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