Sunday, March 06, 2005

You want me to take off my underwear?

“You want me to take off my underwear?” I look at the young man in surprise, as I stand next to the bed. He is waiting for me to lie down. He nods politely as he prepares to take my gown. “But…” I splutter. Does he really mean I must strip down to bare flesh without even the lubricant of dinner and a movie? Can’t I even have a glass of wine first? His smile continues patiently. “We do have disposable underwear for you to put on during the treatment,” he says reassuringly as he reaches into a drawer. He removes a frippery of light paper which has a thong attached to a central landing strip the size of an Elastoplast. I am not ready for this, I think nervously. But there is no escape. I am left to remove my reassuringly black and prevent-all-comers underwear to arrange the minimalist scrap of disposable lingerie in the most discreet way possible. It’s not easy, I sigh to myself as I lie down on the bed and try to cover myself with the towels provided.

My young man returns, still patient, still smiling. Efficiently, calmly he begins to scrub my whole body with a mixture of coarse salt and something else which smells delicious. I talk rapidly, trying to ignore the unusual situation for me. I mean, I do not usually share my cellulite with just anyone. Matthew – that’s his name - continues, professional and efficient, answering my slightly hysterical stream of questions. I should get out more often I think as he begins to wash the salt off with many nozzles of the Vichy shower placed above the bed. I now regret the bikini wax I tried to do in five minutes this morning before I rushed out to do an interview before I was due to arrive at this spa. I had a premonition that I might be required to wear a swimming costume. I never envisaged this post modern thong thing. In my extreme haste to wax and go, I had burnt myself rather badly. The bikini area was now mostly fuzz free, but had the alarmed and reddened look of a freshly plucked chicken. Oh, how I wished those nozzles would wash more quickly over certain areas.

My young therapist does not seem fazed. He continues with round two. He makes a solution of milk and honey and begins to wash it into my skin. How decadent, I think for a moment. But how smooth! No wonder this treatment is called Cleopatra’s Secret. A great lover of creams and softening agents – I have never been able to bear dry skin – I am amazed by the glorious richness of the mixture. I am then wrapped in the plastic on which I had been lying all the time but hadn’t noticed due to my crippling self-consciousness. I babble on blithely until Matthew moves to a seat above my head. While my skin is absorbing the mixture, he begins to massage my forehead. One waft of his fingers over my brow and I am rendered speechless. Bliss. So this is what it’s all about. Not another word squeaks out of my mouth as I finally get the point of all this therapy. I stumble out of the spa a few hours later – refelexologied, massaged and facial-ed out of all thought. I am so relaxed I can barely find the door. And this is just the first day of treatments. There are more tomorrow. I really should get out more often, I think again as I stumble back to my peaceful room.

I was at the blissful and extremely delicious Fordoun Spa in Nottingham Road to do a story for Longevity. The unsurpassable Spa Manager, Trish Holdengarde, had arranged these two days of indulgence for me. The spa is highly recommended for a day’s treatment or longer if you can manage it. Trish will arrange a series of treatments for you according to your requirements. And, as a renowned Reiki Master, she has amazing insight into your needs. The whole experience is serious blissful. But be warned. Coming back to the real world is quite a shock after being royally pampered for two days. Sigh. I will just have to keep dreaming of being Cleopatra whenever I get the chance. I wonder if anyone will notice if the milk disappears more quickly than usual.

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