My clothes are neatly folded and I’m lying face-down wearing nothing but my pants. There is an awkward silence as a pretty young girl in immaculate make-up considers the word “groin”.
It’s at this point I regret my choice of Bugs Bunny boxers. Her eyes flick down and I feel less than magnificent.
It’s not uncomfortable. This is not my first massage, but it is my first with a woman.
Normally, it’s Steve the Physio. Steve the Physio is practical. Steve the Physio doesn’t do small talk. “Groin?” he asks. And when I nod, he roughly pulls my legs apart and, before going to work, sternly tells me to “Cup the balls, and pull them back”.
Which is not a phrase I’ve ever had to use, not that it would fit any other social situation.
“Andrew, can you pass the English mustard?”
“First, cup the balls, and pull them back!”
“Andrew, do you have any spare change for the bus?”
“FIRST, cup the BALLS! And pull them back!”
“Andrew, is this extended flight of fantasy becoming increasingly laboured”
“CUP THE BALLS AND PULL THEM BACK!”
But Steve the Physio is on holiday, and last week I was presented with the slim and attractive Muriel, and the thought of asking her to work the groin is making me feel ever so uncomfortable. Not that it should. She’s a professional; I’m a customer; and this is NHS approved physiotherapy clinic not a cat-house (which is second only to a duck-house in dodgy MP expense claims).
I think of saying nothing. Saying nothing is okay during a massage. No one expects a running commentary or political discussion. Small talk is fine. In fact, anything is fine, except for “ooooooh!”, “aaaaaahhhh!” and “just a lit bit”.
But my inner thigh has tightened and, if I am to resume running, I need her fingers to work their magic. So, when she approaches, when she lays her gentle hands upon my back, and asks “According to Steve’s it’s normally your groin that’s the problem, is that right?”
I don’t say: “Yes, if by problem you mean it’s too big!”.
Instead I nod, glad that she has gotten the G word out of the way and I can relax safe in the knowledge that I’m not going to embarrass myself by making some well intended but sexually sounding overtone to this young girl. Everything is going to be okay.
Until she says “So, where should we start?”
And I say, without thinking: “Cup the balls and pull them back!”