Naturally, a first massage comes with all kinds of questions about what it will be like to be in that position. Will there be any awkwardness from being touched and handled in ways that do not ordinarily come up, let us say, in the ordinary course of business relationships?
It surprised me that I was most unprepared for a touch that might be considered one of the simplest. When the therapist grasped my hand gently to move my arm around, it was unexpectedly intimate in a way that the rest of the hour was not.
Holding hands is such an ordinary intimacy that it's easy to forget just how real and connected it makes you feel to another person -- and them to you. I love to reach for my children's hands, and I always feel like a small miracle has occurred when they wordlessly and simply accept the invitation by lifting their hands to mine. I have a habit of stretching my right arm back between the front seats while driving and grasping each of the kids' hands in turn. And I'm sure we all remember how thrilling it was to hold hands with a boyfriend or girlfriend in that first blush of puppy love, and how comforting to reach for a spouse's hand while walking or sitting together.
It's not the strange touches that jolt us with their power, but the familiar ones. How interesting to learn that today while on the massage table, having my hand held by someone I'd only just met.