There's a new massage place near my house advertising Swedish massage. I have no idea what is so Swedish about it, but I've never met a massage I didn't like so I figured I'd give it a try this week.
The certificates on the wall were all in German. Whoo! This place was very continental. Feeling oddly pleased that I hadn't shaved my legs in a few days, I made a mental note to eat a croissant later to round out my virtual European tour.
A sturdy blonde woman marched out of a side room and handed me a form. 'Fill sis out. Sen ve vill start. Please.'
Clearly this woman meant business. I did as I was told.
She glanced at the form, nodded once, and strode briskly into another side room. I followed meekly. She slapped the massage table. 'You know sie pozition? Face down, bottom up?'
2 Live Crew sprang uninvited into my head.
'Goot. You get nakit, I vill be back in von meenute.' She thrust an index finger toward my face to emphasize one minute then bustled out the door, leaving me to scramble to get nakit and properly concealed under the blanket in T minus sixty seconds.
Oddly small blanket, too. Picture a twin coverlet on a double bed. With a queen-sized occupant. I soon learned that this was not simply due to shortages in the clinic's linens budget; rather, my entire fusty North American concept of "blanket" being equal to "covering" was flawed. There would be no bashful unveiling of discrete quadrants or limbs this day, no sir. No sooner had I magicked the undersized blanket into a semblance of modesty when Frau Fingers came marching back in and whipped the whole thing right off. This lady was serious. And she could not be expected to seriously address the assorted knots and tensions of my musculature with any sort of fabric covering in the way. She even tsked at my teensy undies.
'You like some muszik? To help relax?' Maybe she could sense that I was a little uncomfortable with the unexpected amount of nudity.
'Er, yes please.'
She turned on Elton John. 'Everybody is different,' she muttered.
My musings on what she could possibly have meant by that were interrupted by the alarming realization that massage out of bounds zones in Canada are apparently six inches or so shy of where they are in Germany/Sweden/wherever the hell. But dang, she had delightfully strong hands. Was I really going to let a little bit of Puritanical squeamishness interfere with a seriously good massage? I weighed the pros and cons of the situation then, to the tune of Crocodile Rock, actively decided not to give a shit.
There was just one thing I needed to do...
* * *
'Dear, I've done something rash.'
'Wait, I know this one: is it quit your job purchase an enormous truck and get a nose piercing?'
'Um, well, that too.'
'Oh gawd there's more. Tell me it's not a tattoo.'
'That's not 'til September.'
'Wait, what? And where'd you get that croissant?'
'You're getting off topic here. Stay with me.'
'Okay, what have you done now?'
'I booked a massage with a German lady.'
'A real one.'
'From Germany. I think.'
'She was very aggressive.'
'I mean, like, if you had any sort of territorial boundaries marked out, like, mentally or whatever, I think they've been well and thoroughly trespassed upon.'
'Dear, don't you have anything to say? At all?'
'Are you ever weird.'
'Okay, whatever, thought you might want to know that I've been violated a little bit is all.'
'Can it be reimbursed through your health plan?'
'I'm sure it's fine then.'
Which led me to one final task...
* * *
Unspoken Spousal Agreement No. 722: a.k.a. the Appropriateness of Inappropriate Physical Contact by Health or Personal Care Professionals and/or Other Strangers:
722 With respect to physical contact transpiring outside the spousal partnership and inside the proprietary territorial boundaries mentally or otherwise staked out on the spouse in question's corporeal being by the other spouse:
722.1 The amount of personal grooming allowable (albeit grudgingly)
prior to incurring inappropriate physical contact by health or personal
care professionals and/or other strangers shall not exceed that which is
routinely or occasionally conducted for the benefit of the opposite
722.2 Creepy physical contact incurred during the course of routine medical health procedures;
722.2.1 shall be considered unpleasant by the spouse being subjected to the procedures; and
722.2.2 may be preceded by some baseline amount of personal grooming, pursuant to clause 722.1.
722.3 Creepy physical contact incurred during the course of personal care or other procedures or activities not strictly medically necessary yet deemed necessary or desirable (or at the very least tolerable) by one or both spouses;
722.3.1 shall either be considered unpleasant by the spouse being subjected to the procedures; or
722.3.2 may be considered not unpleasant, yet only secretly so so as not to offend the opposite spouse's sensibilities, and
722.3.3 may be preceded by some baseline amount of personal grooming, pursuant to clause 722.1; and
722.3.4 [new in 2013!] there are no holds barred so long as any related expenditures are reimbursable under someone's extended health and benefits plan.