Monday, December 06, 2010

Moaners, Groaners, Boners and Stoners

We've got quite a cast of characters in this theater of the absurd known as massage. I've mentioned before that the intern massage room is a large space divided into smaller ones with a series of curtains on rings. The two most frequent sounds I hear are the rattle of the rings (sort of like a massive zipper effect) as someone enters their space and the wretched wrenching of plastic when a face guard isn't functioning properly.

But plenty of other sounds abound!

Moaners are those clients that -- once the effleurage has begun -- forget they are in public or simply don't care. They express their pleasure with sometimes muted (and sometimes not) "mmmmmmm"s and "yessssss, yessss". Usually they make me smile.

Groaners are hurting. We have a 64-year-old accupressurist from China in our class. His pressure is now legendary and his space tends to be the source of most of the groaners. I tell my clients that it's supposed to "hurt so good, not hurt like hell." He tends to get the ones who are game for hell. Groaners walking out of there are often heard sniffling as well.

Boners are not exactly a sound category unless you note the eery silence. I've had one guy (out of 95 client hours thus far) who didn't say a word but left me evidence of his pleasure on the massage table sheets. Since this is a bodily function that's just a fact of life, I tend not to be too concerned. Now the guy who asked me, after I had completed what to him felt like a tortuous range of motion/stretching sequence, "Are handcuffs next?" is another matter.

And finally, the stoners who, again aren't that much about the sounds, but rather the smell. Seems that lots of folks like to have a toke or a drink or maybe even several pills before they come for a nice, double-your-pleasure-massage. Problem is, they don't realize that whatever you have in excess in your system is going to come out of your pores. In the case of two of our clients the smell of weed was so prevalent that other clients were wondering if the therapists weren't off in a corner chilling. That prompted management to intervene and the sounds I heard were the swishing of the rings, the robotic "My instructor has advised me to terminate the session immediately. Please get dressed" and the pattering of feet as a troop of authority figures rushed the two downstairs for a refund and an escorted exit. In my own client base, I have a pill popper who gives off a metallic aroma that can't be masked any more than her constant fidgeting and lengthy tongue tied explanations of how a wreck a year ago continues to cause her constant pain.

One of the hesitancies I had when considering a massage license years ago was the fact that you often don't get to choose your clients and the concern that I would get one that would just be too difficult to deal with. "Hairy backs" said with a shudder was my punchline then. Funny. Now that I'm introduced daily to a new set of characters, I'm strangely intrigued. Like a theatrical experience without the stage and lights, clients mesmerize me as I walk them to the massage room door, discover more about their roles through touch and attention to sights and sounds, and then see the storyline resolved in 60 to 90 minutes.

To all our Moaners, Groaners, Boners and Stoners ... Bravo!

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