That same trip, I showed a little more skin while enjoying a massage at Hotel Paris across from the Monte Carlo casino where the James Bond movie Casino Royale was filmed. This was Greg’s first time getting a massage and he was a little nervous about the idea of stripping for a stranger and trying to get the utmost satisfaction from being rubbed in all of the right places without being brought to orgasm. At home,  it seemed a gentle breeze or a high five could evoke some explicit physiological reactions so he was going to have to bite his lower lip or figure out another way to remain un-aroused for sixty minutes while still reaping the benefits of a relaxing back rub.

I had no idea that I was going to be the one with the problem. My young, French masseuse opened the door to my spa room and it was hard not to notice. First, the light bamboo inspired furnishings, a couple of green plants, white linens, a pair of slippers and of course, a paper thong reminiscent of the undergarment they dole out in your birthing room at the hospital after you have a baby just to make an unpleasant experience that much worse.  Unlike the rooms I had enjoyed a massage in at home, low lighting, soft music, perhaps the sound of a waterfall, this room was designed to be bright, cheery with lots of natural light drawn from the over-sized, ground-level, curtainless, blindless bay window overlooking the nude sunbathers that laid approximately four feet from my cot and who all had a pool side pass to the prudish Canadian woman who suddenly felt three sizes too big and as hairy as Grover with imperfections that I couldn’t begin to list. I sat on the side of the cot without disrobing and when my masseuse returned expecting me to be laying with nothing but a paper thong and the furry patches that seemed to so ridiculously cover my body compared to the smooth-as-silk French beauties, I asked her if the bathers could see in through the window or if there was some sort of coating on the glass that created the illusion in my mind that they could in fact, see every wrinkled, blotchy ounce of me. She smiled and replied in her very thick, French accent, “If they wave, you just say ‘Hello!’ and encouraged me to get ready as our time was about to start.

Two labour and deliveries, sports teams where I had to change in front of other people had not prepared me for this. I was the person at the local pool who would find the one cubby that had a curtain before I would put on my bathing suit. At the gym, I would wear my yoga clothes in the car on the way there and shower and change when I returned home in private. I can’t have a bowel movement anywhere other than the comfort of my own bathroom so this might just be the death of me.

A few deep breaths and I took a closer look at my audience. Again, they looked fantastic and strangely comfortable with their nudity. They were relaxed, tanned, oozing with unimaginable wealth. I can do this. But how?

I did what any normal, rational-thinking mother of two, vacationing in a place she had no business being with her Old Navy jeans and Birkenstocks would do. I calmly squatted beside the far side of the cot so that my waist and beyond was covered by the trim from the base of the window. I started to unbutton my Winners shirt and kept my beige bra on, breathing deeply and poking my head up over the cot to see if anyone had noticed I was crouching. Unbuttoned my jeans and as I lowered them to my knees, I found myself sitting in an L-shape on the pale, maple floors wondering if my bare ass was now susceptible to some or many communicable diseases like athlete’s foot or warts…fungus. I slid on the thong. Why? It was made of tracing paper and an elastic band and I still don’t know if I had it on backwards. I began my ascent onto the guerney. Like a ninja, I formed my body into a table, bending to match the height of the bed and I shoulder rolled onto the blanket. In record speed, I grabbed at blankets, sheets, mattress covers and buried myself up to my nostrils just in time for Giselle to work her magic.