First, a disclaimer: I am not a prude.
But when it comes to folks with non-romantic intimate access to my ladybits, only females are allowed. My primary doctor, gynecologist, acupuncturist, masseuse: all women. My dentist, EENT doctor, allergist, hairdresser: all men. I hope I've made the distinction clear.
I can't explain why I'm this way, especially when I frown on sexism of any kind. I suspect it all began when I got into a car accident in my early 20s, and the creepy (male) doctor who examined me for whiplash and subsquent back pain decided to give me an impromptu breast exam as well, with no other female in the room. I was completely stunned, petrified even, and the words that were screaming in my brain ("Is that really necessary? My boobs don't hurt! ") wouldn't come out of my mouth. My fears were further solidified when, many years later, my then-boyfriend attended a bachelor party and met a drunk gynecologist who boasted that he took his time while examining any attractive patient so that he could spend more time "down there."
So imagine my distress when I walked into my local Massage Envy during my birthday last week and realized that I hadn't requested a female therapist when I booked my two-hour appointment. But my profile clearly specifies my preference, I repeatedly recited like a silent mantra. I'd never experienced a mix-up at the Southern California location I used to visit, besides. I thought of asking the receptionist about whom I was booked with anyway -- but decided to shut up when two male therapists stepped up to the desk.
One of them was tall, tanned, blond, athletic-looking -- gorgeous, with a killer smile to boot. Oh, please, not him, I thought, in a way that sounded almost like a prayer. See, another of my quirks is that I don't like beautiful male strangers touching me. It's like whenever I'm in the presence of a male stripper, I look away so they know not to go near me. Of course that never works. I liken this to being with cute cats and adorable children. Because crazy folks keep trying to grab and squeeze them, they gravitate to those who simply ignore they're there. And so it goes; oiled and perfumed naked men inevitably gyrate their way straight to me, slither and sashay mere centimeters away, trying to get my attention when all I want is for them to keep their hands off me.
The other guy, though, was a shorter, stockier version of John Oates. Together they resembled one of my favorite 20th-century pop duos, but even that thought offered me no relief. "Gigi?" he looked at me and smiled. Oh, say it isn't so.
My desire to up and run out the door was so strong, the only thing that kept me walking toward our assigned therapy room instead was that I didn't want to hurt his feelings (okay, and pay a last-minute cancellation fee, too). So I undressed, got on the table, lay face down, and opened up myself to this new experience. Pretending he was female didn't hurt either.
Two hours later it was over and, thankfully, I didn't feel traumatized the least bit. It wasn't bad, actually, but I just couldn't relax enough to sleep. Maybe sometime in the future it won't matter, but today I made sure I'd booked a female masseuse. Besides her strange choice for small talk (natural disasters and climate change in Washington state) when I'd specifically mentioned I wanted nothing else but stress relief and sleep, I didn't have to do anything else but shut down for business. And when she heard my first gentle snore she stopped talking, finally.
That's another thing about me. Whenever I lie down and close my eyes, all I want to do -- whether I'm being massaged, tweezed, waxed, examined, probed, even getting my teeth cleaned -- is think of nothing and sleep. I'm certain even all my ladybits feel the same way.