For about ten years now I have been pampering myself, on an irregular basis. By accident I found a Reflexologist who was also a very talented Aromatherapist. It's not an unusual combination, but to find a good one that will take you on is rare. If you aren't aware of the disciplines, let me explain.
Reflexology is the art of diagnosing and treating a variety of ailments, usually muscular- or strain-related, by manipulating pressure points on the feet. A skilled practitioner can diagnose, sort out, and treat quite a number of things this way. Oh, yes -- occasionally it does hurt; some of these points can be very sensitive. The Aromatherapy comes along afterwards. Using the information gathered in the initial part of the treatment, a mix of essential oils which are beneficial, are blended and added to an oil base and used as a massage ingredient.
In my part of the world, it is unusual to find a practitioner outside of organised and very expensive clinics that will take on new business with unknown clients. Male to male, or female to female, is not an issue, but I prefer the touch of a woman in such an intimate matter. It's a non-sexual thing -- normally; but I'll come to that a little later.
Over the years I have had back trouble that has bothered me to a lesser or greater degree. Don't ask -- Sven the younger was showing off, slipped, fell and cracked his lower back badly over the edge of a diving board. Even at -- especially at -- eighteen, this is not a good idea. It has caused me grief off and on ever since. During one of the times when it was being more than a passing nuisance, I was willing to try anything, and a friend recommended this lady and I gave her a call.
Patricia -- she liked the full form of her name, but she won't read this anyway, so I'll call her Pat -- turned out to be a diminutive lady a couple of years younger than I was and a full foot shorter, at a little under five feet. Nevertheless, she had hands and arms that were stronger than anyone I have ever met. And no nonsense, either.
"Ok, Deary, I'll take you on. I'm sure I can do something to help. But let me say right from the start, this is straight! Forget anything you ever heard about sexy massages; you try anything and I'll break it off and feed it to you!"
I had to laugh, even though I had absolutely no doubt in my mind that she meant it, totally. In any case, she was not a "sexy" type. Her outfit, when she was working, reminded me of the Communist Chinese uniform of the sixties and seventies: shapeless and the Lord only knows what she was actually like underneath. In truth I didn't care; she was darn good at what she did, and we got on well.
One day I inadvertently paid her what she regarded as a very great compliment. As she finished, I was so completely relaxed I ended up in a deep sleep. As I was her last patient of the day, Pat let me sleep for about twenty minutes, then woke me with a glass of water. I felt quite embarrassed, but she was adamant that it was the ultimate compliment. From then on, she always tried to book me into the last appointment, saying, "I'll see if you end up sleeping with me again." It made us both laugh.
As time went by, our relationship became easier and cosier. We talked of our hopes and fears, our children -- anything under the sun. We were relaxed in each other's company. One day I told her that her husband must be the luckiest man in the country. He must keep her very busy; I certainly would, giving him a massage every night.
Pat became a little quieter at that. "Sven..." she said, "He can't bear me touching him like that; in fact, we sleep in separate beds now." And then, in a rare moment of complete candour, she added, "That side of our marriage died a long time ago; he's more interested in going out with the lads and drinking these days."
Now Pat is no oil painting to be sure, but she still has her looks, and those hands are so talented. I told her so, and that her other half must be mad to ignore her like that. She just shook her head sadly, so I dropped the subject.
Some time ago I had been introduced to Shiatsu massage in the Far East; of course, we discussed it. When I told her that they often preferred their customers naked, she laughed. She told me she had one gentleman who, like me, had been coming to her for a long time. Instead of leaving his shorts on, he took them off and so was naked. I asked if she felt awkward or threatened by this. She laughed. "Good heavens, no! For a start, he's not in the slightest interested in women; also, when I'm working down at the hospital I see plenty of folks naked and they are usually more embarrassed about the whole thing than I am." We moved onto another subject and it was forgotten -- until last night, that is.
As usual, I slipped my shoes and socks off, then took off my jeans, hung them over the back of the chair, and got up on her padded table. I had jarred my tailbone and it was uncomfortable, so I was rather more circumspect than normal. As always, Pat noted this as she went to work. She worked on my feet, found the problem, and worked on it. We chatted as normal, but in a rather more desultory fashion than usual. She seemed distracted. She finished with my feet and I got down and stripped to my shorts as usual. Pat looked at me.
"I think I'll have you naked tonight, Sven. I want to work at the very base of your back, and they'll only get in the way."
I said OK, of course. This being the first time, and not quite sure of things, I waited for her to either turn her back or produce a towel, or even go out of her treatment room. But she didn't. So, after a slight pause, I simply took them off. She didn't bat an eyelid, but patted the top of the table and said, "Face down for the moment," and that was that.
One of the nice things about Aromatherapy is that it's a fairly holistic treatment, so the massage is all over and extensive. Last night was no exception.
Then she started working on the base of my spine.
.... There is more of this story ...