The Date at the Spa

The other day, I went to the spa. I was hoping to get a massage to relax my achy muscles after having the flu, but the appointments were full. I happily chose a facial as an alternative thinking it would detox my clogged and yucky pores after days of wiping my nose.

A couple of notes:
1. I realize "complaining" about a spa appointment is a major first-world problem. I have a very love/hate relationship with the spa which I touch on.
2. This is no way to bash or hate on the salon/spa I went to. In fact, I won't even mention their name. I actually love this place and the girl who did my facial. I was just a bit...taken off guard with  my experience.

The appointment started as expected. I arrived 10 to 15 minutes early to fill out the paperwork. Filling out paperwork to me is always like filling out a test. I'm always worried there's something they won't like that will either make them judge me or turn me away. Of course one time, I actually was pregnant, wrote it down as directed, and they totally missed it on my paperwork (The Elms at KC)! Chad had been the best (per usual) and tried to schedule us a couples massage when I was newly pregnant. He told them when he called that I was only 10 weeks pregnant and asked if it was okay. They said there were no issues. We reminded them verbally when we checked in. Finally, I put it on my paperwork: 10 weeks pregnant. I've read a little about pregnancy and massages, but for all intents and purposes, it seemed safe as long as they didn't massage particular reflex points that supposedly induce labor and I could lay on my belly comfortably. Halfway through our couples massage, he mentioned it and they FLIPPED. I mean, really flipped. She withdrew her hands as if she'd burned herself and informed me it was against her policy to go further and they had to stop. They begrudgingly offered a "mini-facial" in exchange and did a pretty poor job. I was rather upset they never formally apologized or offered us anything for the mistake. I used to love The Elms, but it is certainly something I will always remember and consider when planning future visits.

Back to this appointment, the esthetician came to get me. "Hi, Ashley. You can come on back. Take off your clothes, even your bra, and use this wrap to cover up. You can put the robe on over. You can also sit in the sauna and wait until she comes to get you."

Here's where my trouble always begins. I can NEVER, I repeat, NEVER decide when getting a facial whether or not  I should take off my pants. In this case I think she said to take them off? But I can't remember and this means a thousand thoughts are now streaming through my brain: ...Did she say to take my pants off? I can't remember. I always take my pants that normal? Is it weird if I take my pants off when they're only doing a facial? This wrap isn't very long. Surely I don't take my pants off with this tiny wrap and robe. I wonder if it's been weird every time I've taken my pants off before. I could ask, but that's probably weirder. What if they say yes? Do I think that's weird? Seriously, no one worries about pants this much...I'll just leave them on for now.

I went to get into the sauna and immediately stopped. Wait, who the F gets into a sauna with pants on? That's DEFINITELY dumb. I took my pants and socks off (which I had left on so I wasn't barefoot on the this floor and because my feet were cold). She arrived a few minutes later to get me. Her eyes glanced at my legs which I'm sure was nothing, but I panicked. Oh God, she's looking at my legs. I was supposed to leave my pants on. Andddd hopefully she doesn't mind a little leg stubble. Eh, it's winter. That's gotta be normal.

"You can leave your things on the chair and get on the table. I'll be back." I climbed onto the table and made myself comfortable. I was immediately glad I took my pants off. I started attempting to relax my own mind, which is always one of my biggest challenges. See, as mentioned earlier, I have a serious love/hate relationship with the spa. I'm one of two extremes: dead asleep or overthinking. There's literally no in between. And I'm generally not one for conversation. I'm a close my eyes, take in the music and either fall asleep and drool on my face or attempt to un-clench my jaw and relax my racing mind type-of-girl.

The facial started. She wasn't talking much and letting me relax which was nice. Everything was going pretty well. She asked if I wanted "extractions." For those who don't know, this is where they basically open up your blemishes. I can imagine some would say "no" to this, but this is one of my favorite parts. I feel particularly clean when someone does a good extraction.

She noted a couple spots verbally, including a spot on my chin I didn't even know was there. Apparently it was, though, because she spent a good 2 minutes digging at my chin. Please believe me that I have had several facials in my life and highly enjoyed them. Please also believe me when I say that I have never had one quite like this. It was...intense. I'm not sure I would say it was painful, but I actually thought at one point I was in a trap and she was actually Hannibal Lector about to scalpel off my face. Up until this point, she'd had such a light touch I was beginning to wonder if her fingers were made of marshmallows, but she became Edwards Scissorhands real fast.

Finally, she was done. I was grabbing the sheets and I'm pretty sure underneath the blanket, my knuckles were white. I forced myself to breathe and relax. I was apparently drooling out the left side of my mouth. I'm not sure why, but I can only assume her manipulation had temporarily paralyzed a facial nerve.

She then did a few other things and put a hot towel on my face. This is by far one of my favorite parts of facials  I just can't duplicate at home. The towels are always perfectly warm without burning you and it feels so glorious, especially when you've been chilling from illness for days.

She asked if she could do a foot rub. "Sure," I said. I don't know why I said this (I do, actually know why). It's because I'm accommodating and I always say "yes" or "sure" or "that's fine" instead of what really needs to be said like, 'No thank you, your touch is either very light and is bound to tickle me or your scissor hands will cut my toes off."

Well, tickle time it was. It took everything I had not to laugh. I know my face looked ridiculous. As a result, when she let go, my leg was so tense it suspended in air for 5 full seconds before I realized it, and I only realized it because she pushed my leg back down to the bed. Sorry. If only you knew that I was tense so I didn't kick you right in the boobs from the tickling.

Then she did my arms. They were apparently so tense, she had to physically bend my arm at the elbow for me.


Is there anyone THIS tense at the spa? I could NOT relax. This actually wasn't unpleasant. I just couldn't get a grip. My jaw was tense, my hands wouldn't release their fist, my mind wouldn't relax. I mean, seriously?

The facial and mini massage was over. Of course, afterwards, I was peer-pressured into buying products I don't need because I'm a sucker. Update: I actually quite like these....damn it.

All-in-all, I left the spa feeling poorer and probably with more tension in my jaw, neck and hands than I went in with. However, my face DID look delightfully glowy, clean and youthful and my face felt fantastic. I'm entirely unsure of my experience (although replaying it, it sounds horrible), but the end result was quite lovely. In fact, I'd probably go back, especially now that I know she wasn't stealing my face.

And the other upside is, I was definitely supposed to take off my pants or the foot/leg rub would have been far weirder than it already was.

But I forgot to take off my socks, so she had to peel those off for me.

Sigh. Maybe one day I'll get it right.

Ashley McCormickComment