A friend of mine told me recently that I looked anxious, that I looked really tense. It’s true. I’m uptight. I’m uneasy. I’m 100 percent tense. What solo mother of four kids under age 11 isn’t?
It doesn’t help that I pulled a muscle in my neck a while back after I picked up and carried the dog across the grass. Don’t ask. There was a very logical reason for my picking up an 80-pound German shepherd, but that’s not the point.
I scheduled a massage in hopes that the pain in my neck and shoulder would magically disappear, that I might be able to turn my head from side to side at some point again. Although I am getting pretty good at popping Ibuprofens and having zero peripheral vision.
I’ve had a handful of massages over the years—I do not take this luxury for granted y’all. But I do think getting a massage is a funny, awkward thing, isn’t it? You are basically undressing for a stranger to rub all over you for an hour in the dark to the tune of soft woodwinds straight out of Mr. Miyagi’s karate dojo. And since I’m a single mother now and my body has not felt human touch or any interaction in quite some time, I’m coming in here pretty uptight.
While many people probably relax as soon as they slip under the warm sheets of this massage table, (I’ve heard some people actually fall asleep in a massage) I just can’t.
My mind hits me with everything I could possibly think of as soon as I hoist my half-naked body on the bed. I’m also the type of person who says stupid, inappropriate shit to anyone, so being in here at all is a real risk for a person like me.
Ok, relax, I tell myself. Your head is probably too far down on the table. Scoot up.
My head feels weird, cocked like this up here in this headrest thing.
Scoot the hell down.
Massage guy is here, just act normal.
My hair is wildly unkempt today and all over the place, I know. I’m growing it out and I forgot to wear a hairband.
Ok, his hands are strong and warm and I might cry because it feels so good to be touched—a real touch and not just a 6-year-old’s touch pulling your arm from its socket urging you to come look at the toad she just caught.
Don’t let him hear you breathe, it’s obnoxious.
“Yes the pressure is fine,” I say, when he asks, even though I really want to tell him, ‘Please… harder. Much harder. Crack my back and make it hurt.’
But I think that that might be offensive to say and will make me sound kind of desperate and creepy maybe?
Isn’t this a shit ton of oil to be using? I know it’s getting in my hair too, and I’m going to look like a greaseball when I hit up the grocery after this. I feel really slimy and it sounds slurpy and wrong. But my neck and back are telling me this is so right.
Just please don’t fart on him.
He feels that spot in my neck, the kinked part in the middle, on the right side. This is the part where every massage therapist seems to tell me how knotted and jacked up this area of my neck feels. Yes, I know. It’s from Over-Excessive-Holding-Things Syndrome. Many moms get it—in addition to purses, grocery bags, pool totes, (and those diaper bags of yesteryear) we carry everyone else’s shit on this side, too. ‘Mommy, can you hold this?’ is never answered with a ‘no.’
Ok sir, you are pinching and rubbing my neck while pulling my hair back to the side—because I didn’t wear a hairband, I know—and I could probably live here in this bed forever right here like this.
He’s doing all this touching and he doesn’t even want me to make him a PB&J or anything.
Half way through all this hand-to-body contact and I’m thinking we are pretty much dating at this point…
Uhhh. That feels good.
Wait, did I think that or say that out loud? Don’t you dare say anything the hell out loud.
Ok he’s rubbing really low now. I’m sure he can see the top of these JC Penny panties under this drape thing and they probably aren’t the fanciest I could have pulled from the drawer this morning.
Please don’t fart.
Wonder if he can tell I am rocking a pretty badass muffin top. I’ll go workout tomorrow, I silently promise him… and myself.
Lord, I hope he doesn’t massage my butt– my glutes– whatever. It’s just another muscle right?
Shit, did I shave my legs? I swear I shaved in the last 12 hours I promise, but the rubbing is making every god-forsaken hair on my entire body stand up. You can probably tell by my goosebumps you are killing it with me right now, dude.
Wait, what if this guy gets a … Oh my god, you are such an idiot. Don’t flatter yourself.
This is a professional massage therapist who has rubbed all over plenty of bodies, I’m sure that you and your ugly panties are the farthest thing from… this guy’s thing… err mind.
But just don’t relax too much or you’ll fart.
Halfway through, he lifts a corner of the sheet and tells me to turn over and I suddenly feel like Shamu the orca beached up on shore.
Oh god, did he see my boob?
Dude, I’m sorry. But you should probably know, these boobs were the shit back in the day.
These puppies have breastfed four babies and weathered two different breast pumps, so while they might be barely-B-cups– they are my battle scars of 11 years worth of motherhood and I’m pretty proud I’ve still got anything in here.
But seriously, this blanket covering my boobs is hideously thin. Can’t he turn up the bed warmer?
Don’t open your eyes, you’ll look so weird if you make eye contact.
Think of something happy so you have a pleasant smile on your face. Oh god, you look maniacal! Stop smiling. What are you, the Joker?
He is cradling my head now and all I can think is how heavy and big my stupid head probably feels.
Why couldn’t I have a smaller head?
Natalie Portman has a good size head, I think. Not this f-ing pumpkin on a popsicle stick head like mine.
Uhh. That. Feels. So. Good.
He could seriously snap my neck right now if he wanted to, though.
I hope he isn’t having a bad day. Maybe he’s grown tired of rubbing all over touch-starved, 40-something-year-old women with way too much hair.
Please don’t snap my neck, dude.
I wonder if there’s a hidden camera in here—to catch the hilarity of grown women farting, probably? Maybe there is, right? Like when those shady tanning salons in the 90s got busted for peeping at women through cameras in the ceiling tiles. I open my eyes to look at the ceiling.
Close your eyes, dummy, he’ll think something is wrong and he’ll stop rubbing.
Please don’t ever stop rubbing me, sweet massage therapist guy.
Soon he stops rubbing.
“Our time is done,” he says. “How did that feel?”
That couldn’t have possibly been an hour. I swear he changed the clock while my eyes were closed.
I’m totally checking the clock when he leaves. I don’t want to get up. Please don’t make me leave.
“Thanks so much,” I whisper, while still laying flat (because I literally can’t move my whale body back up or over at this point). “I’m so glad I didn’t fart.”
Andrea Remke lives in Northern Kentucky. She has a degree in communications and journalism from Saint Mary’s College, South Bend, Ind. She is finding her way as a newly-widowed mother of an 11-year-old, twin 8-year-olds, and a 6-year-old. She is a freelance writer at www.kymomtotwinsandmore.com. Find her on Facebook and Twitter.