problem child

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The word for the day is “inspired“.  It’s time for me to come out about something.

Today I had a revelation.

It’s been a long time coming, really; a long-forgotten emotion that I thought I had stubbornly buried alive with the end of my nude-modeling-for-an-artist career.

The revelation is, I’ve been a frog in a tub of water for the last few years; a tub which has gotten warmer ever-so-gradually, and now it has started to boil and I hadn’t realized it.

Up until now.

See, I have this loyal and frequent massage client who knows just how to walk the tightrope that separates the gray from charcoal gray areas of appropriate behavior so well that I’m amazed he hasn’t fallen into the tiger pit below by now.

I’m not sure which came first, or even which was worse–the sixth hug and reticular formation-oriented vocal grunts that immediately precede “I could use that all over again” at the end of the massage or the comments about my recent weight loss or the other comments about having dreamed about my hair sweeping over him during the session or whatever else pulsates through his limbic system.  All I know is that I allowed all this to progress way too far.  No, not that far, perverts of the world.  I did not to anything that would end me up in a confessional booth had I remained Catholic, nor did I commit any act that would have broken a wedding vow or otherwise made my partner unhappy.

But I allowed it to progress far enough that somehow my client is enamored with what my “hard body” (his words–I know…ew!) and all I know is that this shit has got to STOP.

I’m angry with myself over that.  I’m angrier still that I didn’t cut it off right there, but let’s face it: we do need the money, he’s a paying client who has surprisingly never out-and-out propositioned me, and he’s one of three whole clients that have remained with me while the others have been eroded away by an uncertain economy, the glut of discount massage places popping up all over like bunnies, and my own ever-changing and ever-more-demanding school schedule, and the fact that one of us has to bring home SOME kind of bacon, and in the massage therapy business, it ain’t my also-licensed husband, especially a future doctor with a beard who looks better in a white coat than in scrubs, the typical massage therapist clothing of choice.

And, I’m angrier still that this won’t have been the last massage visit I ever schedule with this client.

From the outside, it would beg the question: where will I draw the line?  When is enough enough?  I had to get this off my chest to my partner, who has periodically received a play-by-play of the unfolding events over the course of this client’s history.  My partner listened actively and attentively as I vented briefly (yes, briefly…yes, this is occasionally possible) and we came to the conclusion that the only reason I wasn’t yet ready to cut this client loose is that I need to include him in my pool of people to draw from as possible patients in our chiropractic residency (pathetically, we have to recruit all of our own patients).

For a while now, I’ve been toying with the idea of limiting my massage therapy practice to those who become chiropractic patients and keep current with their treatment plan.  I have also toyed with the idea of eliminating the longer (2-hour) massage therapy sessions because I can’t last that long anymore, I get bored, and I’ve also realized that there is a such thing as overworking a muscle, which can sometimes actually do more harm than good.

An interesting sidenote: most of the perverts out there who intend to misbehave in some way, shape, or form in a massage therapy studio also tend to favor the longest session offered on the menu, and this particular client is no exception.  So, a whole flock of birds get knocked out by a single stone; what’s not to love?  The ideas went from being toyed with to becoming reality.  I still felt slimy, used, cheap, and depressed, but at least I also started to feel inspired.

By the way, I, too, look good in a white coat.  And if this client won’t listen to that, there’s always Towanda…

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