Some people get their kicks from drink, some from drugs. But the most enlightened among us understand there’s nothing as intoxicating as the heady pleasure of someone’s bacteria-laden mouth coming up next to your ear and making gentle, whispered sounds into it.
Autonomous sensory meridian response (or ASMR if you have things to do today) is that weird tingling feeling that comes from certain sounds. It’s something nearly everyone has experienced and, while most have filed it away as “that neat thing that happens from time to time,” others are absolutely wild about it, chasing that high to the point that we’re now blessed with in-person ASMR facilities.
Buzzfeed sent three intrepid reporters to New York City’s The Whisper Lodge, billed as “an ASMR spa for the senses,” to witness one of these delights for themselves.
While ASMR usually conjures up images of YouTubers creepily role-playing various professions or very gently shooting the shit via their home webcams (the best search results include a soft-spoken woman pretending to give the viewer a tattoo and another narrating her experience playing online videogame Overwatch), the in-person experience looks to be something else entirely.
The weirdness of ASMR’s fetishistic sexual overtones look downright cultish when transplanted from the internet to The Whisper Lodge’s “spa.” Dressed all in white, prone to unexpected nudity, and possessing file folders hilariously filled with bubble wrap, the staff look more like very pleasant members of the religious fringe than any masseuse. Put on some headphones, crank the volume, and listen for yourself to get the full experience.