(Before we start: No matter how much I try, the text editor will not make the quotation marks go the right way. I have made many attempts to fix this. I have given up. Please don’t hate me.)
START OFFICIAL POST:
I am beyond sick of Huff Post and Buzz Feed telling me what to “just don’t” do. So maddening!
I’m ashamed, but I’ll tell you though, I’m a total sucker for headlines telling me how to be cool. Or at least to not be a total loser.
The need to know is ferocious. I just can’t scroll past 21 Things Truly Annoying People Will Understand!
Because I might be annoying. Actually I probably am annoying. Oh my God. I’m probably annoying. I don’t want to want to know. But I can’t not know. No, I must know for sure!
Sad truth is, reading this junk is a total guilty pleasure of mine. Worse, I guiltily thought it would be fun to write one of my own.
I’ve seen them written by massage therapists. I don’t agree with their rules, though. I agree with mine. So here are my rules, along with some highly guarded secrets. Read ’em and weep :-)
10 Things Your Massage Therapist Wants You to Know (If I am Your Massage Therapist)
1.You caught me. It is absolutely true that I am sometimes in my room with the In Session sign up. By myself. No client. No session. The sign and I are lying to you.
Can we just say I am in my own session?
I am shoveling a Southwest Salad from Dash Cafe into my face with one hand. The other hand is returning texts and emails. It isn’t soothing or healing. There are wrappers on the table and I am trying to get rid of them before your appointment. (Or before you knock on the door.)
Please don’t knock on the door. I will be very quiet and hope you go away until I am ready. Or I will open the door and you will see the wrappers, and Tangy Lime dressing on my face. Don’t make me hide from you. Just stay out out there. I’ll come get you when I and my room are clean.
Am I a little late? Please consider whether or not I am a person who is largely generous with her time. And then have mercy.
2. Yes, I take naps on the table sometimes. You must realize that I am aware that my own table is comfy and the music is dreamy. You have to know that after I eat my Southwest Salad, sometimes the heated blanket or the cool AC, the lavender, the Enya is just all too much for me to ignore. I set my alarm and get in a solid 20 minutes. (Unless someone knocks on the door.)
3. When you thoughtfully bring me a yummy treat, I don’t bring it home. I don’t put it out on a plate to share with my other clients. I don’t share it with anyone.
I can’t wait to eat that thing! Chances are I didn’t plan my food properly that day, and all I’ve had since breakfast is a handful of almonds and a latte.
I am very grateful to you…and also sadly wishing I could devour whatever you brought me when I go out to wash my hands.
The only reason I don’t do that, by the way, is because of how it would look. If it were polite to do so, I would take it with me into the bathroom while you get changed. I would put up an “In Session” sign on the door so I could inhale your kind gift without interruption.
And you’d be lying there naked, “La dee da, ok where is she?”
Know with 100% surety, though, that when your session is over, I will be immediately chomping that snack. If you forget something and come back and knock on the door, when I open it you will most probably see the wrapper on the floor and a noodle stuck to my chin.
4. This may seem a little mean. Should I say it? Yes. It’s not that mean. Ok:
It’s the tight buns (no, hair buns) and the two severe Heidi-braids. Of course I am a service professional so I will always acquiesce to your hairstyle. And I get it. They are good ideas on the surface. Get the hair out of the way, right? (I suppose, but at what expense?)
Truth is, those things really suck to work with.
The way they make weird bumps and hold the hair tight at the neck. There is no place to hold that doesn’t pull your hair. (I’d like to), but that wouldn’t be very nice and also you wouldn’t come back to me.
Just kidding. I don’t as much want to pull your hair as I want to do my job well and unencumbered. Especially if your neck or head hurts, please give me half a chance and leave your hair out.
5. Ok, this one is gross, but I’m going to tell you. You won’t believe it, but it has happened. It’s not even that gross, yet it is. Somehow just wrong. Ok, here it is:
You may not ask me to scratch you.
Eeewww, see! I told you!
In massage we have “techniques.” They are called things like effleurage and myofascial release. There is not one single word in the massage therapy lexicon that means in a fancy or physiologic way “to scratch.”
Now I see how it would make sense. There I am. There’s the itch. Why wouldn’t I just bend my knuckle that one little inch so the nail is in proper position?
Don’t pretend you don’t know why. It’s because it just isn’t right. You know it and I know it. Never ask this, or hint mildly at it. Just no.
In all fairness this has only happened to me one time, six years ago. But still it happened, and the discomfort of that moment is forever etched upon my mind.
Whenever someone says, (in all innocence, I mean we’re all human, right?) “Hang on a sec, my shoulder is itchy,” you can know, even with your eyes closed, that I will be backing awaaayyy from the table.
Yes ma’am go ahead and scratch that shoulder. I’m over here at arms length till you get that taken care of. I’ll be back when it’s over. Take your time. Just leave me out of it.
6a. Guys, those long boxer brief things might seem like a great thing to wear for a massage. I can totally see that. In theory.
I guess they’re ok. Sort of. Better than Heidi-braids anyways. But dang those things are too long!* Actually if you don’t care that the massage ends where the end of the leg hole ends, then it’s fine with me.
I try to hike them up a little but they’re skin tight by nature, so that usually doesn’t go well. I’m tugging and yanking, cutting off your circulation, trying to be smooth.
And you’re probably like, omg stop with that hitching and hiking and whatever you’re doing that is so the opposite of relaxing.
I’m not complaining here. It’s more like a friendly PSA. Wear ’em if you want. I just think the massage will be better if I can reach your hamstring tendon which is just under the butt where it attaches to the leg. Those long-ass things cover half your hammies.
Especially sad if you’re a cycler or runner. I hear them crying, those poor upper hamstrings, “What about me!!! I do all the work and I get nothin’!”
Again, this is all between you and your legs, but I’m just sayin’.
6b. Your necklace goes into this category, too. Leave it on if it doesn’t bother you, the fumbling and trying to avoid smashing the chain into your neck, failing at that, getting my fingers caught in it, silently cursing…just basically doing a subpar job on your neck.
I’m sad for your neck but it’s not my neck, and so none of my business. (Tell me, though. Is it a clasp problem? I will help you. True, it may be a little awkward, me helping with your necklace, but it’s still ok. Definitely still within range of normal limits. Nowhere near the same as the itch-scratching thing.)
7. Up next, truly touchy subject. It’s not more about undies and itches, either. It’s worse. We all have this one at least once in awhile: Good Hair.
I cry silently to myself when you tell me to not touch your hair. Don’t think I’m not thinking, “Yay! More time to battle that gnarly knot in your back that’s been there since high school.”
Because I am. This is not about me, though.
I’m thinking of you, your neck and headache if you have one, to be more precise. I can’t bear to cut off your head!
I do understand your problem. I know that deceitful people like me say, “Don’t worry I won’t get oil in it.” Then we do. Every time. I get it.
I just hope you and your fresh blowout will be able to look your poor neck muscles in the face. Remember, they too have waited weeks for this massage. They’re standing in line. Waiting patiently. Just a couple more ahead of us. We’re almost in!!!
Then nope. Cut off by the bouncer. The disappointment is palpable. Left out and who knows when will be the next chance. And what if they wait weeks or months again only to be rejected again. So unfair.
Please just do me the favor of reminding them who the bouncer was that shut them out. (Not me.)
8. Remember how all the other massage therapists told you “Don’t help. Let me do the work.” Ok. It’s not that simple but don’t worry. I’m going to tell you exactly how this works.
“Don’t help” is, yes, accurate when I am arranging your limbs, the bolster, the drape. The reason for this is (sorry) not because you have paid to have your limbs arranged with no effort on your part.
The reason is this: Because your eyes are closed, you can’t see how many times my face is quite close to your knee.
If you kick your knees up in the air unexpectedly, presumably to lighten my load, bless your heart, chances are my face will get in the way of a hard knee bone.
If you just let me do it, I can see where my nose is in relation to your kneecaps. I will lift them the right height so as to avoid injury. Please don’t help.
Now here’s the tricky part, the exception:
If I have attempted to lift your knees (possibly a sound has come out of me like “hummph” or “ugh”) and your legs are still flat on the table, this means that I am possibly not strong enough to lift your legs. Here we don’t have to adhere indiscriminately to the no helping rule. Please help me.
What I mean by help is this:
Please GENTLY bend your legs. That is, raise your knees slowly, just enough to let me get the bolster under them. That’s it. Just a little. Just enough so that they are not dead weight like tree limbs. Of a sequoia. Thank you.
9. Here’s another friendly PSA.
I do not give a rat’s ass about the following:
Your cell phone going off. Hair on your legs. Farting. Begging to pull the sheet around you and run out to pee. No need to say sorry for any of these things.
(I only care when I’m the hairy, scaly one getting a massage. Funny how that works, isn’t it?)
Here’s the one thing to definitely NOT do, though:
At the end of your session, don’t burst out the door (where I am waiting and could possibly be hit) after you’ve changed your clothes, dashing for the bathroom because you’ve been desperately holding it for the last 45 minutes.
That would mean you’ve wasted $72.50 of the $145 you paid for your 90 minute session, unable to relax for having to pee!
Plus, I’ll feel like the algebra teacher everyone hated sophomore year who refused to give out the hall pass because she was sure we just wanted to go smoke or make out with our boyfriends.
Just ask. I’m free and easy with the hall pass.
10. Lastly, another lie, or at least another time I don’t say exactly the truth: When we’re done I always say, “Take your time getting off the table.”
That is kind of the truth.
This is exactly the truth:
Take a few deep breaths and stretch for a minute before you get up. Don’t trip over your jeans because you’re slightly sedated but speeding around nontheless, trying to be super quick. (Thank’s for that effort, though!)
Slow down and fluff up your hair or whatever, but here’s the thing. Don’t wander around getting a drink and checking your texts.
Don’t leave me waiting on the other side of the door…on alert in case you burst through it, to avoid injury…wondering if you fell asleep.
While you are “taking your time getting off the table” for this long, I am undoubtedly getting nervous that my next person will arrive before you’ve arranged your Uber, emailed work, and texted your mate about Thai instead of sushi for dinner.
I’m dreading the next person coming up to knock on the door. But there I am in the hall. (Then there we both are, standing awkwardly in the hall, staring at the “In Session” sign, silently daring each other to knock.)
Let me back in! You can hydrate and type while I run your card. (Takes me long enough to get the swipe right anyways. Ha ha kudos. You got me there!)
Well, there it is. You know all my secrets! Oh wait, there’s one last thing:
11. Next time you come clomping up the stairs in your braids and boxers…feeling slightly self-conscious because of this post…just don’t! I hope you’ll forgive me for having a little fun at your expense.
After all, consider:
1. It takes me six swipes to make your credit card go through.
2. You have caught me, lounging behind my “In Session” sign, commenting on your Facebook status 11 minutes after your appointment was supposed to have started. And then the horrifying text: “Wait, Lisa, did you forget me?” Omg, embarrassing. (p.s. If I am 13 minutes late, you have every right to break rule #1 about door knocking!)
3. I’ve proudly put the finishing flourish on your awesome 60 minute massage…that was supposed to be 90.
4. Oh, and spent all day on your right leg when the left was hurting.
5. My gosh I even run to the bathroom in the middle of your sessions!
Maybe next I’ll write a just don’t about myself or your massage therapist. I’ve got a good start, but can you add to it? What uncool things do we do (besides writing “just don’t” posts, especially with the quotation marks going the wrong way)
Email me, or text! For real. I’m not afraid :-)
All kidding aside:
*(from #6, about the boxer briefs) I have said to any concerned client, and I repeat here, that I will do your massage easily and happily without your removing a single stitch of clothing if it will make you more comfortable to do so. This includes long boxer briefs. In this post I am assuming you have not chosen the boxer briefs specifically for modesty. If you have, please know this then does not apply to you and accept my apology for any discomfort this topic may have incited.