I went to the spa the other day. 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.
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, wanted to spoil 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 to get my first facial—at forty-seven-years-old.
As it turned out, the days leading up to the great event were crazy. My oldest left 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—I mean, student off at the airport, I drove directly to my ‘day of pampering’.
A young, upbeat attendant, whose body parts were even perkier than her demeanor, greeted me. Looking around, I realized that I had underwear older than most of the staff.
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! 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.
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 tolerate being charged fifty bucks.
Clearly that is the price of my pride.
So, I went ahead and exposed my fuzzy legs 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.
Ushered into a dimly lit room of tranquility, I slipped off my robe and hid my Neanderthal legs under the pre-warmed sheets. The technician 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.
For the next hour, she exfoliated and massaged, her hands moving in almost nonstop, mesmerizing motions. Unfortunately, her lips flapped at an even faster tempo in an unending crummy commercial.
Gifted, healing touches were defiled with sixty-minutes of constant product flogging. I thought about asking her what gave her the impression that I could afford a seventy-dollar cleanser. Was it my manicured hands? Oh wait, 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’d been worried about were the ones in my bank account.
She was on auto-pilot and doing what she had been hired to do. Up-sell.
McDonalds, Starbucks, even Staples staff ask if you need anything else. Why would I think a spa would be different?
Because I was tired, weary, and had waited over two years to use a gift card on ‘just me’.
Two hours later and thirty-five dollars over my gift card limit, I left with a small pouch of samples and completely stressed out.
Lesson learned. I’m 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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