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2007-02-22 @ 12:58 a.m.
a day at the spa, she said regally

I finally decided to use my gift certificate to a local beauty spa that my Manhattan friend “G” had given me for Christmas today. Why? Because I had been painfully slogging through the last few days with headaches, bouts of diarrhea, and my damn sciatic nerve had decided to pop out of place once again, making it painful to do just about anything. So I called yesterday and was both astonished and thrilled when they asked me if I wanted a male or female massage therapist. Hmmm. Let me think. Do I want girl hands on my lovely, pale Irish ass, or boy hands on my lovely, pale Irish ass?

Boy hands!! Boy hands!! Boy hands!!! YAY!!

Like duh! What did you think I was going to say? So I was all excited about getting my massage and manicure and pedicure today. Like way excited, since I haven’t had a massage since Chakra Lady back in November and I’ve literally NEVER had a manicure/pedicure before. Can you believe it? I’m just not that girly. I do paint my own toes in the summer, but as far as paying some filipino chick to file my nails with some infected nail file (their places are least in our mall), forget it. So I really didn’t know what to expect. But this was a nice place. It had the word “Royal” in its title. (That’s right. Be jealous!) And I tried to dress accordingly (i.e., my nicer clothes from Goodwill). Think they’ll notice? Oh they’ll notice all right. Black corduroy bell bottom pants from 1979. Yup.

Anyways when I got there I had to fill out some medical information for my massage therapist. This is pretty normal. Having to take my shoes and socks off and putting on bright green flip flops with daisies isn’t, but bygones. They kinda looked cool with the corduroy bell bottoms though. And then the massage therapist came out and introduced himself. He was “Gustaff”. Of course his name would be “Gustaff” at a place with the word “Royal” in it. He was tall and very lovely to look at and 27 1/2 years old (I found this out later). He wished me a Happy Belated Birthday (it was on the paperwork) and we walked down a steep flight of stairs where he promised to break my fall if I tripped. I’m not sure if this was some kind of covert yet professional flirt meant to make a nearly 50 year old female client swoon in the presence of the man she would soon be naked with. Oh, I mean under the sheets with. I mean...heh, at this point, I’m actually pretty impervious to all flirtations involving massage therapists...right “A”?

Anyhoo, so we get down to this huge suite done in beige and tiger print with a fake fireplace at one end. Gustaff, it seems, is quite the talker. He notices that I wrote that I was an artist on my job title. Its so much better to write “Artist” than “Unemployed disabled bipolar woman who is afraid of everything”. So he asked me what kind of art I do. Now normally I just say “pastels”, but hey, the sun was out, I was on the verge of getting a free massage from a cute guy named Gustaff, so I looked at him and said, “Nudes”. I NEVER tell people I do nudes because there is this universal reaction of...of...stark terror, because people generally don’t know what to say. They either look down at the ground, or they think YOU’RE a freakin' perv for some reason.

But ol’ Gustuff had the most amazing response. One I definitely did not expect. “Oh, I used to pose for (name of my art group).” Me: gulp. I then inexplicably found myself apologizing for bringing up nudity (his) before a massage session where I was about to be nude in a room with a fake fireplace with fake logs.

Yes, I’ve really evolved these last few years, haven’t I?

So he left the room, I got nekkid and he came in for the massage. I had to tone him down a little because you know how energetic 27 1/2 year old men can be. I’ve been having a major flare up of my fibromaylgia, plus my sciatic nerve was being a bitch and he was massaging me like Andre the Giant kneading pizza dough. And he was a chatty one, that one. I don’t usually like to talk during a massage. I need the time to, you know, relax, but he was telling me all the things my body was doing wrong. Eating white sugar and probably TV dinners (how did he know?). And he was convinced I could change the bad posture I inherited from my Dad. Totally convinced! And he didn’t think using a treadmill at the YMCA was that great of an idea and thought I should roll around on my stomach on one of those big balls. hahahaha!

So I was talking to Zue tonight in my art class about him and we came up with an amazing discovery. She knows him. He’s the son of a former New York senator. A Republican. No wonder he was so bossy! But he did give a good massage and obviously had great self esteem since he kept mentioning the fact that “next time I come in to see him for a massage, he’d schedule out more time.” Oh honey, unless my friend gets me another gift certificate, or I win the lottery, taint gonna happen. And then there’s another reason, but more on that later.

Next was my pedicure and for somebody with an overblown foot fetish, this was absolute nirvana. Someone giving my little tootsies the TLC they so lovingly deserve. Married Guy used to be so mean to me. He knew I loved having my feet massaged, and if he was being an asshole that day, he’d either skip over them completely or just give them a cursory squeeze, like “Hi witty’s’re not getting any today. She’s been bad yet again.”

But they got the Grand Tour today. Lots of soaking in bowls with hot water and smooth rocks. And rubbing. And filing. WTF? Filing? I was totally nonplused when the woman got out this huge file thingie and started filing off the bottom of my feet. I sure didn’t see THAT coming. And then I had her put on the most shocking deep pink nail polish. Of course we’re still in the dead of winter so nobody will see my toe nails except Guardcat and I, but they are stunning, I must say.

The nails weren’t quite as exciting, since I wasn’t quite in such an orgasmic state and I actually had to listen to the nail technician ask me things like “Do you watch American Idol?” (NO!!!) “Do you have kids?” (Just a furry one.) “Where do you work?” (I don’t work).

And then the last part of the beauty spa day went something like this. I’ve been stressed out about it since I got home. And I was actually stressed out about it going in. On the gift certificate from my friend it said “Gratuity for salon procedures 15-20%”. Now was that a...ummm....suggestion or was that an actual charge they were expecting you to pay. Here’s why. I’ve had hundreds of massages and never paid a tip in my life. Oh sure I probably could have given Married Guy a few tips, like “Gee, maybe you shouldn’t be bringing me bouquets of flowers when your wife is in Ireland”, you know, helpful things like that. But as far as actual money exchanging hand....No. And its not that I’m cheap. I tip in restaurants. I tip my hair dresser. I even tip my chin waxer chick. But as far as having it imprinted on a gift certificate and then having it on a huge sign by the door, I thought that was kind of nervy.

First of all, I didn’t know how much my friend paid for my beauty spa day. It was a gift. Second of all, having huge signs hanging all over seemed kind of gratuitious. I mean, I went to another spa when I won a contest and they just had a small bowl that said, “Gratuity appreciated”. I wouldn’t have minded giving them a small tip. But demanding a 15-20% gratuity on something that probably cost over $120? That’s a chunk of change for someone who has to go to a food pantry. This spa day was meant as a special treat from my friend who knows I don’t have much. I’m sure he wouldn’t have wanted me to have to spend $20 for his gift. So guilt mixed with indignation canceled out any tip.

I just slipped on my coat and walked out. And I felt guilty. I only had a $5 dollar bill in my purse. Dang. I had given them my credit card number yesterday to hold the appointment. I just hope they don’t take it upon themselves to tip themselves with my VISA debit card.

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