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?"
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.