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Ask Ellie: Seek therapy for long-ago incident with masseur

What matters is that you haven’t forgotten it, which means you weren’t 100 per cent comfortable with what happened

Dear Lisi: Years ago, I went on a ski trip with some friends. We all booked massages for the second afternoon, figuring we would need it. I was given a male masseur and didn’t think twice about it.

He started the massage on my back and had very strong hands. It was great! My muscles were grateful. Then he asked me to turn over on to my back — normal massage procedure.

He proceeded to massage my arms, shoulders, legs, all very normal. He then said, “Your hips seem tight, can I check to see what’s going on?” I was wearing underwear and thought he was professional, so agreed.

He checked my hips, which were out of alignment, and helped loosen the muscle surrounding them. He wasn’t inappropriate at all. And I felt great the next day and for the rest of the trip.

But no other masseur/se has ever done that since and I wonder if it was wrong of me to let him? I’m wondering if I was taken advantage of all those years ago.


Only you and he were in the room together, so I cannot comment on what exactly happened. And, as you say, it was several years ago. What matters is that you haven’t forgotten it. That tells me that you weren’t 100 per cent comfortable with what happened, appropriate or otherwise.

To get past it, I suggest you speak with a professional. Perhaps you have purposefully “forgotten” some of the detail; or perhaps the #MeToo movement has got you thinking more intensely about everything; or perhaps there is something in your past that makes that incident feel different. I don’t know. But I think you need to find out.

Dear Lisi: Many years ago, I went on a quiet personal get-away to a small beach town. I arrived late at night and the only food available was delivery pizza. When it arrived, the delivery person had flecks of flour and pizza dough in his hair and on his shirt. I jokingly asked him if he had rolled around in the pizza before delivering and he said he was actually the owner and pizza maker, and I was the last delivery for the evening (he later informed me that he had just closed but felt sorry for me, so made my pizza and brought it over himself).

The next evening, while eating dinner at a local bar, he showed up for his own solo meal. We got chatting and ended up talking until the bar closed. Our romance blossomed and we enjoyed each other’s company for the week I was in town.

Unfortunately, my vacation ended and I had to leave. We both knew there was no future so we said our goodbyes and went our separate ways. We never even discussed staying in touch.

It’s two years later and I’d like to go back to that small beach town. I’d also like to see the pizza guy. How do I make that move, and how do I prepare myself for the probability that he’s with someone else?

Cheesy romance

Just go for it! He doesn’t own the town, so you’re welcome to vacation there again. For all you know, he’s no longer there. And if he is and he’s with someone else, so be it. Or if he is and he’s single, fun! Or not. Life may have changed him. Or you. Or both.

You’ll never know unless you go. Just don’t have any expectations.

Dear Lisi: I left my sister-in-law out of a group family email and now she’s furious with me. I didn’t include her because I wanted the quick responses I knew I’d get from everyone else and not her multitude of emails.

It was a simple email regarding availability for an upcoming family event. I emailed my mom (she’s the planner for my parents), my single brother, my sister (she’ll organize her boyfriend), and my married brother.

Now my sister-in-law is convinced she’s not included and I hate her. Not true! I just assumed my brother would discuss it with her.

But she’s now refusing to attend the event. What do I do?

Impatient Sister-in-law

Your signature shows a self-awareness. You know what to do — apologize. Probably several times. And don’t go into detail because you’ll hurt her feelings.

Tell her you emailed your siblings and mom to keep it simple; you absolutely didn’t mean to offend.

You’re going to have to bite the bullet on this if you want to keep the peace.


Ellie Tesher and Lisi Tesher are advice columnists for the Star and based in Toronto. Send your relationship questions via email: [email protected].