Sunday, July 25, 2010

My Morning at the Spa a.k.a. The Medieval Torture My Hubby Paid Good Money For

Ever spent a couple of hours at a spa? Saturday I spent 3 full hours at a beautiful spa using the birthday gift my hubby bought me---a Swedish massage, a facial, and a pedicure. It sounds heavenly, right? Well, most of it was.

The massage was wonderful. Anna* the massage therapist told me I have strong abductor muscles (some kind of leg muscle) and that I was very limber. For a 40-year-old mom who runs 3 days a week that made my day!

The pedicure was painless, if you don’t count the strange man in the chair next to me. While his wife was getting her hair done he was getting a pedicure AND HAVING HIS TOENAILS PAINTED CORVETTE RED! I had to push my eyeballs back in my head and choke down the, “No way!” coming out of my mouth. I usually paint MY nails that color of red. No way. Not for a long time, maybe years, maybe never again. I can still see those long toes and hideous man feet with red nails. I chose the color “Foxy Lady” instead. (No comment from the peanut gallery.)

The facial was another story.

If you’ve never had a facial, you’re in for a treat. I had one several years ago when I got remarried. Because I was getting married that afternoon, I now realize the aesthetician went WAY easy on me. No one wants a red, splotchy face in wedding pics. A red, splotchy face you may ask? Why? You’ll see.

So I enter the room. It’s quiet. Soothing music plays overhead. A long bed is set up next to a bank of machines. I have no idea what they are used for. They resemble torture equipment the Taliban might use. I begin to worry as I eye the machines.

Fran* asks me to change into a small towel and lie down on the bed under the sheet. The towel she hands me before stepping discreetly out of the room is so small it wouldn’t hit the knees on my 8-year-old nieces. Oh well, I figure. The lady’s working on my face, what do I care? As long as it covers the basics, I’m ok. I change into the towel and lie on the bed under the sheet.

Fran comes back into the room and begins asking me questions about my skin and myself. Do I drink water? Yes. Do I spend time outside? Yes. Do I use sunscreen? Sometimes. What do I use as a cleanser? Dove. (I answer this one confidently, thinking I may be going the cheap route using Dove, but it’s good for your skin, right?)

Fran makes an unhappy noise and I look up at her (backwards remember as I am on the bed with my head towards her chair and she leans over my face.) Fran shakes her head negatively. My answer to moisturizer made her happy though. (Murad. I should’ve forked out more $$$ to pay for Murad cleanser I guess.)

She asks me if I have any phobias with my hands. “What the . . .?” I think. I tell her no, no phobias. She rubs lotion on my hands, inserts them into plastic sleeves, and then inserts them into heating pads shaped like hands. At first I am grateful because my hands need some extra TLC they are so dry, but later I realize she does this so that I can’t hit her when she’s working on my skin.

She cleanses my face as she explains what I need to be doing better (wear sunscreen, use better cleanser, etc.) and then asks me if I have a phobia to steam. At this point I stop her and ask, “Are there people out there with phobias to steam and having their hands wrapped up? She sighs and confesses that MANY people have phobias about both. Okay, I wonder to myself, who are these people? Why haven’t I ever heard of these phobias?

Back to the steam. The steam is to open my pores. She places cotton pads (with something on them I can’t remember) on my eyes and cranks the steam. I begin to relax. Fran rubs my neck and shoulders as we wait for the steam to do its magic.

Turns out my pores are tight. Unusually tight. They are scrooge pores that do not want to open up and share their dirt. I have to spend extra time under the steam. By the time the steam portion of our session is over I am beginning to think I have a steam phobia.

Fran places even more cool things over my eyes as she explains she is now going to turn on a very bright light (an understatement---I almost went blind even with those thingy’s on my eyes) and look at my 40-year-old-run-in-the-sun-and-wind-and-never-wear-sunscreen-skin. Yikes. What have I done? I cringe with embarrassment.

Fran then uses her instruments of torture to dig out the dirt in my many, many black heads. Turns out I have white heads she wants to dig out too. Oh joy! This woman attacks my pores like I attack a box of See’s Candies. She enjoys it for heaven’s sake! Tears run down my cheeks. I stifle an animal-in-pain cry.

An FYI: They don’t offer you any painkillers for this torture folks. Nope. It hurts. It hurts like heck!!! A tattoo hurt less than this. Seriously. (No comment. I was very young.)

I flinch every single time she pops out one of those puppies. I also realize that covering my eyes keeps me from seeing the instruments of torture she is using and my hands are bound and wrapped preventing me from slapping her hands (and her face.) That didn't stop me from fantasizing about it though.

After the painful part was over, the rest was what I expected---a mask, a scrub, a nice lotion. Overall Fran was very kind and great at what she does. My skin looked fresher, younger, and more radiant when she was finished. I felt and looked pretty good.

Will I go back in 2 months like she asked? Probably not. More like 4 months. It’s expensive and like a birth I need time to let the painful memories fade.

*Names have been changed to protect the innocent.


  1. I think that treatment would give me some phobias, too! In fact, it plays on one I already have--that when I go to a dentist, doctor, mechanic, bishop, etc., they will interrogate me about my needs and blame them all on me!

    The pedicure guy is freaky, too, but he does remind me of my favorite scene in the Lightning Thief movie...maybe it's a Vegas thing...

  2. T---Maybe it is a Vegas thing. I don't know. He was strange.

    Overall I enjoyed the spa experience though. :o)

  3. My facial is scheduled for Thursday. I think that I will cancel. And I am not nearly as limber as you.

  4. I didn't realize the painful part of facials.

    Maybe that's why I've never had one before, unless you count mudmasks from 8th grade overnighters. :)

  5. Peanut gallery says: Enjoyed your pain so much!
    Ho! The red toenails. Poor man was hiding a vulnerable teenage girl in that lumpy male body.
    And the torture you girls go through! No sympathy here... but I confess I like popping IXL's blackheads... some of hers are blue. She harbours a better class of blocked pore!