Yet conversations with massage therapists might easily create disillusionment with the term "happy ending." What for the longest time inspired images of an animated prince leaning forward to kiss a shy princess while cute animals frolic around them has now come to represent men who can't take no for an answer. As a therapist who won't provide a happy ending, Sara says she is inundated by sexual euphemisms, sleazy persuasion tactics, and insults every day.
The insults are regular, almost every day.
Justine, a therapist with over a decade's experience, said she deals with clients who come onto her in person by threatening to call the police. "Often that's the only way to convince them that I'm not playing hard to get."This corresponds with advice from Jennifer Wayte, president of the FHT. "If inappropriate client requests do occur, professional conduct by the therapist and the use of language that creates clear boundaries should ensure that the issue is nipped in the bud," Wayte told me. "In the event this doesn't work, and a client persists, therapists are advised to stop the treatment immediately and can contact the police to report the incident."
Over and over, through to the end of the massage, he insisted that I must be gay for turning him down.
Why is this behavior so common? According to Wayte, it's for the obvious reasons. "Unfortunately, cases of sexual harassment occur within the industry, in part due to the tactile nature of massage treatments and the necessity for partial disrobing by the client."Therapists have different opinions. "They're spoiled, rich men," Anna said of her clients. "Lonely and emotionally starved," was Sara's estimation.Stories of therapists touching clients inappropriately during massages tend to make the headlines, especially as these cases are usually reported to the police. In 2014 and 2015, for instance, multiple women across the United States complained that their therapists at a chain massage parlor called Massage Envy harassed or assaulted them in various ways during therapy. But the sexual comments, incessant badgering, and sexist insults faced by women who work as therapists are such a frequent occurrence, they're simply shrugged off as part of the job.Over the years, Sara's reaction to this badgering has shifted from disgust and outrage to exasperation and acceptance. She sees no alternative to dealing with jerks to get to clients interested in her real skills. "All the therapists face it," she said.*Names have been changed.
It is very disheartening. I can't see myself doing this work for much longer.