I told Denis that I wasn’t just some wussy when it came to massage. He could get right in there. I could take it.
He grinned. “We’ll see.”
I don’t know why I felt the need for this show of courage. After all, Denis is the expert; he’d be able to judge what my body needed. So why the swagger?
I’ve had a few massages in my time, from Shiatzu at the mall, to hot stone massage in the open air studio at the Wickinninnish Inn in Tofino (yeah, I know. Lucky girl.) But this was the first time I’d ever had a massage with (gasp!) a man! Would it be weird? Awkward?
The answer? No.
I’d been doing some serious life renovation in the weeks prior to my massage with Denis: new house, new job, new relationship… When I change my world, I like to go big. But change, even for the better, is stressful. My back was a mess. Shoulders up around my ears. Discomfort in my hip, inciting a barrage of “geriatric girlfriend” jokes from my new, much younger boyfriend. Sheesh.
But don’t cry for me, South Granville. I mean, I work at a massage studio.
Denis did a full body massage, though he focused on my upper body. We did a lot of Yoga-like moves, with me breathing in for a count of seven, and exhaling while he gently stretched out my muscles. “Do you do Yoga?” He asked.
“Yes.” Was my immediate, slightly defensive reply. Then after a pause: “But not as much as I should.”
Bet he hears that a lot.
By the time he’d reached my lower back, I’d dropped the superhero routine. This was “me” time; I didn’t have to impress anyone. Denis’ hands are strong, and at times the massage was deep and slightly intense, though he regularly asked how the pressure was. Just before the end of my hour, he put my earlier braggadocio to the test.
“Okay,” he said, “This might hurt a little, but it will really help.”
“Right, I’m ready.” I was rolled over onto my back by then, so I put on my brave face.
He moved his fingers down my collar bone slowly, from the throat area towards my shoulders. Woah. Little fireworks of pain exploded along my neck, and I worked to keep breathing normally.
“That okay?” He asked.
“Yeah,” I croaked. Brave face.
And when it was over, release. Muscle release. Stress release. Much like my experience with Lori, I felt almost giddy afterwards, giggling with the therapists at the front desk before I left. I felt so relaxed and positive the next morning, I sent Denis a little email, even though I was going to see him at work. If you have a massage story or testimonial you’d like to share, we’d love to hear it!