"Masseuse" replacing "masseur"?

Dave Wilton dave at WILTON.NET
Wed Oct 5 01:45:17 UTC 2005

> -----Original Message-----
> From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU]On Behalf
> Of Laurence Horn
> Sent: Tuesday, October 04, 2005 10:44 AM
> Subject: Re: "Masseuse" replacing "masseur"?
> P.S.  I agree with that last point too, i.e. that the use of either
> "masseuse" with a male referent or "male masseuse" may be especially
> suggestive of the happy-ending variety of massage, the prevalence of
> which has incidentally prompted the classic retronym "therapeutic
> massage".

While the term is used to make this distinction, the real prompt for
"therapeutic massage" is the acceptance by the medical community (and
insurance companies) that massage can have a medical benefit for certain
complaints and can be a valued source of pain relief--as opposed to the
traditional massages given for relaxation by legitimate spas and not ordered
by a doctor. The rise of "therapeutic massage" as a term has less to do with
"happy endings" than with insurance payments.

--Dave Wilton
  dave at wilton.net

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