Massage Mishaps (Andrew)

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”


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!”

Pop goes the weasely hip (Andrew)

“I’ve had a problem with my right hip. Just a wee niggly pain. I’ve rested it for a month and, before I go home for Christmas, I thought I’d get it checked to make sure it’s all fixed.”

And, with that, I removed all my clothes except my boxers.

Just to be clear, I was prompted to do that.

I don’t just rip off my clothes at the drop of a hat, jumper, trousers and socks. I booked a visit to a physio in Larbert, one I’d been to before so I knew the routine. I would say what was wrong with me. She’d say strip. I’d strip then she’d prod me with her thumbs and make me scream.

Again, just to be clear, she asked first if it was okay to prod me. Though I think “prod” is not the medical term. Her term might have been “apply pressure to the muscle to cause it to release” but, whatever the right term, the effect was the same. She prodded my back and then I screamed.

But that was just the start.

“Your right leg is tighter than your left.”

“I know,” I said “I can never get money out of my right pocket.”

She didn’t laugh. I assume she hadn’t heard.

“Lie on your side. Bend your knee. Raise your arm. Put your hand here. Keep that leg straight.”

I try and follow but it feels like I’m trying to re-create a chalk outline of the Hunchback of Notre Dame.

“Don’t worry if you can’t manage it,” she said, “just breathe out.”

I did.

And she pushed down on my knee.

Just to be clear, she didn’t ask me first. It was assault. A vicious attack. An unproved invasion of my physical space and a –



A balloon had exploded. The planet had exploded. I’d just heard the Big Bang.

“That’s it,” she said, “got it, you’re cured!”

And I was. I couldn’t feel any pain. Whatever had popped had stopped whatever was niggling the jiggling of my legs and hips.

It was a miracle.

But, blimey, it hurt. But at least it was over. Done.

Then she said the five words you never want to hear from a physio.

No, not “It’s not meant to crack!”

Or “Let’s call the Doctor now.”

Or “Can I cup the balls?”

It’s worse. It’s “Let’s do the other side!”