Undress to your comfort level.
That’s what she said to me. And you’d think that would be an easy enough instruction to follow. If I were, say, waiting for the train to come. And somebody said to me “undress to your comfort level” I would probably not move a muscle and continue to enjoy my fully clothed existence.
Whereas, if I happened to be in dressing room of the Victoria’s Secret fashion show and one of the models said to me “undress to your comfort level” I would shed my clothes like they were made of bees.
But the person who told me to undress to my comfort level was actually a masseuse, and I was about to get a massage from her. She had just brought me into the room when she said it.
Undress to your comfort level. Take your time. Then get under the blanket face down. I will be right back.
I typically don’t do well with instantaneous options that involve me selecting the best course of action.
Had she said “Keep all of your clothes on, put on this winter coat, and then lay under this down comforter with your arms straight out like you are superman,” I would have readily complied because she is the expert and she told me what to do.
Just like if she had told me to strip naked and get under the covers and hum the star spangled banner until she came back, I would have also been OK with that because once again, professional giving me instructions I can handle.
But she had given me an option and I had no idea how to react because I wasn’t sure the correct protocol. I didn’t want to immediately strip naked and have her start massaging me and think I was some kind of a pervert.
But just recently I had received a massage in Fiji where I had showed up in my bathing suit and the woman just told me to get under the blanket and that was that.
Not wanting to go too far I left my boxers on, got under the blanket, and waited for her to come back to the room and judge me.
But somehow getting under this blanket without being completely naked seemed just a little bit off.
And immediately after she started massaging me, I felt like a prude, a nerd, a completely clueless buffoon. Like that kid at the public pool that wore his underwear under his bathing suit or somebody who wears a helmet while riding a bicycle built for two.
Actually just riding the bicycle built for two is enough on its own.
But it was too late. Because the only thing you really can’t do during a massage is stop your masseuse halfway through and say:
Actually, you know what? I think I want to take my underwear off for this.
That’s a great way to end up in jail.
But I had other things to worry about, mainly the fact that the Malaysian food I had consumed the night before that had given me heart burn might make an unwelcome appearance if I was massaged in just right (or wrong, for that matter) way.
It was at that point that I also realized I was glad I stuck with the basic Swedish massage as opposed to any of the upgrade options the nice woman at the front desk provided me with. I was certainly glad I didn’t indulge in any of the ones that involved a “flogging.”
And there were several.
There are certain things in my life I rarely volunteer to have done to me. Being flogged is one of them.
Even though several of the massages involved being “lightly flogged” and some included being feathered. Apparently that meant having a feather dragged light across your body to relax the central nervous system… or just confuse the hell out of you.
Somehow I knew that a feathering just wasn’t for me.
There was also one I could have chosen that would have involved 9 essential oils, coating me in sliced ginger and topped off by having my entire body “sugared.” When hearing this I almost wondered aloud if after it was finished I would also be popped into a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes until golden brown and tender?
But those worries were behind me and I was able to just concentrate on the massage itself, which was not too light or too painful. I had doubted myself when before the massage started my masseuse asked me “What kind of pressure” I liked.
Again, if she said I am rough, I would have said, oh OK, I get it, I’m ready, bring it on.
Or had she said I have the hands of a lily, again, I could have handled that. But the fact that she asked me what I wanted, made me panic.
I didn’t want to say go easy on me.
Yes please, take it easy on the pale kid who is afraid to exit his underwear.
I also didn’t want to say, please, abuse me. Make me pay for my sins. Because in my limited experience with massages I have found it better to say, “ow” as opposed to, “COME ON YOU SISSY. PUT YOUR BACK INTO IT!”
In my opinion, challenging somebody who spends 8 hours a day everyday pushing their thumbs deep into other people’s flesh to step it up is a whole bag of not good.
But all in all it went well. I didn’t cry. I didn’t break wind. And I managed not to drool on her feet. All things that might have happened had I agreed to a flogging.