My Mother is Making It Rain Benjamins

Once upon a time, when I thought BonneBell lip gloss was king, my mother took me to see strippers. Before anyone gets too upset, I should add it was for charity. Also she took my younger sister and a friend of hers too. As well, I should clarify that she didn’t actually make it rain Benjamins. We’re Canadian so any precipitation would have been Loonies, if one wanted to invoke the name of our one dollar coin, but that seems vaguely derogatory and I’m under the impression that it’s more hip to cite the name of the person on the bill in which case my mother made it rain “Elizabeth the Seconds” or “E2” as we like to call her up here in the puzzling, frigid north.

Anyway, if hauling your two teens and one of their friends out for a summer evening to watch men take off their clothing wasn’t enough, my mother secured us front row seats to the action.

So much better up close. How else could my young mind have appreciated the gyrating hip action? (Photo Credit:

So much better up close. How else could my young mind have appreciated the gyrating hip action? (Photo Credit:

Because banana hammocks are always better close up? Because if you’re going to land your kids in therapy it’s better to go big or go home? Because she was being considerate of my myopia?

Regardless, this was how my sister and I found ourselves watching a man impersonate Tarzan while single women in the crowd went wild and my mother hooted and hollered. It was marvelous fun, although it left me wondering whether our go to family restaurant would now be “Hooters” in support of equality for my Dad. Or if we would voyage to nude beaches in the summer to awkwardly walk around as a sun burned family.

Happily none of those other events came to pass, but I will always remember my mother whistling enthusiastically as a man impersonating “Usher” arrived on an open top jeep into the show. That’s a cherished childhood memory if I’ve ever heard of one. I shall repeat it for all of her friends when she gets old and takes up lawn bowling and knitting sweaters for cats.

I’m Supposed to Enjoy This

It always starts with me taking off my clothes. Normally I’m all for getting naked in public however the combination of sterile linens and neutral wallpaper reminds me of a doctor’s office, so at the back of my mind, I spend the whole time waiting for the speculum to appear.

Of course there’s the music, piping softly into the room. Clearly the person who mandated that the natural soundtrack be played at all times, was never woken up by birds. Sometimes I curse those chirping harbringers of the morning.

Then in walks a stranger. This is the part that consistently throws me for a loop, As children, we’re taught not to talk to people we don’t know, not to get into their cars, never to take any sort of foodstuffs from them, but then we become adults and suddenly it’s a clothes-off, pants-off, dance-off. Not really, I haven’t ever actually danced during one of these things. But you get the drift.

This is followed by pleasantries. As I am a hero of small talk, this regularly is a smashing success. And by success I mean, now not only am I uncomfortable but so is the masseuse. At some point the massage starts, and the real discomfort begins. Supposedly other people relax when they receive a massage, by contrast my mind lurches into action, trying to figure out why I’ve chosen to do this.

Questions start rolling through my head like; why is it acceptable for random people to knead my buttocks while Enya plays in the background? Or, I wonder if in another dimension Pink Floyd is played while people throw themselves against walls for enjoyment rather than having underpaid workers rub their bodies?

Don’t even ask what they do in the fifth dimension when they play the Rolling Stones during a massage. (Photo Credit:

Don’t even ask what they do in the fifth dimension when they play the Rolling Stones during a massage. (Photo Credit:

Or I contemplate whether the answer “I prefer no pressure at all, in fact you can probably stop now” is an acceptable response to the massage therapist’s question of “How’s the pressure?”

Once my brain has accepted the fact that another person will be touching me for an hour, I try to focus on enjoying the massage. My thoughts start to resemble a pep talk before a big football game. “Unwashed, you’ve trained hard, you hugged three people whom you felt ambivalent about last week, hence this massage will be a piece of cake. Three separate co-workers were convinced that you were normal yesterday. Unwashed, you are a pro at pretending to like normal activities like eating ice cream and paying strangers to touch you.”

This kind of thinking works for a while but after three or so body parts have been fondled by a person who would no doubt rather be baking or knitting or doing anything but touching my extremely tense limbs, I try and figure out the most subtle way that I can check the time. Since I’ve never been able to fake a sigh of enjoyment while at a spa, I tend to go for the fake violent sneeze rather than the sigh-head-turn combo. The sneeze trick also has the added benefit of unnerving the massage therapist into thinking that I’m potentially contagious, and perhaps they should end the massage early.

Afterwards of course I smile, thank the massage therapist nicely, and swear never to return. At least until the next time someone convinces me that I’m going to love getting a massage.