Once upon a time, in a land far away, Mammy went for a massage.
In Mammy’s many experiences of massages, this one was particularly memorable.
Mammy carries a lot of her stress and tension, not only in her wine glass, but sometimes in her shoulders. Every year, around the time where Mammy has finished marking eleventy squillion mock English papers while managing to direct and be in a musical, on top of working and you know, Mammying, my little shoulders tend to seize up and act the bollox.
It happens every year. And so THIS year, Mammy decided to meet the fecker head on by booking myself into a spa, far far away, for a deep tissue massage.
Hah! Take THAT shoulders. I shall go to the spa and have some handy genius “rub my cares” away as I hum to the tune of Fraggle Rock and then I shall leave, relaxed and glowing and detoximified and calm. I shall be so relaxed that when I meet my mates in the hotel bar afterwards, I shall consume only water to aid the detoxifying cleanse that the magic fingers shall have induced.
And then, I went.
Spas are funny places aren’t they? We’re spoiled here in Donegal in fairness, but in general, they’re weird.
Think about it.
You are ushered into hushed and candlelit darkness, with hissing things and smells popping from every corner. We tell ourselves it’s classy. In reality, it looks how a lap dancing club might look.
Then, we put on a robe and slippers which are way too big over our bathing suits. What do you wear to a spa? A costume gets wet and then it’s icky to get off and impossible to get back on if you’re in for a treatment. And let’s be honest, a bikini often requires a certain mood doesn’t it? As in an “I don’t give a fuck” mood.
Then you flip flop your way into a glorified swimming pool which farts bubbles sporadically and you try to be graceful as you descend into it, not having a fucking clue where the steps are. You try not to look out of place amongst the other spa-goers, who are obviously all pro at this crap.
The other spa-goers, already positioned in their bubble blower seats, look ahead, aloof and sophisticated and looking altogether “together”, with expressions of nonchalance and boredom that makes them look cool…as if they BELONG here, pretending not to see you but secretly thinking, “Do NOT sit beside me. Do not speak to me. I can’t look but I want to suss out whether you should be wearing that costume or not… fuck. Is that a bikini? Bitch. I should have worn mine. I could soooooooooo wear mine. Next time. Yeah, of course she sat beside me. I’ll have to move now… Must look composed. Must look suitably bored. Must not smile.”
And you sit among them, pressing random buttons and trying not to scream in fear as things start spurting at you. After a few minutes on sitting in the pool in which you can’t really swim, you get up and head for the steam room and sauna, wondering why the hell you bothered getting your cossie wet when realistically, 89% of your time in this thermal suite shall be spent in the dry rooms.
You sit in the steam room until you are medium-rare and then try to dry off in the sauna, wondering why the place has been decorated like a brothel might be. Red lights are not relaxing.
And then you begin to wonder how long you have to wait until your therapist comes to save you. In this case, I was forgotton about and had to go find one. They’d forgotten me. No biggy… I was perfectly chilled after my hour in the steam room and red light district.
A massage will relax me eh?
Well. She was a lovely girl…
Let me sum it up for you in simple terms…
My “deep tissue massage” was a 15 minute head rub/hair pull followed by very strange and altogether frustrating rub on one side of my body because she couldn’t reach the other side and apparently didn’t know to move… It included random pinching of my skin as if she was using calipers to gauge my BMI and then, THEN… she started to slap my skin, up and down my back before doing CHINESE CHOPSTICKS on my sides…
If anyone had been watching my face through the head hole, I’d say they’d have had a laugh at my eyes popping open in shock! I swear to God, I was waiting for Jeremy Beadle to jump out from the shower curtain with his camera.
Now, she wasn’t putting ANY pressure at all on my back so I figured she was doing very little harm, and by the time I’d plucked up the courage to tell her to stop the massage, she’d moved on to my legs and was doing a grand job chopping my arse. There was a bit more there for her pinchers too so she seemed happy enough.
“Was that OK for you?” Poor wee pet was so proud of herself and I was in a confused state of WTF. I grumbled something about getting a glass of water and headed back to the dressing room.
I’m not a complainer. I wasn’t going to say anything really but then I looked in the mirror.
My HAIR looked as if it had been backcombed ALL OVER. It was standing STRAIGHT UP all over my head. Forget Something about Mary, there was Something about Mammy and it was NOT good. I tried to brush it and Oh my GOD, Ladies I couldn’t get the brush through it. I couldn’t even get my fingers through it. No one should leave a spa looking like this.
I rarely complain. I hate complaining, but sometimes, it’d be wrong to leave without speaking up. I pulled on my tracksuit and headed to reception, where the manageress was absolutely wonderful and so very kind. In fairness, as customer service goes, I can’t fault her. However as spa treatments and relaxing evenings go… yeah, it didn’t.
I had to step into the shower and pour the full bottle of conditioner onto my hair to try to ease out the tangles. I pulled on my clothes to go for dinner.
I was first in the bar. Water my arse. I needed grapes.
My mates arrived, expecting to find me in a sleepy state of smug water consuming relaxation, all chilled and shiny.
They found me with a bottle of wine, three glasses and my hair fecked in a bun because I couldn’t get the brush through parts of it, even after the shower…
As for my back? I thought I was fine. Turns out I thought wrong. I’m currently being fixed by a lovely Physio, who actually snorted when I mentioned the Chopsticks.
My Mother’s Day Fizz was courtesy of painkillers.
But hey! Lesson learned.
My shoulders shall indeed fall to bits every March and Mammy should stick to the local, fablis and non-red-lighting spas I know.
They’re a whole lot less traumatic!