never mind the bedsocks

Chaotic Reflections From Woman on the Edge of a Hot Stone Massage Table

hot stone massage


The day I’ve been waiting for is finally here! I get to claim this year’s birthday present from my lovely grown-up daughter – a hot stone massage!

Blissful Anticipation

Having experienced a couple of these in the past, I have high expectations. It’s definitely my favourite type of massage, and for good reason. 

If you’ve never tried one, I can only liken it to being enveloped in a giant, luxurious, marshmallow blanket; a sort of womb-like cocoon.

Given that this is my idea of heaven, I start to wonder whether I ever really wanted to leave the womb in the first place.

It was just so damn cosy and snug in there, and I didn’t have to worry about paying the bills, being catfished, or whether my onesie made my bum look too big.

But there is no time to waste contemplating such matters. My appointment begins in less than an hour, so I’d better get going.

woman cocooned in the womb

Patchouli, Pubes, Ring Doughnuts and Pizza Dough

Having completed the obligatory greetings and niceties, I’m now lying almost fully naked on my front with my face pressed into a ring doughnut-shaped hole. 

Never having considered it before, I realise that the doughnut is actually an appendage to the massage table, rather than an integral part of it.

I know this partly because I can see the extension rods that attach it to the bed, but mostly because my chin seems to be resting on a very cold iron bar that is in no way padded. The doughnut must have been fitted to the bed incorrectly, perhaps in haste before my arrival.

massage table with face rest

I know I ought to say something, not least because the discomfort I’m feeling will surely negate the total peace, relaxation, and salvation from pain I am coughing up fifty quid for. But I don’t want the masseuse – let’s call her “Deborah,” for anonymity’s sake – to think that I’m complaining. I’m too British for that. It might hurt her feelings. But then again, I’m not sure I can tolerate the…

My thoughts are interrupted by Deborah’s deliberately dulcet tone, as she whispers gently, “OK, if you’re lying comfortably, I’ll begin.”

Whoosh! There it goes. Like the last night bus on a stormy winter evening. The final opportunity to let her know that, actually, I’m about as comfortable as Mike Tyson’s novice sparring partner.

chin resting on iron bar

What she had said wasn’t a question; it was more like a rhetorical statement. But I should have responded nonetheless. As I berate myself for not paying attention during those assertiveness classes years ago, she continues softly…

“OK, it’s time to let go of all the stresses and strains of the outside world. This hour is purely your time, and no one else’s. Allow yourself to switch off and relax. Clear your mind of all the mental clutter, and enjoy.”

I find myself wondering how an hour can be only mine and no one else’s (surely this is a question for quantum physics?), and I ponder whether she and I have entered some kind of Dr Who time warp.

But before this thought has a chance to develop further, my nostrils are assaulted with the unmistakable, overpowering scent of patchouli. As this sensual aroma collides with the musky tones of the jasmine incense, I am transported to an era of peace and love – a time when altered states of consciousness were invoked by psychedelic drugs, rather than the underhand tactics of politicians and manipulative efforts of the mass media.

older skin massage

As Deborah proceeds to apply copious amounts of patchouli oil to the backs of my pasty, freshly-shaved calves, I’m reminded that my skin has become extremely dry of late. She must be cussing that I’m costing her the earth in oil. The moment she applies it, my body absorbs it like a severely dehydrated, shrivelled rose bush in the scarce desert rain.

And dry skin isn’t the only thing I’m embarrassed about. Whatever does she think of my post-menopausal flab? Everything is so saggy. Nobody else ever sees these parts of my body unclothed, let alone touches them. In fact, I even resent having to do so myself when I’m taking a shower. She must surely be repulsed by the whole grisly experience. I bet it feels like kneading a huge lump of squishy pizza dough. 

Oh well, at least I’m lying on my front so she doesn’t have to bear witness to my jiggly jelly belly. Hurrah for small mercies.

Then again, she’s definitely a bit on the chubby side herself, so she can’t be too averse to a little excess flesh. I reckon she’s a few years younger than me though, so her flab is bound to be less saggy than mine. Blimey, it comes to something when you start considering whether non-saggy fat is more attractive than saggy flab. I wonder whether she gets depressed dealing with saggy, flabby bodies on a daily basis, knowing that it’s a sign of what’s to come for…

FUUUCK!!! What the fuckety-fuck was that?! Aaagggh, the agony! Don’t cry out loud. In fact, don’t even flinch. Just pretend it doesn’t feel at all like an extremely rough caress from Edward Scissorhands. Pain is good; just breathe into it, remember? Seriously though, I don’t think my poor sternocleidomastoid muscle will ever be the same again.

Oh, no! Now I have an itchy nose. But I’m lying face down with my arms clamped to my sides, breathing in the soul-cleansing sounds of whales, waterfalls and rainforests, held to surrender by the slow, laboured strokes of a pair of well-oiled hands which are currently devoting 100% attention to the third toe of my left foot.

I can’t possibly move a single muscle right now – it would surely break the magical spell that’s been cast in this patchouli and jasmine scented cave-room. But the itch is getting stronger; how do I resist? I need some sort of distraction.

Ooh, there goes an ambulance siren – another poor sod off to the covid ward, most likely. Which reminds me… I hope my daughter is okay. She called last night to say she had injured her foot during an acrobatics rehearsal for an upcoming circus show. She spent no less than 14 hours in A&E! 

The hospitals still seem to be overrun as a result of the pandemic and years of under-funding. I dread to think what would happen should there be another crisis, like a war, for example. Which reminds me, I must take those clothes for Ukraine to the Red Cross shop. I could have brought them with me today if I’d remembered. I’m walking straight past there on my way back.

Anyway, I hope my poor daughter is all right. She said there’s nothing broken, but she can’t put any weight on her foot so the hospital has given her some crutches.

It’s such a shame she’s unable to drive down for the Easter bank holiday weekend. Perhaps I should have driven up there today, instead. But, no – here I am, bathing in self-indulgence, inhaling the essence of peace and love, wallowing in whale sound, and being basted like a prize turkey, while she’s sitting all alone in her damp bedsit 95 miles away, with no Easter eggs and nothing but her crutches for company. 

Oh god, I’m such a terrible mother. It’s a wonder she’s never reported me to Childline. I must call her straight after this. I wonder what time it is.

older woman lying supine on massage table

We must be halfway through by now. It’ll be time to turn over onto my back soon – I can’t wait for the relief my chin will feel when it’s no longer being crushed like a walnut in the jaws of a nutcracker. I can only imagine what kind of a bruise it has caused.

Yes, a supine position ought to be much more relaxing, and hopefully I will be able to let go of all thoughts and simply enjoy the experience.

I really should have trimmed my lady bush though. There are bound to be a few dozen stray pubes cautiously peeping out from the safety of my knickers, like hyacinths on a frosty Spring morning. Hopefully Deborah won’t pull the blanket up that far when she’s pummeling my thighs with those stones …

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