Tuesday, 5 February 2013

WILD day at the SPA

I went to the spa the other day. Now, before you go jumping to conclusions, the last time I went to a spa was to get a pedicure—having not seen my feet in nine months.

My youngest is now sixteen-years-old.

So, no, I don’t schedule ‘spa days,’ nor do I ‘do lunch’ either, for that matter.  I am a hard-working middle-class mother who spends her disposable income on frivolous things like heat and toilet paper

This mid-week pleasure was due to a $90 gift card from a group of well-meaning upper-class citizens who, I guess, felt it was time they spoiled me. (Or perhaps they just got a glimpse of the rain forest growth on my chin and decided—EcoEarth or not—it was time for some clear-cutting).

Regardless of the motivation, I made an appointment at the local spa to get my first ever facial—at forty-seven-years old.

As it turned out, the days leading up to the great event were crazy. My oldest was leaving for her last semester of college (she was going out of country; I was going out of my mind) and I had numerous publishing deadlines to make as well. Having dropped the deserter college bound child off at the airport, I drove directly to my ‘day of pampering’.

I was greeted by a young, upbeat attendant whose body parts were even perkier than her demeanor. Looking around, I realized that I had underwear older than most of the staff.

No worries. I am here to be pampered. To be taken care of. To indulge!

She led me up the spiral staircase to the women’s lounge area. Once inside the teak-encased changing rooms, she handed me a robe and flip flops.

That’s when I realized what I had done.

Oh, the horror! Oh, the shame! Do I turn and run? Here I stood in the fanciest, most uppity place I had ever been in, surrounded by women who ‘fit in’ . . . and I hadn’t shaved anything in . . . seasons.

Understand people, that when I was a double-income, no-kids person, I would clean before the maid came. Standing there covered up in my jeans, runners and jacket, I already felt naked around all the la-de-da ladies. Ask me to strip down into a robe with legs that had not seen the sun or a razor since summer? I think not.

But, alas, there are cancellation rules that must be adhered to, and being Scottish in decent, I was not going to kiss off fifty bucks.

Clearly that is the price of my pride.

So, I went ahead and exposed my fuzzy legs to all while I enjoyed the steam, rain-shower, snacks and lemon water circuit several times. When they finally called my name for the classic facial I had sweat off at least five pounds of water weight. (I had chosen the ‘classic’ as it sounded so chic . . . and was the cheapest one on the menu.)

Ushered into a dimly lit room of tranquility, I slipped off my robe and hid my Neanderthal legs under the pre-warmed starched sheets. The technician quietly entered, and took her spot at the top of the bed, her warm hands wiping my face while she examined my neglected pores.

And then . . . it started.

The crummy commercial.

For the next hour, she gloriously exfoliated and wondrously massaged, her hands moving in almost nonstop, mesmerizing motions. Unfortunately, not only did her hands move nonstop, but her lips flapped at an even faster tempo.

Gifted, healing touches were defiled with sixty-minutes of constant product flogging.  For a minute, I thought about interjecting to ask her what on earth gave her the impression that I could afford a seventy-dollar cleanser? Was it my perfectly manicured hands? Oh wait, no, not one of my nails matched in length and I still had melted chocolate underneath a few of them. My sculpted body? No, the only figures I had been worried about were the ones in my bank account.

She was on auto-pilot and only doing what she had been hired to do. Up-sell.

McDonalds does it, Starbucks, even staff at Staples ask if you found everything you need. Why would I think a spa would be any different?

Because I was tired. And weary. And had waited over two years to use a precious gift card that I felt I couldn’t ‘waste’ on ‘just me’.

Sigh. So I left two hours later, thirty-five dollars over my gift card limit, a small pouch of free skin care samples tucked into my well-worn jacket pocket.

Walking in the door, though, my husband, Don, and my baby-girl, Mia, were speechless when they saw me. I thought for a brief moment that maybe it was worth the aggravation of listening to the never-ending commercial. I must be so youthful . . . so radiant.

Then, I looked in the foyer mirror; I looked like a corpse bride.

The last thing the technician had asked before I left was whether I would like a ‘complimentary mineral make-up’ application. She had me at complimentary.

I went upstairs and washed the make-up (and all the expensive products) off my face.

Lesson learned. I am not a woman who does spa days nor do I think I really want to be. I guess I'll just continue to pamper myself with superfluous things like . . . heat and toilet paper.

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