Ilsa, the Canadian Masseuse

I had said that I was going to read the Sunday paper, and once again I got waylaid.   My memories, since I mentioned Stratford, started flowing.  I thought about my second massage experience.

I seem prone to encounter some of the world’s most interesting people and I managed to do that when in Stratford, Ontario a few years ago.

For years, idiot that I am capable of being, I was totally against having a massage.  After my first experience at a bed and breakfast in Wisconsin, I realized that once again I was mistaken about something.  I will say that at least I did follow my own personal family tenet of “never saying never,” something I have told my boys incessantly. It seems that it is, as superstition will have it, not a good idea to say “never” for it seems to come back and hit you in the face.  So I didn’t say never to massage and I did try it and I did like it.  After my first one I thought to myself, “What took me so long?”

So here we were in Stratford on vacation, I think it may have been our first year there and Mary Kay suggested a massage.  I thought it was a great idea.  My experience ended up being on e of those iconic story moments that just keeps getting retold.

We arrived at the “Spa” and I went upstairs (I was first) and met Ilsa.  Ilsa was not particularly tall, not particularly old, not particularly anything out of ordinary.  The thing I did notice was her very heavy northern accent and her muscular, stocky figure of a person.  Honestly, I hope this isn’t being mean, but she looked like the typical “good woman for a plow.” She looked like the person I would never ever challenge to a competition of any physical nature.

So, I get undressed, feeling somewhat uncomfortable since it is only my second massage, and chitchat with Ilsa about life in general.  We went through the usual talk of what to wear under the sheet, my not being sure what was expected and I ended up removing everything.  The atmosphere in the room was pleasant and professional.

Some may be expecting something crazy considering the direction I am going in and frankly, that is not going to come to pass.  The major moment of the whole event was one of the first questions Ilsa put to me as I lay naked under the sheet, “May I touch your bum?”  That set the mode/pace for the rest of the massage and frankly disarmed me completely and put me at ease in an odd way.  I told her that she certainly could; there are a good number of muscles in that region that could certainly benefit from some attention.

Ilsa’s physical stature and status (she was very much in shape) helped her provide me with a great massage and she was totally professional in her role as a masseuse.  That comment of hers literally made me drop any feeling of being uncomfortable, it was just too funny for words, and I was totally putty in her very strong hands.

We talked about all sorts of things during this time, I would say that such conversation is akin to the small talk one has with a hair stylist (hard to believe I remember this, considering my state of being follicularly challenged)  when undergoing that process.  Somehow we got on to the subject of Mary Kay.

We talked about all sorts of things and well, got onto acupuncture which is an art/science that Ilsa practiced.  We talked about living in general, our bodies changing as we age, etc.  We talked a bit about romance, not that Ilsa was hitting on me, but as Mary Kay has reminded me more than once, I don’t ever notice when someone is flirting with me, I seem to be incapable of recognizing it.

Ilsa talked about how acupuncture can do all sorts of things, Mary Kay had had it when she was recovering from a terrible break of her humerus (in the arm) years ago and had issues with the muscles in her other arm that were being overworked.  She talked about the benefits of it in all areas including romance…

My massage over, I felt great, I put my clothes back on, thanked Ilsa, went downstairs.

Mary Kay went up, had her massage.  I didn’t hear all that much about it except that she got an added extra, acupuncture…

Thus ends my iconic tale of massage, you may fill in the blanks.

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