My husband had signed up for a “full body massage” under his name, which they told us the day we arrived, confirming the spa appointment. I figured it was fine since usually it doesn’t matter what name you put it under, right?
I’m completely pumped (and slightly lost) as I go into the fancy (and huge) elevator on my way to the spa. I meet the most gorgeous man (it has to be admitted) in the elevator asking me if I’m going down. It turns out that he is the manager of the hotel. He guesses that I’m a career woman at one of the workshops the hotel is hosting. I’m not exactly correcting him (feels good to be seen as a power woman instead of power mama-sorry kids) and we have a nice (normal, grown up) chat. He leaves me with a wink.
The spa is on the same floor as the hotel lobby and as I walk out in my long flowy summer dress and my bag with my swimsuit (definitely not bikini ready yet…not even at a spa), I carry it like a briefcase, holding my head up high. Professional, successful career woman coming through (and men still find me…hmm, at least worth winking to). I turn from “couldn’t feel more like a woman” to…not…
As in “not feeling much like a woman at all”. I still ride high with the confidence of just doing fine without my kids as an attachment and on my own as a separate entity…ehm, person and march straight up to the spa counter. I explain who I am and that the “full body massage” is under my husband’s name. They look so taken back, I get confused. “There is no problem is there?”
Apparently you have to sign up with your own name because women and men go to separate areas of the spa. They also get massaged by the same sex masseuses only. Now there is no available female masseuse for me (is that really such a huge issue? Kidding, just kidding…wouldn’t want a man masseur, of course not!) To their defense they scramble to make it right, telling me to hold on and not leave. This is a pretty upscale hotel after all…but I guess they have a system. How can this never have happened before…that is hardly the case. In fact, this must happen all the time!
“Mam, we are sorry but this has never happened before”
Alrighty then! As more people arrive in the tiny reception area they tell me to please follow a young man into a separate waiting area. You guesses it…the men’s waiting area. Okay, well, no problem, I’m a big girl and I certainly don’t get uncomfortable waiting with men for my “full body massage” (big, loud, hairy men). I’m also a Swedish woman, and what are we if not equal. I sit and I wait. Next to an extra-large, extra tall man who keeps complaining about his robe being too small. “But I’m spilling out everywhere”. Okay then, revert your eyes, revert! Why are there no magazines in here, why? Doesn’t all waiting areas have them…isn’t there some mandatory law about this?
A male staff member (naturally) comes to get me. Oh, good finally! I mean I was totally fine waiting, but you know, just ready for my massage (by a female of course). They take me to another room full of men (oh no, more waiting?) I can totally hang, no problem. There, they have us fill out a bunch of forms including questions about how we want our massage (gentle and soft…I’m such a wimp), focus on neck and shoulders (I’m a baby wearing mama), go easy on my back (again…a mama) and don’t touch my feet (just don’t like strangers touching my feet, really, not much of an explanation). I also fill out “no talking at all” (I just want to relax).
Luckily (I guess) they find me a female masseuse. She gets quite surprised (after reading my form over), that I can’t seem to stop talking. Happily chatting away, mostly about how nice, yet strange (and a little sad) it is to be without both kids (and how extremely unusual…has it ever happened? Not since my bed rest and baby was born, I guess). The girl is pretty young and she follows my lead (but tries to slow me down and whisper, this is a spa after all). The quieter she gets, the louder I find myself getting. I see her glancing at the form several times (yup, big old cross through the “no talking at all” box). She smiles and continues to whisper about what a good mom I am and how I deserve to relax, “completely let your stressed body relax and forget about the outside world” (read; “shut up already”). I also completely ruin her planned trip to Mexico (she has saved up for years) by saying how dangerous it could be for a young, blond girl traveling alone. And then spend about ten minutes (unsuccessfully) backtracking. It’s about here she tells me to face downwards and burry my head deep into the head rest.
The rest of the massage is spent in awkward silence. I start to actually worry if my husband has a handle on things up in the room and I actually miss them (all of them). I’m starting to rethink the complimentary steam, sauna and Jacuzzi dip afterwards, but no, this is “me time” and I’m here to relax.
I go back to the men’s changing room, hesitating at the door. This is where I changed and left my clothes and they assured me, no men would be in there, but what about now? The staff had explained that no one will usually be changing at the same time because of the nature of the scheduling and that it’s part of the “relaxing atmosphere” and experience to be alone in the changing room that also holds showers, bathroom, sauna and steam room, before and after your appointment. But how long after? Again, not the end of the world, not for me (of course not, I’m so open and natural) but the other person (the male person) might mind.
I hang around outside the waiting room hesitating so long, I get scared my allotted time is up. I pretend to sip some tea (now cold), roll my newly massaged neck (oh, nice new techniques) and study some of the wall art (boring). Finally someone asks (because obviously I don’t want to be a bother by asking myself), if they can help me with anything. I’m again reassured I will be alone in the changing room. I actually have an extra twenty minutes (giving me 40), to enjoy because I was the last “male” appointment for the hour.
Great! I feel so much better! Steam, sauna, quick shower, change into my swimsuit and some Jacuzzi time it is! I feel excited, I need this. I sit in the steam room, relaxing, I go in the sauna, nice! No surprises (read; no naked men) but then…