CAR­RIE BICKMORE

needs to re­lax. Just don’t make her get a mas­sage.

Sunday Herald Sun - Stellar - - Contents -

I’m not con­vinced about re­lax­ation mas­sages. I get them in the­ory. Time away from the busy­ness of life, an hour to re­lax – they sound per­fect. But I never quite feel re­laxed. Maybe it’s the stranger run­ning their hands all over me. Or the water­fall music mak­ing me need to pee. Or per­haps it’s the headache I get from squash­ing my head into that tiny hole in the bed? What­ever it is, it’s not work­ing for me.

Re­cently, on a girls’ week­end away, my friend booked us “a sur­prise”. My in­ter­est was piqued. Was it a long lunch in the sun? A kid-free af­ter­noon of shop­ping? A fly­ing-trapeze les­son?

“I’ve booked us a mas­sage at a day spa,” she said. Cue my po­lite “Ohhh… that’s so lovely, how kind of you.” The truth is, I was gen­uinely ex­cited to spend the af­ter­noon with my gor­geous girl­friend. I couldn’t wait to catch up, re­lax, have a laugh… I’d just have to get through the hour-long mas­sage bit in the mid­dle .

We ar­rived at the spa and I qui­etly asked the re­cep­tion­ist if I could swap my mas­sage for a man­i­cure. Cue gasps from my friend who I thought couldn’t hear me. Good one, Car­rie, way to sound un­grate­ful. I quickly back­tracked and made up an ex­cuse about hav­ing a bad mas­sage in the past. So, off I stripped (never quick enough to avoid be­ing sprung by the masseuse as I grace­fully mount the ta­ble), lay my face in the saliva pit and spent the next hour run­ning through my to-do list. Or­gan­ise Ol­lie’s party; up­date the on­line gro­cery or­der; email my cousin; re­turn that dress… What a shame I can’t get this done right now. I’d feel much more “re­laxed” if I could tick some things off my list. And is it me, or are the rules of a mas­sage a bit am­bigu­ous? Should you be hon­est when they ask if it’s too hard or soft? Are you al­lowed to laugh if you break wind, or is that im­ma­ture? Do you pre­tend to sleep, or make small talk with ser­ine ther­a­pists? It’s stress­ing me out just think­ing about it. I know I’m in the mi­nor­ity. It seems ev­ery­one loves mas­sages. I of­ten buy mas­sage vouch­ers as gifts and the recipients are al­ways de­lighted. That re­minds me of the time I bought a mas­sage for my mum and some­how got roped into go­ing as well and ended up in a “cou­ple’s suite” where, af­ter our naked spa, we lay on beds a me­tre apart. For the next 90 min­utes Mum made noises a daugh­ter should never hear her mother make! She seemed to love ev­ery bit of it.

Then there was the time I bought an ex-boyfriend a mas­sage for his birthday. He re­turned from the par­lour act­ing weird and wouldn’t look me in the eye. Turns out I had ac­ci­dently sent him to a place par­tial to a “happy end­ing”. I had so many ques­tions: did he ac­cept the of­fer? How do they even make that of­fer? I didn’t even think those places ac­tu­ally ex­isted. For the record, he de­clined it ( so he said) and sprinted out of there as fast as he could put his Levi’s 501s back on.

Clearly mas­sages and me don’t mix. On pa­per they should. With work, two kids and a busy life, re­lax­ing is ex­actly what I need. On re­flec­tion, per­haps I am the prob­lem. Maybe I just need to learn to chill out and let go (and pee be­fore the mas­sage). I re­ally could do with some hot rocks and sooth­ing hands. I’m go­ing to book a mas­sage.

The Project,

“Am I the only per­son who finds ” mas­sages stress­ful, not re­lax­ing?

Car­rie co-hosts 6.30pm, week­nights, on Net­work Ten.

“The rules are a bit am­bigu­ous – are you al­lowed to laugh if you break wind?”

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