a kind of
"introductory" small talk sesh. Here it is established that both of
you are fine, thank you; she is going to leave me for a few minutes
while I strip off and lie under this towel, she asks how much pressure
I'd like, I reply and then no other words are spoken apart from 'if
you'd like to turn onto your front, please'. I'm aware this post is
sounding more and more like a trip to a brothel, but please - bare
with me. I remember when I was younger and the masseuse actually told
me to be quiet (although in a polite way: I started telling her about
my dog and she said "just relax", so I shut up)...again sounding a
little bit brothel like, so I think I'll move on.

But my heart always sinks a bit when the small talk continues once
they've started the massage. In truth, I couldn't give a rats arse how
many years training at beauty school they've had to do, what they had
for dinner last night or where they met their boyfriend. On Sunday
morning, my masseuse C.C (Chunky Charlotte) did the obligatory "Are
you enjoying your stay", followed by "Have you come far to get here?"
and before I knew it we were talking about where she could buy a car
like mine, insurance and the ins and outs of TV production. To begin
with, I would answer the question (eyes shut) and override the
politeness rule in my head yelling at me to 'ASK HER SOMETHING BACK
YOU MEANIE!'. Alas, she would once again see it as an awkward silence
to be filled and enquire what I did for a living. What my boyfriend
did for a living. Where I lived. Where he lived. Eventually I gave in
and I spent the hour being little more than tickled while I relayed my
life story.

I think maybe it's a professionalism that comes with age, the younger
the person massaging, the more they tend to talk but still, I wish
they taught them How to Take the Hint as part of their beauty school
training. On rejoining the boyfriend in the jacuzzi, he asked how the
massage had been. "It was ok. She talked though" He hugged me and told
me everything would be ok. It was emotional.

So where do I stand? Evidently I like to speak my mind, but I can
never bring myself to say "Actually, could we not chat? I just want to
relax" even when I'm paying for the pleasure.

C.C left the room with a guide to buying, insuring and selling a car.
I left feeling like the only thing that had been massaged was my
voicebox and ego. Humph.


Reluctant Blogger said...

Awww how lovely of the boyfriend to surprise you like that. He sounds wonderful

As for the talking thing. I am the same. I loathe being talked at, at the hairdresser or anywhere. I think age makes people more forthright though as I just ask people to be quiet - I try to be friendly about it but I'm not sure I always pull it off.

James said...

Give me my comment back Blogger... No it wasn't my fault... Well you never warned me you would wipe the comment if I clicked on that... No I can't just write it out again... Why not? It is the principle that's why... What do you mean I could of rewritten it by now, instead of standing here arguing... Don't you dare walk away... Huff!!!

(sorry Jo, I hate rewriting comments - it wasn't very good anyway)

Hannah said...

Urgh - I'm TOTALLY with you on that one. I have no problem nattering away when I'm having hair ripped from various bits of my body, but massage is definitely Quiet Time. Have you tried feigning sleep?

(PS: Dating a masseur? SO the way to go...)

Boy said...

I really want to go for a massage, but as I'm sure you can imagine, googling "Massage Parlour Manchester" does not end well.

Can totally understand on not wanting to talk though. I would just be rude and tell her to shurrup.

arbyn said...

I really like how your post got really awkward and then came back around again.

Very entertaining (although sorry about C.C... I find I have the same experiences at the hairdresser).

Bec said...

I am one of those for who the thought of a massage in a nightmare. I know they don't care but I would be constantly worrying about my many many wobbly bits!

But, yes, the talking. The talking must stop.

Clarissa said...

Arrrrghhhhhhh is right! That SUCKS.
It's the same for me when I get my haircut -- I just want to enjoy the experience, the touching, the pampering ... sometimes they get it; sometimes they don't and yap away. But a massage, for Christ's sake! SHUT UP!

London-Lass said...

Yes I too wish I could use a `pipe down no-one's wants to hear you talking bollox, least of all me!!' type comment, but just cant ruddy seem to. You are therefore destined to always having vaguely annoying chats with masseuses whilst I am forever fated to having to endure cab drivers from hell.

Jo said...

reluctant - He is rather wonderful, apart from when he farts. Not so wonderful then. Hairdressers are definitely the worst for chatting about innane stuff. It's like stop talking about where I'm going on my summer holiday and cut my hair - bloooody hell.

James - I'll take your word for it. Try harder next time!

Hannah - I tried a lot of Mmmms and Oh I'm so tired and shutting my eyes, hoping she'd get the hint, but no go :(

Boy - try "beauty salon", you might have more luck :D

arbyn - I suppose if I got anything out of the experience, it was a blog post. Poor you for your hairdresser.

bec - One of my mates can't stand the idea of a massage. She's really funny about it.

Clarissa - Exactly! I was wondering if they just keep talking to clients, with everyone they massage getting pissed off, until someone tells them "sorry, can we not chat?" Maybe just ignoring is the way to go, but I'd feel so rude.

londonlass - Haha yes - it's the same deal, you just want to be alone with your thoughts...not Chatty Mc Chatterson asking how your day went. This is Britain goddammit, why can't we be reserved and quiet ALL the time?

survivingmyself said...

i know i already said this, but i am truly pleased with everything about this blog.

yes. really.


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