Thursday, October 29, 2009

Full Body Proselytism

Ye Gods, but I need a massage. Seriously. The muscles in my upper back could deflect bullets right now, and the overall tension has started affecting my subconscious: Last night, I dreamt that I booked an appointment with a "licensed, professional" massage therapist, who instead turned out to be a creepy gynecologist. He made me submit to a series of x-rays, examined my back for a second, then berated me for asking to use the restroom and made me take out his garbage.

Repressed frustration or frustrated repression? You decide.

Several years ago, I was lucky enough to be a client of Greatest Massage Therapist of All Time (tm). Total teddy bear of a guy, Pagan, gay, could completely work this one knot out of my shoulder that most therapists can't even break into, just an absolute prince. In fact, here's a For Real picture of him:

I know, right? Sadly, he moved to New Orleans to be with his boyfriend and pursue his art career. Because true love and national recognition for one's creative endeavors are more important than my shoulder. Apparently.

After he left Houston, I spent many moons vetting new massage therapists, but I couldn't find one with whom I clicked. They couldn't quite get the crunchies out of my problem spots. Or they were crazy. Or they weren't crazy enough. One guy did a great job, but his studio was way the hell across town. Plus all the pot he smoked before sessions made him overly chatty, which did not particularly help me relax.

A few months back, I wandered into a chain massage company down the street from my apartment, and lo, finally met an adequate replacement therapist. Nice person, very intuitive, listened to my needs and adjusted his style accordingly. Sounds perfect, no? Um, no. A skilled and talented masseuse he may be, but... well, here's another picture:

Yeah. I should explain.

I was at the massage place, getting a nice, deep-tissue rubdown and teetering on the edge of consciousness, when my therapist went, "Hey, Evn?"

"Blurgh?" I responded, coming out of my coma. "What's up?"

"Can I ask you a question? I kind of need some advice."

"Sure..." I replied, still not quite awake but feeling a vague need for caution.

"Well, I recently met this girl, and I like her a lot. We've gone out a couple of times, and she seems to like me, too."

"Congratulations," I said.

We chatted about the girl for awhile, and I could tell that he really did like her, mainly because whenever he brought up one of her many favorable attributes, the pressure he was exerting on me went from "firm" to "interrogation technique." Eventually, he realized I wasn't yelping out of the sheer joy I felt now that he'd found a special someone. He apologized profusely and got back to his quandry.

"So, anyway, here's the thing. She used to go to church on a regular basis, but she feels like religion has... failed her. And I want to tell her about my religion and the church I attend, but I'm not sure how to bring it up."

"Okay... what religion are you?"

"Jehovah's Witness."

I thought for a moment. "I'd recommend letting her bring it up. When that happens, you can take the opportunity to share your beliefs with her."

He nodded. "Yeah, that's a good plan. Thanks! So, are you a religious person?"

Experience has taught me to tread carefully in these situations, so I mumbled something about being raised Episcopalian.

"And did the Episcopal Church... fail you?"

I don't think I've ever felt so naked in my life. Not just because I actually was naked (although that wasn't really a problem: I mean, hell, I'm Gardnerian), but because it was such a moment of helpless exposure. I was lying face down on a table, with this guy who could snap me in two towering over me, digging his fingers into my leg and gearing up to ask if I'm in the market for a new denomination. Awkward.

Oh, and by the bye, WTF is with the whole "... fail" thing? Does he have a freakin' script memorized?

I ended up telling him that the Church didn't fail me (it just fired me) as much as it wasn't the right place for me. I went on to say that I hold some deeply personal spiritual beliefs with which I'm extremely content. He caught my italics and didn't press further, and the session came to a close. Stress-free at last, I limped my way home.

And now I'm desperate for another massage. I've got an appointment booked this afternoon with a therapist I found through an online directory. His bio didn't mention a stance on organized religion, but regardless, I'm totally going to case his studio for the current edition of The Watchtower.


Pom said...

I'm thinking it was all a ploy he scripted to approach you about your beliefs and take you over to the dark side.

btw - congrats on your 69 (disciples)

Evn said...

LOL I'd love more followers, of course, but everyone's just so darn happy about the 69 thing.

Deborah said...

I think it is totally unfair that bears are just for the menz.

Evn said...

For what it's worth, I just found a couple of bisexual bears on Craigslist...

Debra She Who Seeks said...

Oh, PLEASE. A Jehovah's Witness doesn't know how to bring up the topic of his religion with his girlfriend??? They do nothing ELSE! And so he has to ask advice from a guy on the massage table???Pom is right -- you were SET UP, man! He was trying to SAVE YOUR SOUL!

Evn said...

Unfortunately for him, I'm already saving my soul. For my wedding night.

Matt Gerlach said...

Does he have a freakin' script memorized?

Yes, many Christians take hundreds of hours of intensive training on how to best proselytize while appearing to be merely friendly.

And why aren't you living in New Orleans now?! *confused face*

Thalia Took said...

I was gonna say, why aren't you in New England? The religious wackos, are, well, if not nonexistent, apparently much sparser up here. And in my state we have gay marriage and health insurance. And Salem, how could I forget! 'Course we have winter, too, and I could understand if that were a deal-breaker.

Did you let the masseuse, the masseuse's boss and/or the chain masseuse parlor company know exactly why they lost a paying customer? They might want to know these things. Or, rather, need to know these things so they might begin to get it through their thick heads that prosthelytizing to the customers is not a good idea.

(Is it wrong of me that when I see that pic of Jesus on The Watchtower cover I have a very strong urge to punch Him in the face?)

Also, just in case you didn't know: that masseuse guy acted totally inappropriately. No question. Talk about a captive audience! What an asshole!

Yewtree said...

Evn: My osteopath recommended standing against a wall with a tennis ball and rolling it up and down between your shoulder blades. It's awesome. NB - make sure to roll it either side of your spine, not on your actual spine.

Thalia: I'm pretty sure Jesus was a lot scruffier than that. He probably had a straggly beard and wild eyes. (Or didn't actually exist at all - take your pick.)

Deborah: How about re-enactors? They are furry and beardy.

Yewtree said...

But yeah, if Jesus did look like that, I'd totally punch him in the face, repeatedly.

I liked the Jesus made of chocolate. Which bit would you eat first?

I also like the black Jesus, queer Jesus, and female Jesus pictures.

Siobhan said...

double down on what thalia said -- both on reporting why the paying customer has left the building AND on moving to Massachusetts (even though I'm not there anymore, I miss it).

WVW: sedsm

Lisa said...

*tossing my hat in the ring*

If you move anywhere, it should be Seattle. Gay friendly, excellent culture, low weirdo rate, and I have the best massage therapist. (I, like you, have a slab of granite in my shoulder that resists relaxation and she makes it go away.)

Thalia Took said...

For me that Jesus picture is like the concentrated essence of everything I ever hated about Michael Landon. It's stupendous in its perfection, actually. Miraculous, even. Blergh.

And oh no, I am not falling for the old, 'Which delicious piece of Chocolate Jesus would you like to sample first?' bit; I know it's just a ploy to sucker me into some sort of chocolatey Communion, and after I'd had a bite they'd be all like, 'You're a Christian now!! Ha ha ha!! You've totally eaten of the body of Christ and you're hooked now! Your soul is OURS!!!"

So, no thanks.

Red Delicious said...


Evn needs to remain right where he is. His friends who live here would miss him too much.

In addition, there are many who live in Houston and surrounding, TX, who yearn for (ironically enough) a missionary such as he, a beacon of all that can be in their own lives if they learn to embrace who they are and stop living in fear of those around them.

I'm not saying he's supposed to save Houston from its ignorance, but think of the teenager in the suburban household in Fulshear who looks at his family, his classmates, and his community, and thinks to himself, can I be myself here?

Evn shows him that you can. To run away and live among the like-minded - that's fine, but knowing him like I do, I believe there's more will and determination in him than that.

(So, yeah, I think I just called you Batman.)

Lisa said...

It's true that my masseuse doesn't look at all like the hunk (o burning love) Evn proffered.

Ok, don't some to Seattle.

Siobhan said...

So I subscribe to follow-up comments. And as the comments to this post began landing in my inbox, google started offering me links on how to relocate to Houston. Just thought I'd share.