I’ve used this technique to relax people since I was in college. I learned it in Dr. Overly’s Intro to Theatre class, and I refined it on a boy. Yes. A boy. A boy named Elf. Dr. Overly paired us up in a moment of high comedy for her, I’m sure. I had already done a couple plays there, so I knew everyone – including Elf. He was a nice enough guy…short, happy all the time, craving attention like I crave bacon and breasts, and strangely asexual. No one could ever peg if Elf was straight, gay, bisexual, or into rhesus monkeys, because no one ever saw him with people in any sort of intimate way. Elf was a satellite; constantly orbiting other bodies, with no real gravity of his own. But he was a nice enough guy, if not a little annoying, so he was tolerated. To a point.

Elf had hygiene issues. It’s not like he was my old girl Dirty from back in the day – he showered – but he had a chemical odor that was an anti-pheromone. It didn’t so much stink much as it just made you wanna be someplace else. It was a smell like motor oil or slightly burned popcorn. You didn’t wanna gag, per se; you just wanted to go someplace else until the funk cleared. And Elf seemed blissfully unaware of this. He was also a “me too” conversationalist: if someone was telling a story to a group, he pop in with a “me too”, regardless of the topic, like he was the storyteller’s hype man, a la that midget Kid Rock had with him for a while. (R.I.P., midget.) You could be saying how it’s tough to grow up as an Asian woman in our society, and Elf would jump in with “Oh yeah, I know what you mean EXACTLY. It’s so hard. So hard.” In addition to attention, he craved acceptance, and what he actually received seemed adequate enough for him. Enough background.

We got paired up, and the good doctor told us what to do: one partner must be seated on a stool, while the other partner would relax them using a combination of visualization and massage. Ouch. I had a dilemma. What would be worse: rubbing Elf, or being rubbed BY Elf? I decided to rub him, figuring that I’d at least be in control, and not have to worry about him giving me a visual of him playing Sega in his room until 2am every night. Elf was more than happy to oblige, and he jumped on that stool like it was a woman. Or a man. Or a Star Trek episode. Or whatever the hell he was into. Sighing the sigh of the defeated, I listened to Dr. Overly’s instructions. Try this at home, folks, it works.

  1. The seated person must try to relax enough to allow the standing person to fully take control of their head and neck. The seated person (SeP) should not move his/her head at all, unless the standing person initiates the movement.
  2. The standing person (StP) must take control of the head and neck, making certain not to make any sudden or violent moves. No neck popping, no fast motions.
  3. StP begins to slowly and gently move SeP’s head in ever-widening circles. The motion is like pushing a balloon through water, with the same amount of imaginary resistance.
  4. StP then begins to paint a picture in SeP’s mind: he/she begins to describe SeP’s favorite place (determined beforehand), with as much detail as possible. The idea is to transport SeP to that place via words and touch. Often the destination is the beach, or the mountains, or a lake…wherever SeP wants to go. Speak softly and clearly. StP must take the person there, without being there him/herself.
  5. Continue to move SeP’s head slowly, but in random directions. This will tell you if SeP is really letting go or not. If you feel resistance when you change directions, SeP needs to relax more.
  6. Rub SeP’s neck, using whatever method you choose. This helps loosen up the neck for the head rotations.
  7. Do it until SeP says stop, or until you get tired.

It’s an excellent technique, and it really, really works. I’ve been doing it for years, and it produces a variety of results. People have fallen asleep from relaxation; people have gotten totally refreshed, and once or twice, people have gotten aroused.

Guess which one Elf got.

Yeah.

In one innocent theatre exercise, I effectively outed Elf, at least to me. After I stopped, he just sat there with a dreamy smile on his face, looking like the comic book store just opened and they’re running a sale on Aquaman. He turned to me, still smiling that dreamy smile, and said “You know, Damian, I get this crick in my neck almost every day, late in the afternoon or evening. And you did a WONDERFUL job on that. You think maybe you could come over tonight, say after 9 or so, and do that again?” I said “I have a girlfriend” in a stern voice (and I did have a girlfriend, and even if I were into guys, I wouldn’t be into THAT one). He didn’t even try to play it off. He just said “Oh, okay. See ya.”, and he bolted for the door.

Go! Bye!

He got no more rubdowns from me. I skipped the next class, and when I came back, he had another partner, which just broke my heart, lemme tell ya. Last I heard he was going to go to Clown College in Florida, and maybe go intern at Disney World as a costumed character. I think he was the 8th dwarf, Smelly.

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Before I go, I just want you all to keep CP in your thoughts and prayers. You can read why over on her blog. Chin up, CP. You’ve got an army of thousands at your side for support. Holla.

Peace.

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