I’ve spent a rather inordinate amount of time at the computer lately, so I have developed a pain in my back, shoulder and right arm. Looking to feel better, I decided to cash in a gift certificate I had for a massage at Sturebadet, a gorgeous and luxurious spa in the center of town that dates back to 1885. On getting there, I was given the customary robe and slippers and told where to go and change and wait for my massage person. As I sat poolside, I saw a young, good looking guy making his way toward me and rather quickly thought: I hope I do have a woman. But of course, the tall Swedish man was the massage therapist for me.
So off I went to my private treatment room with Mon the massage guy. I’ve never had a massage in Sweden, but I do know how casual the attitude is toward the naked body here. In the US, you are generally taken to a treatment room and told to take off your clothes and lay down on the table while the massage person is gone. But when I go to the gyno here, for instance, the doctor accompanies me to the examining room and I just strip naked in front of her. There’s no changing room, no little paper robe to put on. You just take your clothes off and put yourself up on the table. It’s all super casual and I like that. But I have to admit that I was feeling a bit anxious about me and Mons in the treatment room and how this was all going to be handled. On entering the room, Mons pointed to a hook for me to hang my robe on while he held a towel in front of me to wrap around. He was very circumspect and professional. But I was nervous. Especially as I then had to somehow navigate my way to the table and lay down while keeping some modicum of decency.
It all went well, of course, and Mons gave me ane extremely good massage. But I did feel a bit uncomfortable. I’m from the Midwest after all. We tend to keep our clothes on there, especially with members of the opposite sex that we don’t know. Looking at it now, I realize that my modesty was perhaps a bit funny. After all, he then did work on my back for quite so time, up close and personal. And while I am 100 percent more comfortable with the naked thing here, I do admit that I wasn’t sure how I was supposed to handle this experience. Now I need to ask my Swedish friends tomorrow what they do. At least my shoulder is feeling better.