Not so long ago, a male client, in a rather awkwardly smiling fashion, said to me: “This must be very easy for you with the ladies!?” Well, I had an idea of what he meant, but I asked him to clarify.
He said, “You know, it’s a very good starter to … you know … well … to get to know women!” Ah, okay! That’s what I’d thought. I responded that this is not at all the case. That he got it very wrong. That it’s actually quite the opposite.
As a matter of fact when it’s about personal, say private relationships with my clients, I feel somewhat like Lucky Luke. You see, at the end of each comic episode Lucky Luke rides off, alone, only accompanied by the sunset on Jolly Jumper (his horse), singing: “I’m a poor lonesome cowboy, and a long way from home…” And that’s about how it feels to be a Thai Massage therapist — lonesome. Lonely. Alone.
Being a Thai Masseur (or a practitioner of any other healing arts), doesn’t allow you to make friends with your clients that easily — it’s a professional relationship. There are certain unspoken boundaries both sides generally won’t cross.
Sure, massage and bodywork is rather personal, can be quite intimate on an emotional and physical level, but as a practitioner you basically just come, you do and you go. And everything done, belongs and stays within the limits, within the space of the particular session(s).
If I would try to make friends, let’s say for instance invite a client for lunch or to the movies, I could easily be seen as some kind of pervert using his profession “to get some.” I just need to be very careful. And this works both ways.
And try to imagine this — suppose I become friends with one of my clients, how will they introduce me on their birthday party? Maybe like: “Uhhh … look … uh … this is my personal masseur… you know, well, the guy who rocks my buttocks and does blood-stops in my groins!” Yeah, right! You see? Not done really!
And I know it’s all put somewhat black and white, but this is basically how it works. It doesn’t mean one couldn’t build a meaningful friendship with a client or maybe even a love-relationship — in the long run, after many sessions and after getting to know each other on another level. Of course. This can happen and it does happen now and then in similar situations, between like for instance a medical doctor and patient, or a psychologist and their client.
So when it comes to building a personal relationship or a fancy with a client, my advice for practitioners would be this: if you meet this new client and you’d like “to get some” or just want to become serious friends, well, just don’t accept the session. Don’t do it!
Refuse immediately! If you want to have a shot at all, be honest and say: “I’m really sorry, can’t do the session! I like you too much!” And you maybe get slapped in the face and end up like Lucky Luke anyhow, but at least you’ve tried!