July 15, 2018

Aromatherapy

Being married gives us guys an opportunity to try things we might otherwise miss out on. My wife told me that she had signed us up for a class, about three hours long, but said nothing more. I figured this was not debatable and the less I knew, the better off I’d be, so I didn’t ask any questions.

As we prepared for class, my wife read the brochure: “Wear comfortable clothes and bring a mat.” Since I rarely wear uncomfortable clothes, I was puzzled, but decided on jeans. What the brochure should have said was, “Wear clothes that allow large amounts of skin to be exposed, yet prevent the possibility of being arrested.”

The classroom was dimly lit when we arrived and soft music was playing from a tape recorder. Three other couples were already there, and as it turned out, we were the last couple to arrive.

The instructor asked each person to give a brief introduction including their reason for attending a class on Aromatherapy for Couples. My wife, fearing what I might say, handled both of our introductions. After the introductions were complete, it was obvious that not one of us guys knew what the heck we were in for.

When I think of “therapy,” I think of fixing your knee after you slide into second base or being “in therapy”–basically, “fixing something.”

Therefore “aromatherapy” must fix how we smell. Well, that’s almost right. Aromatherapy is massaging someone, using various oils to produce desired effects, including a distinct difference in the way you smell. There are two types of oils: carrier and essential, produced by squeezing the b’jeebers out of the bark, seeds, leaves or flowers of some plant or tree. The carrier oils are inert and cheap. They are applied first, in sufficient quantity to coat the skin; then, two or three drops of the essential oil are dropped on and spread around.

The instructor told us what to expect from the oils.

I could believe that rubbing a particular type of oil on your skin would increase or decrease body temperature. I could even believe that inhaling the fumes could clear nasal passages and alter your state of mind, but I was skeptical about combating flatulence and aerophagy (the swallowing of air in hysteria). I must admit; I did not observe a single incident of either during the entire session, so these oils must have kept it under control.

Then he said the magic word–aphrodisiac. At that precise moment, he had the undivided attention of every guy in the room, and the list of things that we would not rub on our wives’ backs became short. He told us some things we should watch for, like burning, itching, rash, shortness of breath, light-headedness, and nausea.

He also warned us that some of the oils are not oils at all, but resins. For those who are not chemistry majors, resins are the basic ingredients in really good glues, like epoxy. He told us about a woman who glued a phone to her ear. I thought of three women who might think that was a good idea. After hearing about these things, each of us guys allowed our wives to be the first to experience this new sensation. The overall intended effect is achieved by the blending of varying amounts of different oils.

Four of the essential oils we were exposed to: Anise smells like licorice and made us all hungry. Vanilla produced a craving for ice cream. Amyris smells like a Douglas fir two by four, and made us yearn for carpentry work. Everybody’s favorite was Cornmint. As a farm boy I have personally cut up, stomped on, mashed, smashed, squeezed, ground up, chewed, even smoked, every part of a corn plant, and I have never smelled anything like this stuff. It hits you square in the nose, goes straight back and comes out both ears, removing a plug of whatever’s in the way.

The practical uses for Cornmint are: Cooling, improving digestion, relieving flatulence, opening breathing passages, mood uplifting, refreshing, reviving, energizing, improving mental clarity and alertness, sharpening the senses, lessening pain, and repelling insects.

Did it work? Did it achieve the intended effect? Well, during the time I was applying the oils and massage to my wife’s back, I could not shake the feeling that I was half-way through a ten-piece fried chicken dinner, but when it was my turn to be on the receiving end, things were different. I was cool, fully capable of digesting and breathing, my aerophagy was under control, and there were no flies on me.

To this day the two middle fingers of my left hand are glued together, and I can’t pass an ear of corn in the supermarket without having flashbacks, but as we know: “Whatever she wants.”

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