After four months and three GPs I finally went to my appointment with the physio today. Though it wasn’t the physio. It was another gate-keeper, or, as they call it, the Specialist Community Physio Practitioner. This is a step up, as, unlike the GPs, he will move away from his computer and look at me, even touch. It is, I realise, the practice for GPs not to do anything other than document the complaint. The Specialist Community Physio Practitioner asks me to take my shirt off. He touches me at various points with two strips of tissue. He then asks me to put my shirt back on. Then I take my shoes and socks off and he tickles my toes with the kleenex. I put them back on. Then he asks me to take my trousers off. After some prodding of the legs I put my trousers back on. I see this is the ploy for the Specialist Community Physio Practictioner. You do not ask the patient to take all his clothes off at once. It is only partial nudity. I am not to be revealed in all my Ionic splendour. That way we are not vulnerable before the doctor. Any specialist on the erotic will tell you that partial revelation of the body is more likely to incite arousal than total nudity, my hammer toes notwithstanding. But no matter, it is not to be. And I have no trouble with the business of my nudity. I am happy to reveal it in public arenas, certain public arenas. In the gym I make the trip from locker to the shower divest of all lendings with impunity. The willy, as far as I am concerned, is an anonymous beast. In a line-up no-one would pick mine out from a crowd. It plys its trade like any other, anonymous, a face in the crowd amongst so many others. It is, of course, the American paranoia machine that keeps the willy in thrall, like their hyper-hygiene, their hyper-hydration. Though I would not go so far as the Germans in their happy Naktheit. In Baden-Baden you will be expected to negotiate a business contract as unadorned as Adam (or Eve) in the public baths with some executive from Credit Suisse. We would shake hands on the deal and I would with great difficulty stop my eye from dipping below the horizontal. But these are doctors we are dealing with. If they can’t look at the merchandise there’s no hope. They have to see how the leg-bone’s connected to the shoulder-bone and the shoulder-bone connected to the back-bone. Let it all hang out!
As an addendum, I hear that the Finnish Foreign Secretary’s office often speaks to journalists in the sauna with everyone in the nude. This I hear from Alastair who heads the Brussels Reuters bureau. As my friend Christina says, it’s a case of debriefing without the briefs.