Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Stuff Chicks Like: Spa Treatment

Well, here we are; the last installment of Stuff Chicks Like before our favorite show comes back on the air. Although I’ve tried to avoid it, it’s been impossible to ignore all of the teasers planted by ABC over the past few weeks. I’m certain that we’re headed for the most dramatic season of the Bachelorette ever . . . well, at least until next season, but I’d be lying if I told you I was anything but overjoyed at the possibility of watching the latest parade of buffoons who will soon be vying for Jake’s sloppy seconds while high fiving each other in the pool and calling each other “bro” for the next 10 weeks. In the meantime, let’s discuss my spa treatment.

In the interest of full disclosure, I will say that I am a big fan of the massage. By “massage” I mean deep tissue or sports massage and not the rub and tug variety that can be found in various questionable establishments on the East side of town here in Austin. I’ve been to some hoity toity places for the aforementioned sports massage, but I’d never been to a “Day Spa” before. Incidentally, why is it called a Day Spa? I see no reason why the myriad of services these places offer can not be offered at night.

I located a fancy schmancy type place close by and decided to check it out in search of the perfect combination of treatments. Selfishly, I planned to select at least one thing I’d enjoy but wanted the excitement of selecting something I’d never heard of before. I committed to leave the phrase “happy ending” out of my vernacular and—as I’d been doing over the past couple of weeks—get as much information from the female employees as I could.

When I entered the contrived serenity of the spa I instantly noticed the emphasis on relaxation. The place was painted in muted and serene earth tones. Soft lighting and water features were abundant and the waiting room was carefully arranged to create the perfect staging area for my journey into the nether regions of serenity. The place smelled funny too.

I was greeted by “Cindy” who, unlike the now legendary Helen and the overly make-upped Ann, was young and attractive. Bingo, I thought. Cindy smiled at me and her perky spa-treated ponytail bounced like a fat woman’s belly on a trampoline. Her neatly pressed spa logo golf shirt and perfectly snuggy khaki shorts accented her tanned, toned, and taut little body. “She looks like a cheerleading coach,” I thought.

“Hello, Cindy,” I began. “I’m here for a spa treatment. What do you recommend?” Like an NFL quarterback checking his wristband, Cindy quickly went to the playbook. She produced a brochure from behind the counter that contained more options than the Bunny Ranch on a Saturday night. I pretended to read them all carefully before finally telling her that I wanted something for my face and some kind of massage. I realize that asking for “something for my face and some kind of massage” in a place like that is tantamount to going into Starbucks during peak hours and asking for a “large cup of coffee,” but I didn’t feel like screwing around. I wanted to be coddled and rubbed damn it and I only had two hours to do it. Cindy politely recommended two treatments:

The Mediterranean Breeze Ritual. Notwithstanding the fact that the word “ritual” conjured up pictures of Haitian women scrawling words across my back written in blood with a chicken leg while bongos deafened me, I listened carefully.

This treatment is inspired by the most delicate aromas and textures from the Mediterranean. “Sea water and lasagna?” I thought. The “journey” (there’s that word again) starts with a rich and pleasant exfoliation with an exotic blend of seeds, argan shell, olive stones, grape pips, and orange flower oil to remove surface skin cells. This is apparently called the “Cleansing Phase.” I found that funny since that’s what I also call my morning trip to the bathroom after a long night of Mexican food and beer. It was nice to know Cindy and I could relate to one another. Next is the “Healing Phase” which entails a body wrap in a refreshing breeze of aloe vera and mint to nourish and deeply regenerate the skin, leaving it irresistibly silky. My journey would end with a back massage to calm the mind and enhance my sense of well-being. 75 min. $150.

I had no idea what an argan was and was surprised to learn that it had a shell. I also thought that a “pip” was a guy who sang background vocals for Gladys Knight and I prayed that one of them was not going to emerge from behind a curtain and rub me down. Man, they must be hurting for gigs. Not sold and increasingly fascinated with Cindy’s bubbly demeanor, I chose to explore other options.

The Balinese Spirit Ritual. This treatment is based upon the phases of rising and diminishing energy of yin and yang. “Ahhh, the yin and yang,” I thought. Then I realized that I knew nothing about the yin and yang. Cindy explained with the help of her trusty brochure that the experience starts with an exfoliating scrub with extracts of sugar cane, citrus and apple followed by a soothing bath with lemongrass and ginger oil in the hydrotherapy suite. The ritual continues with a Swedish massage using an exhilarating blend of lemongrass, wild lime, and ylang ylang followed by a scalp massage with wild lime scalp oil to awaken the senses. At the end of my journey, I was guaranteed to have my body rejuvenated and my spirit revitalized. 105 min. $195.

Trust me, the possibility of rejuvenating my ying yang by getting it rubbed with some ylang ylang was tempting, but the Mediterranean thing was cheaper, so I picked it.

Cindy checked the schedule and penciled me in right after lunch. I was supposed to eat light and drink lots of water before arriving for my treatment. Cindy let me know that “Ian” and “Li” would be my “therapists” and that I should arrive 20 minutes early so I could “prepare for my treatment.” Whoa. You mean Cindy is not the one who gets to richly and pleasantly exfoliate me? “Who’s Ian?” I asked trying not to cry. “Ian is the Manager of Men’s Services.” She handed me his card. On the card was the flowery logo of the spa along with Ian’s name which was followed by a lot of consonants separated by commas. I presumed that meant he was either a plastic surgeon or he was certified in Mediterranean Relaxation Rituals. I sure hoped Ian knew what he was doing. “Who’s Li?” I asked. Li didn’t have a card—which led me to believe that she might be on loan from one of those rub and tug places. “She’s Ian’s assistant,” Cindy noted. Why in the hell does Ian need an assistant? Details. I left for my light lunch and water intake. Man, this relaxing thing is stressful.

I arrived 20 minutes before my scheduled appointment and again was greeted by the effervescent Cindy. “Follow me,” she said as the plot of every dirty movie I’d ever seen flashed through my head. “I’m going to take you to Gentlemen’s Services.” Gentlemen’s Services? Huh? I walked in Some Guy from Austin and now all of the sudden I’m Henry Freaking Higgins. Gentleman? It wasn’t like I rode to the spa on my bike with a giant wheel in front in my tuxedo tails and top hat ready to patiently await my impending spa service while perusing the latest issue of the New Yorker using my monocle for assistance with the dreadfully small font before heading to the horse races.

Cindy showed me the locker room and instructed me to “get comfortable” (read, Nude Up), put on my complimentary spa robe, and meet her in the Gentlemen’s Waiting Room. I walked naked in my robe down the hallway to find Cindy patiently awaiting me with a cup of cold water. “Have a seat and Ian will be right with you. Can I get you anything else?” “Yes, but it’s not on the menu,” I thought. Cindy floated away and I sat there . . . naked . . . waiting for Ian to come and scrub me.

Here’s where it gets weird.

Unlike my doctor’s office where the People Magazines are 3 years old, the waiting room had some current publications to peruse. About 10 minutes into reading about Jennifer Anniston’s stunning new home in Architectural Digest, the door—and from the looks of what emerged, I assumed it was a closet door—swung open and there, in all his glorious magnificence, was Ian. “Hiiiiiiiii (insert lisp here), I’m EeeeeeAaaannn.”

Good Lord. What did I get myself into? It was then painfully apparent to me that I was naked under my robe.

Ian was fit, tanned, and energetic. His frosted tips accented his angular face and sparkly blue eyes. He was wearing the exact same outfit as Cindy and—minus the push up bra—actually, I’m not entirely certain Ian wasn’t wearing a push up bra—he looked fabulous. His shorts were tight enough that I could see that either he was really excited to perform his ritual or he had a roll of quarters in his pocket. Clearly, this guy punted from the other end of the field. Richard Simmons would have found him to be too flamboyant. He might as well of had theme music following him wherever he went. I was willing to bet that Streisand writes HIM fan letters. Ian was—in a word—as queer as a dog sweater.

Disclaimer: Let me just say that I could care less that Ian was as gay as the day is long. It really doesn’t bother me. Granted, I’m not going to go dance shirtless with the guy or discuss shoes over hummus and sangria, but I was fine with him as my therapist. In fact, I’d rather have a gay guy with consonants after his name perform my Mediterranean whatever than some burly straight guy with no frame of reference. I wouldn’t take my car to “Ian’s Garage” and I wouldn’t want Joe the Plumber anywhere near me with argan shells. However, the fact that I was already a bit uncomfortable was not helped by having Liberace as my therapist. You get the picture. Let’s get back to Ian.

Ian skipped down the hall with me in tow and we arrived at Therapy Room 2. When I entered I saw a tiny Asian woman dressed in medical scrubs standing by my treatment table with a bowl full of what I assumed were pips and argan shells. “This is Leeeeeee,” Ian said. “Once you get on the table, we’ll start with the exfoliation rub.”

“Fu*k it,” I thought. I took off my robe, hung it on the door hook, walked over to the table, and lied down. I was pretty confident that Ian had seen a naked man before. I began on my stomach and relaxed to the soothing sounds of some Enya-esque music and water features as Li and Ian pleasantly exfoliated my entire body with the shells and aromatic orange smelling paste. I have to admit, it was awesome. Ian and Li stayed a respectful distance from my ying and my yang and I drifted away into serenity. “So THIS is the Cleansing Phase,” I smiled. Solid.

Now on my back, Ian let me know that the body wrap would be done and asked me if I’d like a hot towel on my face. “Sure,” I said praying that it wasn’t soaked in chloroform. After I was wrapped in what I assume was seaweed or some sort of odd cloth covered in mint, I closed my eyes and Ian applied the hot towel. I found this part a bit claustrophobic, but was able to relax after a few minutes. That was short lived.

Bound in cloth, covered in sheets, naked and on my back with a towel over my face, Ian spoke the most horrifying words I’d heard in years.

“Ooookaaaay, just relax,” he lisped. “I’m going to remove the towel and then use big strokes and spread this all over your face.” Oh. My. God. It IS that kind of place, I thought.” I almost burst out of my refreshing breeze of aloe vera and mint. “Remain calm.” I suppose remaining calm in that situation is the Stop, Drop, and Roll of gentlemen’s spa treatments. Once I felt a paintbrush and not Ian’s phallus on my face, I settled back into serenity. The entire thing ended with Ian doing some “neck work,” which sounds dirty but wasn’t, and Li massaging my feet. In spite the fact that I was naked with an Asian chick rubbing my feet on one end and Harvey Milk working on my neck, I was more relaxed than I’d been in years.

After the treatment was over, I showered in the locker room, confirmed that my skin was indeed irresistibly silky, and had a brief meeting with Ian over a cold bottle of water while he suggested some neck loosening “ex-sir-thigh-sez” to help me at the office and recommended that I purchase a good facial cleanser, exfoliating scrub, and moisturizer for my face. “I’ll do that,” I thought. “Right away.” He also suggested that I eat lots of fruits, which I took as a thinly veiled pass at me. I shook Ian’s silky hand and thanked him sincerely. He was good at his job and I respected that.

Cindy processed my payment. I tipped Ian and Li generously and thanked Cindy for her help. “Do you need anything else today?” she asked. “Your phone number,” I thought.

Well, there it is. Stuff Chicks Like. I hope you enjoyed the filler over the past few weeks. I had fun seeing how the other half lives. Tune in next Tuesday when I’ll post my recap of Ali’s first look at the parade of cheese that is the Bachelorette. DP


  1. Oh my goodness! I should have known better than to read this while at work...I am almost in tears from laughing!

  2. Thank you Lone Commenter. I need to route my email traffic over here eventually. I appreciate the read and am glad I could cost your company valuable--yet intangible--productivity dollars. DP

  3. Every single paragraph had something that had me gasping for air between laughs, clenching my stomach trying not to pee, or covering my mouth as my jaw hit the ground. That was one of the funniest, most cleverly written "man's perspective" that I have ever read. So risque and funny! I think you had pervert juice for breakfast. I'm going to read this out loud to my co-worker, who's very "shockable" (mother of 3)and see what her reaction is! Stay tuned...

  4. This post is in a word- too brilliant and hilarious!
    Love all the nuances...My Fair Lady references, Harvey Milk, and of course, you really should throw in Streisand if you are doing a post on What Chicks Like! Oh, and I'm so jealous you got to read up on Jennifer Aniston's new home! :)
    Great way to end the series! Looking forward to the Bach recaps!!!

  5. OMG!!! Had a freakin asthma attack reading this cause I was laughing so damn hard.....seriously you need to give up your day job! Love it!


  6. OK...I'm going to have to forward this one around. :)

  7. Can't wait for tomorrow's post!

  8. In tears...I am eager to read your take on tonight's craptastic events!

  9. Wow, just nearly passed out from laughing so hard! This was amazing!!!

    By the way, do you Twitter? guyinaustin is available!!!

    PS Where do they find these guys?!?!?! That lawyer guy with the slicked back hair is terrifying!