A few months ago, a young woman scheduled a massage with me at Flic Spa. She was charming and bubbly, and since I love both charm and bubbles, we struck a conversation right away.
I learned about her aches – in her muscles, her job, her relationship. Being loquacious, I obliged her with my own stories, which I thought would make me a kindred spirit.
To my horror, she gave me, and the spa, a one star review! She said that her therapist had talked too much, which made the massage mediocre. She even added a photo of her charming and bubbly self, I figured so she could stare accusingly at me.
“How on earth could I have just talked and talked,” I told Oliver. “I mean, she kept answering and then asking questions. She never said she wanted me to shut the eff up!”
Oliver listened quietly. “You talk too much,” he said. “Shut the eff up!”
“It’s ‘please, kindly, shut the eff up!’”
Oliver probably never said those exact words, since he has very nice manners, thank you very much. I just choose to remember them this way, the perfect ammunition for our future fights. About my talking too much.
There are places where people are expected to talk. At a psychologist’s office; at a police interrogation room. People talk to bartenders, their tongues loosened with liquor. At Flic Spa, I try to make my clients comfortable through the art of conversation, both casual and dazzling (IMHO). Our first conversation will include this:
“Now, I’m stepping out of the room. Kindly place your clothing in that basket. Please get on the bed, face up, under the sheet.”
I admit, this is awkward and unusual. There you are, alone and vulnerable, waiting for another person – a total stranger -- to push on your body parts for an hour. It’s not every day you are asked to strip, unless you are an actual stripper. Or at the doctor’s. Or at your honeymoon. Some people don’t even need instructions. A client at Oliver’s old job had stripped naked in the exam room while waiting for the doctor. The eye doctor.
At Flic Spa, we offer complimentary services to help you relax. We serve you a foot soak in a copper bowl, with rose petals, essential oils, and a floating candle. We even serve hot tea to soothe your nerves. Yes, it’s a nice gesture on our part, plus it makes your feet nice and clean. Hopefully, you are put at ease, which makes our massage job easier, which is to put you even more at ease.
While I dry your feet, it is my duty to strike up a conversation, mainly to find out what muscles I should focus on. Sometimes I have clients who like to chat, and I am all ears! Sometimes, and shockingly early on, I hear confessions that make me want to set my hair on fire and run screaming from the room.
(And no, sorry, I’m not sharing those here. Everyone’s conversations with me during a session is sacrosanct, like the client-patient privilege stuff I learned on Law and Order reruns.)
Sometimes a client wants to hear about my own trials and travails and they ask me to keep on talking:
Really? You started a business with your husband after 17 years at a corporate job?
What was it like to be in a revolution?
You wrote a hit song?
Blah, blah, blah.
I remind them to get on the table so we can chew the fat during the session. I listen and respond, listen and respond. By the time I reach the back routine, the client is too relaxed to talk face down, and the face rest makes talking a chore.
Okay, but how do you get that loquacious therapist to shut the eff up? I mean, to please, kindly, shut the eff up? Here it goes: Just say, “I’d love to chat, but I really want to enjoy the massage in silence, so I can focus on how wonderful it will feel.”
Trust me, we won’t take that personally. We have done enough massages to know this, and respect your feelings. Me? If you want me to shut the eff up during your 60 minute deep tissue, I have the singular pleasure of responding to you, “Read my blogs.”