"Why is there a gigantic sex toy sitting on your dining room table?" Mark asked recently.
"That's not a gigantic sex toy," I said. "It's a Wahl Hot & Cold Therapy Massager."
"An Advanced Pain Management Device. They sent it to me after I wrote a humor piece for The New York Times about back pain."
"Yeah, but it sure looks like...."
"Something the Jolly Green Giantess would use to get her groove on when the Jolly Green Giant is out of town? It certainly does. And yet the instructions say that you're not supposed to use it on your 'genital areas.'"
I handed him the instructions, which had been sitting on the table with the device.
"The lawyers made them put that in," he scoffed. "Because, of course, you know that's the first place people are going to use it. And the lawyers want to deflect liability in case something goes horribly wrong."
What could go horribly wrong? We Googled it and couldn't find anything. So we returned to perusing the instructions. "It says not to use it on a sleeping person," I said. "Do you think that's a safety issue? Or a 'don't be annoying' issue?"
"It sounds like a philosophical issue to me. If you're sound asleep, you're feeling no pain. So there's nothing to manage. What I want to know is why it says 'FOR HOUSEHOLD USE ONLY?'"
"Maybe they're afraid people will plug it into the car and massage themselves as they commute?"
"Why shouldn't they? That could only reduce road rage."
"It also says 'DO NOT USE OUTDOORS.'"
"That makes no sense. If the dude who trims the hedge can use an extension cord, why can't I?"
"According to this, Wahl invented the first electric massager nearly 100 years ago."
"Impressive. That's a lot of orgasms... I mean pain relief."
I suffer from an affliction common to writers -- mouse neck -- which is a sharp pain in the neck and back resulting from too much computer use.
"Let's take it for a spin," I suggested.
I stretched out on the bed and Mark plugged it in, started it up, and proceeded to give me a soothing massage. The device, which is slightly larger than a blow dryer, did most of the work. Mark had only to move it around. There are two speeds. High (jackhammering) and low (a steady hum). And an assortment of snap-on tops that vary the amount of bumpiness. Best of all, you can set it on either hot or cold.
Being the massage aficionado that I am, I took to it like a duck to water.
"Oh, that feels great." "A little lower." "That's perfect." "Oh my. Keep doing that."
Remind you of anything? Me too. Still, if used according to the instructions, it won't rev you up or turn you on. Instead, you'll end up utterly relaxed.
"I'm in love," I said after a few minutes.
Then it was Mark's turn to enjoy a hot vibrating massage.
"Where have you been all my life?" he asked.
We decided that Wahl Hot &Cold Therapy Massager was too formal a name for something that was clearly going to play a major part in our relationship going forward. We decided to call the device "Mr. Yippee."
After 18 years of enjoying a loving, monogamous union, we've decided to open up our relationship to include Mr. Yippee. We are a couple who does lots of snuggling. Mr. Yippee fits in easily. We snuggle, then take turns administering a hot vibrating massage.
"If you write about this," Mark said. "Caution your readers against using Mr. Yippee for foreplay. They'll end up too languid to want to have sex."
Mr. Yippee has definitely enhanced the quality of our life. And, yes, as we explored everything that Mr. Yippee could do for us, we did break a few rules.
Nothing horrifying happened.
I know what you're thinking -- can you enjoy Mr. Yippee on your own? Absolutely. He's ergonomically designed, so it's easy to go solo. But like most things, it's a lot more fun when you do it with a loved one.
I know one thing. Everyone on my holiday gift list is getting their own Mr. Yippee this year.
In fact, everyone on the planet should have one. There ought to be one at the library where I work, to help librarians chill after encounters with difficult patrons. They certainly ought to be mandatory at tax time. And world leaders should be required to administer hot vibrating Mr. Yippee massages to each other before important negotiations.
I dream of a world where, instead of everyone being on their smartphones all the time, we'd each enjoy, instead, our own portable Mr. Yippee.
If everyone had a Mr. Yippee, would the world would be a better, more relaxed place? I'd love to find out.
(This essay first appeared on Zestnow.)