Forget the Anniversary, It’s Time for a MANNIVERSARY!

I know that everyone from health experts to athletes swears by the benefits of massage therapy these days.

And while I mostly more or less believe everything they’re saying, I’ve just never been real comfortable with the idea of having a complete stranger rubbing their hands all over me.

Maybe I have aphephobia or something or maybe it’s Catholic guilt run rampant.  In any event, it’s been 10 years since I had one but Anne finally convinced me that we should do a couple’s massage at a spa for our anniversary last weekend.

Here’s my 6 point over-view of that experience:

  1. When we checked in at the spa, the gal at the desk asked “Would you like a male or female massage therapist?”  Anne quickly answered, “Oh, it doesn’t matter either way.”  I said, “Uh, actually, it matters to me.”  Having a stranger rub oil all over me is unsettling enough.  Having some guy named Butch do it might ruin the rest of my weekend.
  2. In order to ensure a relaxed frame of mind the spa attendant gave me a robe and told me to strip down to “whatever you feel comfortable in”.  My first thought was “I’d feel comfortable keeping all my clothes on and heading over to the nearest sports bar.  Is that an option?” 2 minutes later I’m sitting on a leather couch in a small living room style holding area dressed only in my underwear and a robe, sipping wine and nibbling at a cheese plate.  Somewhere in Pittsburgh, my Grandfather is spinning slowly in his grave.
  3. Next stop is the therapy room itself where I’m asked to lay face down on a heated massage table with my face resting in a donut shaped hole that supports my head and neck while still allowing me to breathe, which is pretty savvy from an ergonomic design kinda standpoint.  I can’t be the first guy who’s ever thought that a massage table would be A LOT more comfortable if they had a similar cut-out portion about waist high in the middle of the table, can I?
  4. I get that the whole idea of a massage is to envelop you in relaxation, but what is it with the new agey music in the therapy room?  I can’t be sure but I think the CD we were listening to was called “Minor key death dirges for lute, oboe, and chop sticks”.  This did not assist me in my attempt to be relaxed.
  5. The two massage therapists, both women it should be noted, asked Anne and I which scented oils we’d like used during our massage:  teaberry, coconut, lotus, haibiscus, earth, or jasmine?  I said “I’m feeling a little emasculated at this point.  Do you have a massage oil that smells like nachos and Monday Night Football?”  Other than me, no one found this funny.
  6. Once we picked our scented lotions, the therapist started the massage which, as you may have figured, involves a lot of touching.  My therapist said “You feel really tense.  Just relaaaax. I won’t bite.”  Relax?  I’m being rubbed down by a strange woman and my wife is 8 inches away from me being rubbed down by yet ANOTHER strange woman.  If I dressed up like a repair man and we worked a broken copy machine and Ron Jeremy into the scene, we’d be starring in a B-Grade Porno film.  How can I be expected to relax under these circumstances??


So after 90 minutes of wrestling with my own issues, anxieties and neuroses, the massage ended and Anne said, “So, what’d you think?”

I said, “I thought it was just great.  But next year for our Anniversary we’re drinking luke-warm Budweiser at a WWF Cage Match, followed by an afternoon of Wild Game Hunting and a NASCAR race.

Screw the traditional Anniversary.  I call this the “MANNIVERSARY”.

As you’d expect, Anne didn’t find this funny.

And that is, of course, why they put “for better and for worse” right there in the wedding vows.



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