<deep sigh> Summer. Such a glorious little golden nugget out here in the hamptons. Who am i kidding? I don't refer to it as the hamptons and quite frankly who ever created that term can seriously fuck off. Summer. In Sag. Much better. The sun is shining bright, kids are off from school, everyone is happy and just wants to be together. Celebrating this thing called life. There is so much I treasure about this time of year out here. And so much I don't.
I am a firm believer in that you cannot bite the hand that feeds you. The reason I can do the things I want to do, is because my husband and I both own summer based businesses. Him more so than I. But there is a definitive pull when Memorial Day comes around, and a gentle tap on the break pedal once Labor Day sails in. So I am not here to complain about the crowds, it puts food on my table and allows me to run goddess circle at such a low price.
My first priority is my local women. Without a doubt. There are the life blood of this place. By place I mean k+s and Sag Harbor itself. Without them, well, whats the fucking point? These are the women who shuffle their kids to camp, go to work, teach mindfulness, run businesses, take my ONLY child when I just need to breathe, they organize free concerts in the park, they keep this community alive and well. Without them, we are all NOTHING. So i grind in the summer. Knowing I can treat them like the queens they are twice a month it keeps my feet moving, hands massaging, mouth talking all things astrology.
Now lets be clear, these things are all very much a part of me. I actually have to refrain from talking astrology at times, and massaging someone at a BBQ because he/she said their neck hurts. I genuinely feel I have firmly found my place and I wouldn’t know what I would do if I couldn’t do it anymore. But with all the this abundance comes the quick grab. The steal if you will. I am starting this blog with all of this because, with the summer season, comes some not so nice people. People who come from all different cultures, experiences and places.
Recently, I had multiple male massage clients be completely inappropriate during treatment. One man asked OUTRIGHT for a happy ending, the other had a erection the entire time, dry humped my table and left his semen on my sheets. (i discarded them don't fret) Both told me I was extremely attractive and had a beautiful body. deep sigh, eye roll. Why am I talking about this. Well. Someone has to! This type of thing happens ALL the time to us massage therapists. Also let me be clear. Masseuse is not a word, you don't call flight attendants, stewardesses any more do we? So cut it the fuck out. MASSAGE THERAPIST. read it, say it, think it. Masseuse holds such a negative connotation for many reasons, it implies im just rubbing you down because I want to, I dont know what I am doing and that well, I will give you a happy ending.
I have discussed this with my husband at length, and I went straight into classic victim mentality after this happened. “Did i do something to make them think this was ok?” “was i dressed inappropriately”? etc etc. I felt dirty, I felt like every single man who walked in here would do the same thing. I could feel myself acting colder to them, which was completely unfair to the MANY men I have as clients, who have been nothing but gracious and wonderful to work on. I began to feel unsafe, going to a house of a new male client, or have one come here.
I know for a fact, every time I have said to myself in the mirror, through tears, What did you do?!. The only real answer is attached to some bullshit I have been spoon fed for years by the media. This bullshit though, crept into my subconscious without me knowing. And ever since then? Well. Ever since then I will look over my shoulder and get a shudder down my spine and whisper…you shouldn’t have done, said, worn, been that.
Then I realized one day, that this was their issue not mine. That this type of gross shit is still happening in 2018. That every time a massage therapist puts her hands on a mans leg SOMEWHERE there is a man who thinks she might do something else. What we do is strictly to hands on heal. We manipulate muscles, tissues, lymph, blood, to allow you to walk away feeling like a completely different person. Not to be looked at as if we are less than.
I had this conversation with a male friend of mine and his response was “you should feel good, it means he thought you were attractive” (screams into pillow, punches said pillow) let me be clear for any man reading this post, women do not NEED to know you find us attractive, unless we are out on a date, keep that shit to yourself. Also let me say it again, we also dont need you to be attracted to us PERIOD. Let me also be clear to the women reading this post, this is not a blog that I am writing so you can think “oh she’s so full of herself”. I know 100% this had NOTHING to do with them be attracted to me, it was that they thought because of my profession and my concentration on their body, I would do and wanted more. This is so if you are ever in a uncomfortable situation at work, at the store, anywhere and something like this happens to you, maybe just maybe you stand up and say “hey! that is not ok. my body is not yours to comment on.”
Now this isn’t news by the way, this has been happening to massage therapists for years. Difference is I am absolutely done dealing with it. So, this happened yet again last week, and I asked the man if he wanted me to leave the room so he could compose himself otherwise i would have to end the treatment. The words left my mouth, my heart raced, I felt strong, and proud. He apologized profusely and we went about the treatment. A step in the right direction.
I went back and forth with the thought of no longer taking male clients, but that isn’t the answer. So I have decided, no matter how uncomfortable it may be, to call out anyone (male or female) who attempts to make my work sexual. To offer education about massage therapy to those who should want it, to teach people about the importance of massage and touch therapy. It might not be my responsibility but again, if I dont, then who will?
I looked at myself in the mirror this morning and finally felt like I could share this experience, with everyone. Do not let anyone off the hook because it makes you feel uncomfortable, sitting in our uncomfotablness is the is the only way anyone learns anything. Do not defend this behavior. Respect is just the minimum. From here on out, i demand it.