Being manipulated by a man never felt so right.
About five years ago now I threw a 70th birthday party for my dad. For the first time, I’d created a huge power point presentation – more like a movie than a slideshow. As a result of the work I’d done on the computer for days straight prior to the occasion, my shoulders were a bit messed up. And I stressed up, too, because I was the lady in charge of the event.
Hear me read this classic post:
On the way to the birthday party, we were passing through a lovely resort town and decided to spend the night there. Noticing my pain and wanting to ease his own by soothing mine, my husband said, “Let me call around and try to book a massage for you.”
When we arrived at the massage place, it was pretty much what I’d expected. From behind the counter we were greeted pleasantly by the woman who I immediately assumed would be delivering my massage treatment. She wore natural fibres and Birkenstocks, and smelled faintly of patchouli and recently- burned incense. I liked this earth mother type and couldn’t wait for her to lay her healing hands on me.
I filled out the requisite paperwork and she slid some slippers and a rather institutional-looking blue robe across the counter to me. She pointed me in the direction of the change room and the massage area, offhandedly telling my retreating back, “Ken will meet you there.”
Ken?! Is this what the Earth Mother sometimes called herself? Like I often refer to myself in the third person as Ms. K? I seriously doubted it. Ken isn’t even one of those names like Lou or Tracey or Lee that could belong to a man or a woman. Ken is just Ken and is understood in every case to be a man’s name.
Now, I have no problem being massaged by a man. But some clients would, so massage places usually give the client a choice upon making an appointment. Not this time.
After changing, I met Ken in the massage area. He stood about six feet, five inches tall, and had shoulder-length, steel-grey hair. He wore a tee shirt and faded jeans along with some kind of casual, well-worn leather shoes. Ken was about 55 years old and had hands as big as pie plates. I was simultaneously terrified and intrigued.
Ken was a really good massage therapist and an interesting guy. He told me about himself while pulling my limbs this way and that, stretching me out on the table like some sort of satisfied pizza dough.
He’d had other jobs, including being an artist. He knew a lot about the arts, about writers and photographers and music. He told me about blues and jazz, how he loved the music, but how it was too sad, too full of loneliness.
I asked him about the availability of work in that mountain resort town. He told me, “I only work here three days a week. The rest of the time I’m in Fort McMurray.”
“Oh,” I responded, drooling into the ring pillow in which my tiny head was comfortably wedged. “Do they fly you up there to massage the guys living in the camps?”
Ken chuckled, got me to turn over, and rotated my shoulder while he explained, “Nope. I’m a bus driver.”
There I was with Ken, the bus driver, and only a thin sheet between us! Holy crow! This was just getting better and better.
So much for assumptions. If I’d known even some of this information BEFORE booking a massage, my rendezvous with huge-hand Ken (not his real name) may never have happened. Imagine calling up the massage place and being told, “You can get in immediately with former artist, now bus driver, Ken,” I might have declined. But then again, maybe not.