We Are Massage Therapists As a result of… – Eugene Weekly
By Sara Miura Zolbrod
After the hidden part of this imaginary massage, my young client – let’s call him Robert Aaron Long – turns around openly. He asks, “Can I have a happy ending?”
Fortunately, during my 15 years as a licensed massage therapist, I was never asked about it, although I received the usual number of comments pointing out such things. The usual protocol would be to say, “This is inappropriate and I will end our massage now.”
But today, after the shootings in Georgia, which went down particularly well because I am of Asian descent, the first thing that arises is the fantasy of revenge or “prevention fantasy”.
I imagine myself saying, “Hold that thought, honey, while I get a special lotion.”
In this fantasy, like a silent ninja, I knock on his backpack with his eyes closed and confiscate a 9mm pistol that I find. I get out and fetch a pair of shiny two-foot-long secateurs that happen to be in the clinic’s closet. I get very close to Robert and say, “Why don’t you pull the sheet down and hold that tail up for me, right at the bottom so I have good access …”
But then the restorative justice-inspired fantasy emerges instead.
After asking for a “happy ending”, I quickly round up every other person on the staff instead of being given a gun and scissors. I rap loudly in some treatment rooms with our special, pre-designed knock.
My large crew and I – six of us, including two male therapists – walk into the treatment room. I take Robert’s jeans and shirt out of the corner and place them on his chest. I say, “We’ll turn our backs for a minute. You will get dressed right away and then we will have a little chat. “
Once dressed, he sits on a chair. I pull two of my fellow therapists to sit on the massage table with me.
I say to Robert, who is a few meters away from me, “I think you are lonely. And I also see that you are a nice young man. We all have needs to be touched, but you can find sexuality without having to pay for it. I wish all people find the ultimate in sexual pleasure, and I encourage you to find your innate ability to do so by touching yourself when you are not in a relationship. “
I grab my therapist’s hands and move on.
“We trust and believe that you can find consensual sex and love with someone who desires you instead of being under the influence of having to make money from you.”
The therapist next to me says to Robert: “You are a beautiful man and a beautiful soul. Can you imagine how pleasant it will be to gently invite a young woman you meet in a park or bar when she would give you her number and build a friendship based on mutual respect? You would learn their favorite music; You would learn your favorite foods. They would develop a relationship, learn to read their signs, reach out to you, and express your attraction to them in a moment of warmth after laughing together.
“You can have it all. You are lovely. Some of us have given you massages – not sexually, of course – and I’ll see you. We see your humanity. “
The therapist on the other side of me adds, “You may have had bad experiences with women. You are christian right? Me too. Perhaps our Bible or church teachings have made you feel that the desire is sinful. But desire is beautiful and a natural part of being human. “
I speak again, “We are massage therapists because we want people to feel better in their body and soul. We don’t want to be objectified. We need you to keep your sexuality in check in this environment. “
My colleague Mark says, “But be patient, respectful and caring in your social life. Be responsive and wait for clues from others. And sex will feel amazingly fulfilling when it’s mutual.
“You don’t have to pretend you’re less shy or more this or more that. Just express your genuine interest in people and let someone know the real you as you get to know them at a pace that works out for both of you feels good. “
Robert puts his face in his hands and we hear strange, muffled weeping. I also start crying softly. I say gently to Robert, “I think we all want to get on with our day soon. Do you mind if we hold hands first? “
He nods. He remains seated; I take one of his hands – although I can’t bring myself to hold on to it – and my colleague’s hand and we all make a ragged circle in the little massage room. Robert’s head hangs down. I tell him, “I’m not going to give you any more massages, but you are welcome to receive non-sexual professional massages from some of us.”
The two male therapists and one female therapist say, “You can still get massages from me.”
I move on to Robert, who is still looking straight down: “We imagine that you are blossoming into a life of friendships and beautiful mutual sexual relationships. We do not judge you and we have nothing but love in our hearts for you. “
I say, “Mark, would you mind staying with me, but everyone else, thanks, we got it from here.”
After the others leave, Mark says to Robert, “We would love to refer you to good advice and other community resources. Is there anything else we should talk about or do for you? “Robert moves his head” no “.
I ask: “Can we shake hands?” He offers a limp hand. This time I can connect more firmly and my energy can reach him. I feel warmth in our palms, in our longer than normal handshakes. He looks me in the eye for a moment and we’ll see each other.
And we go on with our day. I’m just trying to live with some love and peace and common humanity.
Sara Miura Zolbrod understands that violence, mental health issues and the criminalization of sex work are complex and structural and cannot be resolved in an hour or a day. She has no experience in counseling or restorative justice. Her massage license is issued by the Oregon State Board of Massage Therapists and she is a freelance editor and writer.