Saturday, April 25, 2009

In The Flesh

Called for a massage this afternoon at a strip mall parlor (they aren't called parlors now though, sounds a bit “happy ending”). The appointment was with Robert and the woman scheduling it sounded excited at the prospect.

“Oh,” she purred. "You’ll like Robert.”

Not to judge (of course any sentence beginning with that statement is certain to do just that) but in any healthcare, public safety or “glamour” profession appearance is a point of consideration. You don’t expect to see morbidly obese nurses or paramedics, policemen and firemen. My hairdresser is the only mod chick in otherwise stretchy pants suburbia.

Robert weighed close to 300 pounds, stout and as wide around as he was tall. Think Weeble. A lovely man it turns out, if a bit chatty out of the gate, but the shell caught me off guard. As he worked my back and shoulders, I could feel belly bob against the top of my head while face down in the hemorrhoid cushion pillow. His breathing was laborious throughout, at times hedging on puffy and straining. On the plus side, pun intended, his hands dug deep.

He marveled at and confirmed the benefits of yoga to my overall structure; no back knots to coax out, just small tangles in arms and shoulders. The rest of me was long and flexible, even hips. Many years back, heavy snow broke a weak back and I landed in true-blue-hospital-prescribed physical therapy for months. Therapist Katie (the first and only woman to ever fondle my ass) would hover over my supine form, grasp left hip then right under each of her palms and press down hard to realign my womanly bear trap. My hips are straight and open now; a split may be possible before long, my first ever.

Try as you might to shut out the fact a stranger is roaming your unclothed body in a closed room with dim lighting, there’s a sensual element to massage. I shut my eyes and wandered, a couple of times split-second responding to the more “close in” areas of work. Next go ‘round I may choose massage therapy school and a young man just finishing his certification.

I can now fully relax and let my body go. Yoga no longer requires a teacher’s gentle push of shoulder to bubbly mat during corpse pose. I'm not so shy of being touched, of being naked, walking-on-the-moon-giant-steps for the girl who used to recoil from any tactile expression and refused to wear sleeveless tops or tanks. I still prefer wearing a slip “during” (the feel of a tiny strap peeled from a shoulder is divine times two) to cover my belly, the final frontier to complete nude comfort. The man finally allowed to fully explore my stomach will earn the right to plant a flag in my belly button. The freedom I have in and for my body is freedom beyond words. The one or two (or six or seven) who’ve rolled about with me have appreciated, even desired, the skin and bones I scarred privately and hid publically. Now I share it with some abandon.

And hell, I figured Robert sees tits-a-plenty daily.

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