Touched by a Stranger

Recently in the Baltimore airport I met a lovely woman and I let her rub me all over. Well not entirely all over, but back, arms, neck and head so a lot of body was covered. And it occurred to me that it was in fact a little odd that I was letting a perfect stranger engage with my body in this way. Even more odd when I strip down to nothing and hop onto a table, right?

Except no, not right. This is totally normal and okay and indeed therapeutic. There was nothing sexual about the massage or the touching. It was actually a great way to spend a three hour layover which is a very long time to be in an airport. And as she was working on my shoulders, which yes every masseuse in the whole entire world, I know I have the tightest shoulders you have ever felt and no I can’t just relax, believe me if I could I would, as she was digging around trying to find the relax button I was thinking, ‘I wonder if it is odd that I just walked up to this airport kiosk and said go for it with my body.’ I mean if I was sitting on the plane and the person next to me said, ‘hey would you like a massage?’ I would very likely say no. Certainly if they said, “would you like a massage and you could pay me,” I would be seriously concerned about the situation. I also feel confident that my husband would not be thrilled about either of these situations. But it was he, who after the usual texting this and that said ‘go get a massage’ when we knew how long the layover way.

So is it the structure of someone being certified or licensed and working in shop for this service that makes it okay? Or is that there are health benefits? Stress reduction? I ask the question because while I don’t have a sexual experience or those kinds of sexual pleasures from massage it is a stranger doing something positive and beneficial for my body and it seemed as I was pondering this that it is a thin line from here to prostitution.

I don’t like the idea of prostitution. I have read scholarly opinion on legalization both for and against and I am probably on the libertarian side of legalization. Then it becomes taxable, and something we can regulate which may make it safer and I am in favor of both of those things. I also think we should legalize, tax, and regulate drugs but that doesn’t mean I think people should do them so it’s complicated. But nonetheless I get the impression that those working in that field don’t have a lot of other options and there does seem something degrading, not empowering about selling your body in that way. And massage is not anything like that, true. This is someone who has been specifically trained in physiology and all manner of thing I know nothing about. But then again couldn’t we same the same about sex workers in certain situations?

I have often wondered what it is about the magical intimacy of sexual intercourse that continues to make us so uncomfortable. It is an enormously complicated thing, even I would suggest for those people who tell me that polyamory is just the perfect way to be (just ask everyone in that poly group and I’ll bet you $10 that someone doesn’t think it is super terrific, oh yeah and all of the open marriage types I have met are now the divorced type so there’s that) but what is it that makes it so?

I’m going to have more massages, I’m also going to go to chiropractic, and mani-pedi and whatever other thing (I’m still a little off acupuncture which everyone tells me is understandable given my situation). And I am not going to pay for sex. I haven’t ever and I don’t intend do. But I still don’t understand this, then again maybe it is as the great jurist once said, ‘you know it when you see it,’ and that is the difference and that will have to be good enough.

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