I might as well admit it: I’m a touchy-feely kind of guy. I have no reservations about greeting my buddies with a manly hug or a slap on the back. Sure, some people have their so-called space issues, but they’re usually neurotic germaphobes or hemophiliacs afraid of bruising. I strongly believe that peace in the Middle East could have been realized if someone had taught Ariel Sharon and Yasser Arafat how to do a totally rad Will Smith-inspired “pshhsss” hand-slap.

That said, the only contact that’s truly satisfying comes from girls. If you happen to be female, I will figure out a way to make bodily contact with your fun bits over the course of an evening. Alcohol is usually the path of least resistance, but I’m not above shooing away imaginary spiders, or pretending to be blind. I’m no hippie, but it seems to me that the touch of other human beings is something to be welcomed, not discouraged with personal force fields or fancy restraining orders.

I’ve been validating this kickass philosophy in increasingly creative ways. In my younger days, prevailing social conditions (i.e. the fact that I was an awkward, unappealing greaseball) drove me to visit a massage parlor or two. And just like a double screening of Bambi/Old Yeller at an NRA convention, there were happy endings. But soon enough, I learned that physical encounters were more satisfying if you don’t need to ask for a receipt. I started dating more, but my hunger for flirty contact was insatiable.

I never went looking for dodgy circumstances, but you better believe I enjoyed them when they occurred. For example, I had to take a CPR class and wound up being the only guy. I was cast in a play where I had to embrace a number of scantily-clad wood-nymphs. Stuff like that. And eventually, I grew the hell up and the need for such cheap thrills petered out. Until recently…

People who go to school to learn how to rub oil on each other usually don’t accept “ambient horniness” as a massage-necessitating symptom.

These days, I find myself working for a company that has a comprehensive health plan. This is a good thing. I’m a pretty healthy guy, but I sleep soundly at night knowing that if I suddenly contract leprosy, my ticket to the colony on Molokai is paid for. And a few weeks ago, I was reading through the health policy brochure, and I discovered that one of the services covered is…massage. My jaw dropped (and not because of leprosy, by the way).

You see, even if you take a handjob out of the equation, massages are pretty damn nice. They’re soothing, they apparently have some kind of therapeutic benefit, and they don’t require any kind of emotional commitment. Unfortunately, most of the women in my life have not grasped this simple truth. Sure, I’ve enjoyed the odd massage from girlfriends, affable co-workers, and homeless junkies who have the shakes pretty bad and could use the company anyway. But if I had my way, I’d have a pretty girl working my back for a solid hour on someone else’s dime. And finally I can make that happen.

The last couple of massages I had were on vacation in the Dominican Republic. In so far as it’s possible to appraise a massage in hindsight, they didn’t go so well. I remember that the check-in desk had a photo of a lovely girl and a massage sign-up sheet. It was pretty expensive for a country where bananas are a form of legal tender, but I figured what the hell? I was on vacation.

My allotted time drew near, and I waited in the lobby, excited at the fact that my sweaty, disgusting back would soon and at long last know the attention of a sweet, young island girl, perhaps wearing some sort of coconut bra. What met me was, in truth, more Muppet than human. She had leathery old skin, calloused hands, crazy hair, and big bulgy eyes. Since I’d already paid, I thought I could get through the experience by imagining it was Buffy the Vampire Slayer. As it turned out, I would be put in far too much pain to register any kind of sexual aversion.

The grizzled masseuse led me to a little grass shack on the grounds of the resort and proceeded to rip offending parts of flesh off my body. She also put on a soothing CD of music/jungle sounds. I hope I didn’t have to pay extra for that because when I’m being pummeled to death, the last thing I want to think is that my corpse might be picked clean by a bunch of woodland creatures playing the pan flute.

The whole experience left me so sore, I thought it best to get another massage. It was kind of like using “the hair of the dog” technique to deal with a hangover. And given the state of my back, “hair of the dog” is a fairly suitable analogy. This time, I engaged the services of a freelancer right on the beach. It felt okay at the start, but soon the masseuse unexpectedly yanked my bathing suit around my ankles.

I don’t embarrass easily, but I would hate to think the sight of my pockmarked bare ass ruined the vacations of the many families and sunbathers that decided to take in the spectacle. Some of my friends even wandered into sight range of my unsightly ass. Unfortunately, the tropical island didn’t have enough power to electroshock them out of their subsequent comas.

Understandably, I wasn’t too keen on massages after that. But surely a licensed therapist, covered by my health plan couldn’t steer me wrong. I decided to go for it. A friend recommended a place that had attractive therapists, allegedly. I made an appointment and began working on some kind of pretext. People who go to school to learn how to rub oil on each other usually don’t accept “ambient horniness” as a massage-necessitating symptom.

With a well-rehearsed and machismo-enhancing story in mind, I made my way to the clinic. When I got there, I filled out some forms and changed into a pair of slippers. I was greeted by my masseuse; a girl about my age and not too hard on the eyes, thank Christ. She explained the procedure and asked what kind of work I wanted done. So, my thrilling tale of how I injured my back while rescuing a kitten from under a pile of 200-pound weights was unnecessary, as it turned out.

I requested that she focus on my back and neck. She suggested that she also spend some time on my legs and glutes. Eager to start, I agreed. Hell, I didn’t even know what a glute was, but it sounded kinda sexy. I stripped down to my boxers, lay down on the table, and put my head in what looked like a crazy circular hemorrhoid pillow. She put on some “relaxation” music, which may or may not have been performed by Enya. That kind of watery crap always makes me have to pee, which quickly became a problem since I was already fighting an overpowering impulse to fart.

There are plenty of circumstances where flatulence is unspeakably humiliating, and I have to think that “naked-on-a-massage-table” is right at the top of that list. As luck would have it, holding in a pee and holding in a fart utilize the same biomechanics, so to speak. I thought I could make it. Just then, I remembered what “glute” actually means. I was in a heap of trouble. The minute this girl put pressure on my ass, I was going to void my bowels in about eight different directions.

Still, for all that, the massage was quite nice. She asked me to rate the pressure she was applying on a pain scale, from 1 to “Ow! Fuck!” Even better, she responded accordingly. My mighty muscles were knotted up pretty bad, apparently. So, even though I set out with juvenile, horny and selfish intentions, maybe what I was doing was okay according to some brand of twisted logic.

Truthfully, I was too relaxed to care at that moment. An hour can be a long time, but I was able to conquer my gastrointestinal/bladder distress and begin to enjoy the experience. Before long, I found myself floating off to dreamland, to discuss the true meaning of caring and sharing with a dolphin. That’s how relaxed I was.

When my hour was up, I got dressed, and the masseuse (for whom I didn’t even have to buy dinner, or drive home) showed me a few stretches I could do to keep my muscles more relaxed. And when a girl with nice legs is showing you how to do stretches, believe me, you pay fucking attention. Her display was like the cherry on some kind of “not-supposed-to-be-sexual-but-who-are-we-kidding” sundae.

I guess the moral is, if you’re attractive, and your career is all about slowly rubbing people, some of those people are going to get turned on, no matter how clinical you make the experience. I’m definitely going to get more massage treatment, and I’ll try to keep it as honest as possible. Accordingly, my next step is to figure out a way to demonstrably injure my penis so that it requires hot, oily therapy. I’m open to ideas.

Essential New Word of the Week:
navijockey (næve jaki) n: Road trips are a fundamental part of college, and the more people you can cram into your mom’s ’86 LeSabre, the better. Some go south in search of sun and booze, while others head north, looking for snow-covered mountains, and booze. Through it all, one constant remains: The navijockey. The dude who sits in the passenger seat. He deals with maps, organizes meal and piss breaks, and keeps lookout for topless biker chicks. His only payment? A tiny amount of additional legroom. The driver gets to control the radio, and the passengers in back are free to sleep, or possibly, drink. But the stalwart navijockey is the true backbone of the road trip.

More Like This