I get asked a lot how I am able to be a massage therapist. The usual comments go something like this...what about gross toes? How about smelly people, hairy people, pimply people, fat people, skinny people? Of course they also ask if anyone has offered me money to jack them off. In truth, no one has EVER asked me to touch their junk, which always raises incredulous eyebrows. Really? I don't believe it, they say, never?? I would develop some kind of a complex about my physical appeal, but quite honestly I think I am not unattractive and outside of my massage clinic, I get asked to touch peoples' junk on quite a regular basis. I think my clients just know it is not going to happen and that they would never be allowed on my table again if they crossed that line. I take this as a compliment to my skills. The risk of losing me as their therapist completely negates their urge to get off.
I love what I do. It is physical and emotional. I get to spend an hour or more concentrating one on one with someone. I get to positively effect change in a tangible way. I get paid well for not too many hours work. I also get to hear stories. I love stories. One of the main impetuses for this blog, beyond my obvious call for attention, is that I want to write a book about my clinic. The blog is my practice space. My public writing space. My space to see if I have the balls to disclose. For some reason short bursts of self revelation seem to be ok with me. As usual i am getting tangential, lets refocus on hairy backs.
People always ask me about hair. One of my very first clients was a 6 foot 4 middle eastern man, build like a linebacker. I recall drawing back the covers revealing a forest of thick black hair. It began at the nape of his neck and covered his entire back, curly and springy with no evidence of skin underneath. This was early in my career and I felt my stomach lurch slightly at the prospect of being elbow deep for the next 90 minutes, lost in this hirsute behemoth's body. Then something remarkable happened in my brain. I re framed. I thought...it's just like fur. I have a dog. A Portuguese water dog, and I pet him all the time. Somehow that was all I needed. If I can put up and love my stinky beastly dog, I can certainly rub through some man fur.
I do have a personal philsolophy about bodies and minds and touch. I think the boundaries of our person are a lot more blurry that the limit of our skin. We like to think we can keep ourselves contained, in this neat physical package, cover it with clothing and then hide ourselves inside. But people bleed out all kinds of things, smell,hormones,love,hate, noise and heat. Where exactly one person ends is hard to say, except that it is most probably ending right inside of another's. When you enter fully into that space, especially through touch, things happen, you affect and are affected. It is what makes us essentially alive. This is why I love massage. It is for what happens in the space where two boundaries meld.