I was getting what was supposed to be a run-of-the-mill pedicure recently and long story short, I got intimate with a massage chair.
The whole whirlwind romance almost didn’t happen. I had never had a manicure/pedicure at this salon, so I was just meeting the nail tech, Jackie. Naturally I told her my entire life story and all fingernail and toenail related experiences, just to catch her up to speed. The fact that I got my first manicure when I was 40. My daughter’s criticism that I have an unhealthy attachment to the same shade of sheer, pale pink polish. My friend Robin’s infection-for-life from going to a bad salon in Florida. That time I got Black Plum on my toenails and wore it with orange sandals and it worked; it worked so hard. My disappointment in my last mani-pedi, in which the nail tech complained that I wasn’t “holding my hands right” until I seriously thought she was going to slap them with a ruler. And, of course, the time I went to a salon in Dallas for a simple pedicure and ended up getting an unsolicited neck massage from a creepy, small man.
“And, you know, I don’t let just anyone massage my neck,” I told Jackie. She needed to know this about me. “I have enough back and neck issues. I just don’t want some stranger creeping up on me touching me. I mean, seriously, dude, hashtag me too. Just paint my toenails and let me get the hell out of here.”
Jackie was duly outraged. She was scraping my cuticles and giving me some serious sisterhood sympathy.
I love manicures and pedicures. And not just because I’m new to the game. I have a short-haired dog and a haphephobic cat, so I rarely have the kind of intimacy that can only come from non-sensual, noncommittal, girl-on-girl touching.
So when Jackie said she was going to skip the hand massage, I had a small moment of panic.
“Because, you know, you don’t like massages,” she said.
“Oh, I don’t not like massages. I’m OK with you giving me one. In fact I’m looking forward to it. I want one. Please don’t make me beg.”
The hand massage was nice. I may or may not have moaned a little bit.
Then we got to the pedicure. I climbed into Captain Kirk’s actual chair from the set of Star Trek. Jackie snatched the remote out of my hand.
“You don’t want that. It’s an intense massage chair. Here let me unplug it, and . . . I’m just going to throw it a–”
“No, I actually like some massage chairs. Let me give it a try.”
I turned it on. And let’s just say it reciprocated.
Holy Hammer of Thor.
This chair had a rotation of about 35 different massage techniques that ran from my lower back to my neck. Although because I’m 6 inches shorter than the average human, it reached all the way up to my crown. The pulsating massagers felt impossibly like human knuckles. They inexplicably seemed to reach out from the chair around my sides. I fought off the urge to take my bra off and start humming sitar music.
This chair seemed to know every bad pillow I ever purchased from late night TV, every blog post I wrote with scrunched up shoulders because of a tense realization that I hadn’t thawed anything in time for dinner, both near whiplash accidents I had in my 30s, and the time I got stuck in the McDonald Fun House tube slide. (Seriously, those things are made for people without spines.)
This chair looked into my heart and whispered, “I heard about that creepy, small man who ruined you.”
The wedding has been moved up to June.