Monday, August 25, 2008

From Gay Talese's 1961 book New york: A Serendipiter's Journey:
At 7 a.m. a floridly robust little man, looking very Parisien in a blue beret and turtle-necked sweater, moves in a hurried step along Park Avenue visiting his wealthy lady friends--making certain that each is given a brisk, before-brekfast rubdown. The uniformed doormen greet him warmly and call him either "Biz" or "Mac"
because he is Biz Mackey, a ladies' masseur extraordinaire.

Mr. Mackey is spry and straight-spined, and always carries a black leather grip containing liniments, creams and the towels of his trade. Up the elevator he goes; then, half an hour later, he is down again, and off to another lady--an opera singer, a movie actress, a lady police lieutenant.

Biz Mackey, a former featherweight prizefighter, started rubbing women the right way in Paris, in the twenties. He lost a fight during a European tour and decided he'd had enough. A friend suggested he go to school for masseurs and six months later he had his first customer--Claire Luce, the actress then starring in the Folies-Bergere.