Sunday 13 February 2011

Valentine's Day? Aaghhh

So. I’m at the Lifehouse spa, newly opened in Essex. I had an hour to kill before my ‘Oriental Bathing Experience’ so figured I’d do a few laps of the pool and then have a bit of a steam.

Hmm. Interesting. In the UK, the ratio of men to women in spas tends to be about 1 to 40. Not here. It’s raining men. Except, hang about, they’re all neatly paired off, wandering obediently behind their women.

People are swimming in tandem; the pool loungers are all cosied up. Ah well, it’s Essex. Maybe they do things differently here. So I swim a bit and then figure I’ll steam to loosen up before my massage. So I wander into the steam room and, umm, there’s a couple sort of writhing on one of the benchs. Okay, so I’ve been to tons of spas and maybe I've led a blinkered existence but I haven’t hit this situation before. Soo...what’s the etiquette here? Do you:
a) back out, apologising?
b) get terribly British and go ‘tut tut’ and ‘well, really!’
c) shout ‘Aha, so this is where the action is!’ and jump in, scaring them senseless?

Actually I just sat in the opposite corner, stared at the little lights in the ceiling which were going through the colours of the rainbow in a somewhat frenetic disco sync and said a silent prayer that in this particular spa people wear swimsuits. And felt the waves of frustrated lust and intense irritation crashing (rather unpleasantly) against my etheric body. And thought, well tough.

So they went (letting in tons of cold air, the miserable bastards) and I stretched out on the bench. And was floating off into a little reverie when the bloody door opened again and a man (solo this time) poked his head round the door.
‘Er, are you okay in there?’
‘Fine, thank you.’  Or I would be if the bloody heat ever rose about tepid.

And off he went. Took me a moment to realise that he probably thought I’d passed out. Or maybe he was just on nookie patrol for the night.

By now it had dawned on me. I know, a bit slow. It was Valentine’s Eve, nay Valentine’s weekend, and the good men of Essex were collectively fulfilling their loverly duty and taking their sweethearts to spa.
Bloody great.

I really intensely dislike Valentine’s Day…  It's not that I'm not romantic, just that I loathe public displays of obedient dutiful romance. I hate boxes of chocolate, can’t abide stiff red roses, feel nauseous at schmaltzy cards. Why do people feel the urge to go out to restaurants on VD (see, even the initials are disgusting)? The prices are inflated and everything is heart-shaped. Is it that they feel the need for public validation of their relationship? It’s so effing smug. Okay, I’ll shut up. I did write a whole post about this but decided it was too curmudgeonly by half so deleted it.

Anyhow, I took myself off for my Oriential bath thingy. Now I’m not a huge fan of spa ‘rituals’ – I think they’re a bit gimmicky… I’d rather have a really good massage (preferably deep and probing) from someone who knows their stuff rather than be wafted and floated around for a couple of hours. But, I have to say, this was rather nice. My therapist promised a ‘journey’ and by heck, we positively hurtled round the East… We went from Thailand (foot massage) to Bali (tsunami shower) to Malaysia (I forget what happened there) and…oh, I lost track for a bit and came to in Japan where I was left soaking in a pool with a crashing waterfall and a mug of Jasmine tea. At this point the lovely Victoria told me to make a wish and then sprinkled me with gold fairy dust. And then something else dawned on me. The baths were huge and the massage rooms had several couches.
‘Do you usually do more than one person at a time?’ I asked.
‘Oh yes…this is great for…’
Don’t tell me…

Anyhow, there was exfoliation and I said a fervent thank-you, this time to myself for remembering to defuzz so I didn’t look like a demented hobbit. For this gratitude goes go to Bluebeard’s Revenge, which really is pretty damn good stuff..
And then Hot Stones massage. Now I’m sorry but I just don’t really get hot stones… but by this point I was somewhere beyond mellow (despite going solo through the bonded pair bathing experience) and Victoria, bless her, really made some serious inroads into my stress shoulders… And she did that lovely stroking thing… I tell you, if I ever become a millionaire I will pay someone to stroke my back for several hours every night. Now that would zap my insomnia, I bet you.

Anyhow, I came out after nearly two hours in a bit of a daze and decided I couldn’t be bothered to have dinner. I could hear the champagne corks popping in the restaurant and had a pretty fair idea of what it would be like. So I went back to my room and stretched out on the absolutely vast bed.

And then I did think…well, actually, this is a bit of a waste really...

Particularly on Valentine's Day... ;)


Viv said...

I did have a sort of spa day I can recommend, once.
The Bath (as in the city) spa ancient and modern experience is super. A trip round the museums of the ancient baths, a lunch at the pump room and a two hour session in the hotsprings spa next door, all for £58 each. No couples as such in sight.I took my daughter as a treat for her 21st last year.
I really really loathe VD. It's just so frickin' FALSE!!!
Thanks for making me laugh, especially the bit about jumping in and scaring them
ps, I did my own anti VD post too!

Mimi said...

I strongly recommend option (c) :-D

F said...

I'm with option c) too. Either they flee or you get to satisfy your pent-up lust. Win-win!

So no VIPR tomorrorow? What was the 3D part, and did it involve bi-colored specs? I'm kind of surprised they don't have morning yoga or tai chi. I thought there were laws dictating spas have sunrise tai chi.

Eliza said...

Funny :-) I hate VD too, and smoochy couples, maybe I'm just jealous, or maybe not.

Tattieweasle said...

Having argued all night with my love I can honestly say when I woke up this morning I thought that VD certainly lives up to its intitials and I grumped but then I came home fromteh school run and there were flowers, not roses, but flowers and well maybe it's not all bad!

Anonymous said...

Aw what a shame I am not there- we could have had a romantic night together- in the pub drinking beer!
What's the food like?

Ladybird World Mother said...

Bloody VD. Grrr. And am so with you with the stroking backs... I will hire one of those when I am very very rich. Sigh. xx

Daniel said...

What is it with women and flowers? I don't see why people like them. Yeah, they look nice, but they die after a week! Wouldn't you rather have a nice pair of jeans or top bought for you instead of useless flowers?