Last night in massage class I had to completely undress, covering myself in nothing but a towel, in order to allow a fellow student to give me a massage. This is and will be common practice for me, most likely twice a week, for the next 6 months.
I found it a bit odd that this bothered me as much as it did.
I’m a pretty laid back guy and pretty open with my interpretation of my humanity and our sexual nature. I don’t have any major body image issues, although I can be a bit vain.
But none of that really mattered when I realized …
“Wait, you mean I need to take my underwear off too?”
As a fledgling massage therapist we’re taught to instruct our clients to dress down to the level they’re comfortable with for a massage. In class however, our instructors, and even some of our fellow class mates, are pretty adamant that people acting in the role of model for a massage instruction class need to make their bodies available to the “lowest common denominator” of undress.
In other words, and especially with the nice small class sizes at my school, I’m doing my fellow classmates a dis-service if I make it difficult for them to learn to properly massage my thigh muscles and Gluteus Maximus, for example.
The rules of modesty in massage class differ quite substantially from the rules between massage therapist and client and that’s something I’m quickly learning to deal with.
My basic coping mechanism was to hold on to my towel and bed sheet for “dear life” when mounting and unmounting the massage table.
To be honest I’m not nearly as worried about my kibbles and bits being exposed to the world as I am what that image would do to my classmates and my working relationship with them.
All-in-all it was a good night and I’m already learning a ton. Not only a great deal about massage terms and techniques, but also a fair amount about myself.