Massage Panic Therapy

I don't eat any gas-causing foods 2 hours before a massage. I also shower and then lotion my feet so they won't be chapped and gross during their few minutes of attention. The timing of a restroom visit beforehand is key, too. The way I see it, if you want a good massage, why not make the experience as pleasant as possible for all parties involved? I'm considerate that way. A tad uptight, but considerate.

It's my birthday and my wife arranged a professional massage for me.

"Kit" was my masseuse. Some people you meet look friendly at first sight and you feel like you know them from somewhere. Kit is one of those people. And she is a master of her craft. A petite Asian woman with a warm smile and knot-homing hands that I can only describe as incredible. More on them later.

She led me to a dim room. I heard soft music and trickling water and mouthed, "Thank God," when I remembered that I had already used the toilet.

Kit said, "You can hang your clothes there and then lay face-down there." She pointed to a door hook and the bed.

"Wait, Kit -should I take off everything?"

"Yes. You've had a massage before, right?"

"Yes, a year ago, but... okay," I said.

"I'll be right back," she said, and then closed the door behind her. The nakedness wasn't a problem for me. It's just that Kit couldn't have known about my recurring nightmare of walking through the shopping mall only to realize that I forgot to dress. Getting naked anywhere except home has to be a very deliberate act for me -every time -ask my doctor.

So I stripped. Got on the table face down and put my head in that comfy padded hole that looks like a reshaped headrest. Through it I saw my hands dangling and noticed my wedding ring. Crap, she's going to do my fingers too isn't she? I think can make it... I leapt from the table, dislodging the tucked sheet and pulling it halfway off. Don't cuss, she'll hear you. Then I couldn't decide where to put my ring so I tossed it into my shoe. I hope it's inside -it's so dim in here. I heard Kit's footsteps. I jumped back on the bed. Kit opened the door just as I pulled the sheet over my waist. I don't think she saw anything. At least she didn't show any signs of having seen my stuff. Her facial expression would have been unmistakable. Naaa, no woman could play that off. I relaxed.

I gotta tell you the massage was amazing and thorough. Kit's hands were strong, warm and she quickly found some pesky knots on my back that needed special attention. This introduced another concern of mine: While I wanted the knots worked out, I didn't want to cry out. I'm a man. She couldn't see my face so I clenched my teeth even though I know I'm supposed to be relaxing. You're going to shut up and take this because you need it, I thought. Kit kept kneading. I knew her elbow + upper-body weight was coming and it did, but she didn't hurt me. Only once, when Kit cornered a knot between her thumb and index knuckle, did my lips begin to form the phrase "Good Jesus in heaven have mercy..." And that wasn't taking our Lord's name in vain; it was a sincere, abbreviated prayer that was answered when Kit moved to my shoulders -which felt great.

Whew. She then pressed on the back of my neck and pushed my shoulder blade up at the same time. I felt it coming, but I couldn't stop it -this weird fart sound that escaped my throat. Don't laugh, don't laugh, don't laugh -she'll see your ribs flex, I thought. It was a bizarre sound I had never heard come out of me and could not reproduce no matter how hard I tried while my wife drove me home. (Sorry, Honey.) It was not a burp. It had no smell. It was like this angry, demonic air that Kit exorcised from my trachea. I sensed Kit's hands slow down for a moment. Oh no, did she hear it? Maybe not. But if she did will she mistakenly think it came from below not above? Wait---did she just sniff hard? Should I say excuse me? But that would be an admission of guilt -a stupid thing to do if she didn't hear anything. Just be quiet -and don't you dare start sweating.

I've got to cut this review short because of Yelp's 1000 word limit. I'll just say that after I got over myself, Kit had me so fully relaxed I felt like I'd had the best nap. She did a wonderful job and I think I'll increase my massage frequency to something more often than birthdays.

And Kit, if you were aware of any of my issues, thanks for keeping me in the dark. Oh, and it was accidental and from above, I swear.

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