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I survived the spa

I just returned home from a show at Baby #1’s preschool. She and her fellow classmates were dressed in astronaut suits made from paper market bags. They sang a few songs, and then each person emerged from underneath the jungle gym, which had been covered with paper in an attempt to resemble a space ship, and announced which planet they had just visited. She joyfully told the crowd of videotaping parents (I was not videotaping since I discovered moments before the performance began that our camera had a dead battery) that she had come from Pluto. This was an interesting choice since Hubby #1 and I had had quite a few discussions with her about how Pluto was no longer considered a planet. Nonetheless, she seemed quite happy and so I can only assume that, with or without planet status, Pluto is quite nice this time of year.

A mere five days ago, I myself was enjoying what felt like another planet – warm, sunny La Quinta. Hubby #1 and I enjoyed a long overdue weekend away. The purpose of the weekend sans babies was, of course, to RELAX. And it was relaxing…for the most part.

As part of our weekend of peace and quiet, I booked us for a “desert duet,” aka couples’ massages. It was only as we were blissfully walking into the spa, hand-in-hand, that I had second thoughts about the whole couples’ part of the massage. Was that going to be weird? At practically the same time, Hubby #1 was hit with the same thought and he questioned why I had booked the treatment for two instead of separately. I had no good answer. It sounded fun and special at the time…but now I wasn’t sure. We approached the front desk and inquired about separating our massages. No luck – it was together or not at all. We decided a potentially weird massage for two was better than no massage, so we stuck with our plan.

Without time to coordinate the meet-back-up plan with Hubby #1, I was whisked away into the women’s locker room where I was given plastic sandals, a robe, and a key on a stretchy pink wristband. They quickly gave me a tour, then dropped me off at my locker. My lackluster sense of direction, combined with the fact that in general spas make me feel like a dumbass, meant that I discreetly changed into my robe, leaving my bathing suit bottoms on and made a dash for the co-ed waiting patio in search of Hubby #1. After a couple wrong turns, I found my desired destination, but, of course, Hubby #1 was nowhere in sight. I approached the table offering icy jugs of spa water and poured myself a glass. There, beside the water was a plate of cucumbers. I like cucumbers in my water and I was about to plop a couple in when the thought occurred to me that perhaps these cucs weren’t for the water but rather for the eyes. Not wanting to be the asshole who was munching away on the eye treatments, I stuck to plain water and sat down in the shade to wait. A while later, Hubby #1 showed up, already feeling relaxed after some time in the steam room. They had showed me the women’s steam room on my tour, but the chance of me ever finding it was very low. We sat together, waiting for our turn. I relayed the story about why my water was cucumberless.

“Who cares what anyone here thinks?” he asked.

“I dunno. I do, I guess,” I said without any good reason. This is why spas stress me out. I am completely afraid of doing all the wrong things and thus proving the fact that I am a spa outsider.

Finally our masseuse and masseur arrived. Hubby #1 had requested a woman to perform his massage. I said that I didn’t care, and was assigned to a man. When I first heard that I would be massaged by someone called Jerome, I briefly panicked at my cavalierness when it came to massage therapist gender selection. As it turned out though, Jerome was a young and relatively attractive guy. Lorraine, Hubby #1’s masseuse, was older and generally less attractive. So far, things were okay. We were led to the couples’ treatment room and given instructions to disrobe and lay on our respective massage tables.

The therapists returned and got to work. I am normally chatty during massages, but knowing that Hubby #1 likes silence, I fought my urges to find out where Jerome was from, how long he’d worked at La Quinta and if he liked it. Instead I lay with my face smooshed into the round face holder thinking about how strange it was that another woman, albeit an older and less attractive gal, was rubbing husband to my left; and how if Jerome was behind me in line at the super market and just touched my arm or back I probably would have been weirded out, but in the sanctuary of “Couples’ Treatment Room 1,” I was comfortable with him oiling me up and rubbing me down.

Far too quickly, our massages ended and Jerome and Lorraine instructed us to re-robe and return to the patio. We followed their instructions, and Lorraine brought us both water – with cucumbers (now I know). I truly did feel more relaxed. So relaxed, in fact, that if I could have found the steam room, I probably would have gone in!

Now I am back home, knowing that on another planet in a far away galaxy there are steam rooms and cucumber-infused water. My visit there was one small step for mom, and one giant step for mom’s state-of-mind, leaving me both relaxed and a bit more confident in my ability to survive a spa day without making complete strangers think I’m an idiot. Phew.

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