Saturday, April 4, 2009

Chatty Cathy

I went to get my semi-annual massage last night, and here’s what I can tell you about my massage therapist: He grew up in southern Michigan. He doesn’t like to wear shoes. People in his hometown don’t lock their doors.

How do I know these things? Because he was Chatty Cathy and shared them all during my massage.

I come from the school of thought that says we do not speak during a massage. I like to relax and float away to that hazy place where words are unnecessary. I managed to do that during the first half of the massage, when I was prone on the table with my face planted in that donut thing, and presumably even Chatty Cathy realized I wouldn’t really be capable of speaking.

But after I turned over he started talking about my high arches (it’s true, my feet have very high arches) and from there the conversation ran to how hard it is to get good shoes, and how shoes and walking on concrete are bad for our bodies, and how he doesn’t like shoes anyway because he never wore them in the summer, growing up in a town of 14,000 people where everyone knows everyone. “There’s been, I think, one homicide in that town ever,” he said -- and I thought, why am I hearing about homicide during my massage?

I tried to give polite but perfunctory replies so that I would not appear rude, but would convey that I really didn’t want to talk. I also tried to maintain some equanimity and openness to what he was saying. But I had the disconcerting feeling that he was paying more attention to the conversation than to my body.

Cathy was slow to pick up on my cues. Only after I stopped replying at all did he drift into silence, and by then I was finished.

(Photo: No Parking in SoHo, January 2009)


  1. It should be your hour, not someone else's! Next time maybe you should just wear earplugs, or better yet find another massage therapist that is more interested in therapy than conversation.

  2. What a shame! Not only is talking a distraction for the person receiving, but also for the therapist. I have clients who like to talk during their massages. I figure it's their hour and they should do whatever they want, but I try to give one word responses to discourage them ... or sometimes I'll say, "Take a deep breath and let yourself sink into the table."

    Hope you didn't tip this dude. He should not be encouraged to continue in this line of work!

  3. Next time you are searching for a massage let me know. I have a friend who is a massage therapist very close to where you live. He does not stress out about the time, he is silent and also does some Reiki during the massage.

    Sorry for your chatty Cathy.

  4. Gary: That's awesome! I will definitely be in touch. I've been going across town for my massages, which is silly. I'd love to find someone good close by.

    Reya: I did tip him, actually. It was sort of instinctive. And aside from the talking he did a good job!

    Barbara: Earplugs! Ha! THAT would be subtle. :)

  5. oh dear, how disappointing
    and rather strange

    I have a massage about monthly at the moment - i wouldn't like the thought of waiting 6 months from one massage to the next!