Having a spa day sounds relaxing, indulgent, and wonderful. It is. Everything smells so good. The spa I went to was an Aveda concept salon and every cream, oil, shampoo, soap, and conditioner smells like peace and joy. It’s fantastic. The best thing about the spa is that every service includes a mini-massage. The stylist massaged my neck and scalp. And there’s this pressure point thing she did with her hand in an upside down claw, pressing really hard into the base of my skull until my neck went limp. It was weird and a little painful, but in a good way.
Manicures include a hand and lower arm massage. It is incredible. This is by far the most awesome part of the swedish massage, as well. I wouldn’t have thought so, and maybe it’s because of my carpal tunnel that it feels so good.
The pedicure includes a foot and lower leg massage. The leg thing was fine, but the foot massage is just torture. I am so ticklish I can barely stand to touch my own feet. During the swedish massage, the foot massage came at the end and pretty much reversed any positive effects of the rest of the massage. My whole body tensed up, it tickled so bad. I also had to concentrate really hard on not kicking her in the face. My whole being was crying out, “You must stop her. You must kick her. Just do it. Kick her. End the torture!” I would’ve told her to stop but I didn’t know how to do it politely.
My favorite service was the facial. I didn’t expect that either. I thought it would be kind of painful. The tool cart had what appeared to be sandpaper on it. There was a little squeezing, sloughing, and scraping, but it mostly consists of warm creams, warm towels, and steam. The bed was even heated. It turns out that a facial massage is almost as good as a hand massage. I fell asleep during this one.
So, the great things about day spas are massages, smells, and warm everything. And the robes. I spent a good five minutes trying to decide if it would fit inconspicuously in my purse. It wouldn’t. There are bad things about a day spa, too. I’m not just talking about the outrageous price tag.
Spas are very revealing places. The haircuts aren’t too bad. The lighting is terrible for the complexion, but in the age of CF bulbs, we’re going to have to get used to it. The pedicure isn’t too bad, unless you’re really embarrassed by your feet. But the rest of it is pretty bad. I mean the first thing you do is get naked and put on a robe. Then you have to take off the robe to get the massage and the facial. The 30 seconds between standing naked in a room and lying safely between warm sheets and blankets is a nightmare. Fortunately, we live in the United States where there is still an (ever shrinking) ounce of shame about the naked body. Here, there are draping techniques for the masseuse to use to avoid full exposure. In Sweden, the spas are full of naked men and women, robe optional, and they share the same saunas and jacuzzis. I’m having a mini panic attack just thinking about it.
It doesn’t help that nearly everyone who works in a spa is beautiful. I get it. They’re supposed to be beauty experts. Who wants an ugly beauty expert? At least they are normal women. Spas are also plastered with advertisements of ethereal models with creamy skin and 1% body fat, posing in various stages of undress. It take some of the “goddess for a day” feelings, I can tell you.
On the other hand, it also inspires me a little. It’s time I start taking care of myself. I need to take better care of my skin, my body, and my health. Will I ever be 5 foot 11 inches tall, flat-bellied, with porcelain skin? Nope. I wasn’t that before five kids or the age of 30. But I can stop eating so much of the wrong things. I can exercise. I can apply moisturizer. I haven’t figured out how to get taller yet, but I guess I could learn to wear heels. (shudder.)
My “Perfect Day” had started badly. The spa improved my outlook on the day and on life. Now it was on to the next frivolous and slightly embarrassing goal for the day…