My super generous brother and his wife bought me a voucher for my birthday, to use at the Treatment Rooms, Brighton’s premier hair removal and back pummelling day spa. So off I went last week to have a Swedish massage and a facial. There had been some debate amongst friends as to whether a Swedish massage involved being karate chopped up and down your legs. We decided that perhaps that was a Turkish massage, which instantly had me thinking of that scene in Eastern Promises when Viggo Mortensen has a naked knife fight in a hamam. Very much not what you’re meant to be thinking about when you go for a pampering morning, but you know, enduring image and all that.
It struck me that you only go for massages and facials when you’re orbiting 40. It never crossed my mind to do so in my Thirties or before. Then, I could wake from a night of strong lager and chips looking charmingly dishevelled, not haggard, as I do now. So I’m still a novice when it comes to spa etiquette. It’s all about relaxing, but I spent the first 10 minutes of my massage worrying about whether I should have taken my knickers off. And all that wandering about in a robe and slippers makes me feel a bit self-conscious, too, but perhaps that’s just a sign of immaturity? Bet Kylie doesn’t blanch at wearing a waffle dressing gown in a public-ish space.
The facial, which I naively thought would be all soothing swishing and cool lotions actually involved what my 12-year-old beautician termed ‘extraction’. That’s spot picking and pore dredging, really, using your nails. It hurt so much it made my eyes water. Once finished, she informed me that my eye area was ‘very dry’. It’s not dry love, those are just wrinkles. Silly! You’re still about three decades off getting your first, it’s true, which must be why you’re so shocked.
This firm-skinned imp then managed to flog me some stupidly overpriced eye cream, despite all the chunterings of my inner sceptic. You only need a dab, she said, but its cynical pump action bottle means you get a generous squirt each time you use it then go about looking like you’ve been weeping tears of lard.
In short, I am old enough to need the services of the Treatment Rooms, but perhaps not mature enough to be able to handle them. And, just so you know, I shall be keeping my knickers on next time.