Confessions of a Former Spa Hater

Every so often for a holiday or birthday I have been given a gift certificate for a massage/spa treatment. Chalk it up to a dislike of strange people rubbing me or just a fear of Enya but getting a massage always sounded about as relaxing as riding shotgun with Nicole Richie. Yes, I’m fully aware that I’m the only woman on the planet that has that hang-up. If I explore the issue more deeply I guess I’d have to admitt that I’ve always had trouble relaxing. And especially if there’s real or imagined pressure to do so. My body just seems to have the opposite reaction. Like, it used to be if a nurse airily said, “go ahead and pee in this cup” my bladder would close up like a steel trap. Didn’t matter if I’d had a two liter bottle of Diet Coke for breakfast, no pee would be leaving my body until I got home. For many years I couldn’t pee in a stall if someone was next to me. I’d have to pretend I was “just changin’ a tampon” and rustle around some paper, prematurely flush or do something to distract from the lack of peeing going on. It was embarrassing and uncomfortable to say the least.

Besides not being able to pee on demand I also had trouble enjoying “oral pleasures.” Again, it’s the hurry up and relax dilemma. I’d be so busy worrying about how long it was taking me and how bored he must be and wondering if it had been the right move to avoid feminine deoderant products all these years that I felt the opposite of pleasure. It was work.

So, even though I’d worked my way past a few of these issues, I still didn’t want to put myself right in the path of any forced relaxation situations. I avoided Yoga, meditation, hypnosis, staring into space and had never indulged in any sort of spa activity and those Burke Williams certificates remained in my drawer beneath a bunch of bank statements, old birthday cards and a few random baby socks. That is until two days ago when my sister-in-law mentioned how much she loved getting a massage and I offered my unused gifts. Of course, she wanted me to go too and I didn’t have a good excuse. So after careful consideration, I figured I could trade in a massage for a facial – hell, what forty-year-old couldn’t afford to improve their glow? Little did I know the facial also included a scalp massage, paraffin hand dip and rub, mini foot massage and face and neck rub. It was pure fucking heaven. Every second of the fifty minutes I cursed myself for not having done it sooner while I layed in the heated bed with cucumbers over my eyes and a variety of aromatic creams seeping into my skin.

Okay, I’ll admit that a few thoughts still raced -actually raced would now be too strong a word – meandered through my brain about what I would have to eat from the Cheesecake Factory afterward and whether or not I should get a present for my babysitter on top of her Christmas bonus and how much that bonus should be…but for the most part, I found myself thinking only vague thoughts and just feeling blissful. And, yeah, relaxed.

But here’s the rub (intended). Now I feel I might have become an addict. Oh yeah, heed my warning, it only takes once. I need more relaxing! And this stuff is more expensive than heroin! Oh Santa……..

Posted by Stefanie Wilder Taylor on December 15, 2006 8:21 pmUncategorized14 comments  


  1. Lena said,

    Welcome to mommy crack.

    | December 16, 2006 @ 12:39 am

  2. jess said,

    Huh. My husband bought me a spa/massage a number of times; those gift certificates moulder in my junk drawer. I just. . . .don’t want to be touched by strangers. Is that weird? And yet you’re saying that it’s all worth it . . .I dunno.

    | December 16, 2006 @ 2:03 am

  3. surcie said,

    I’m afraid that if I have the treatments, I’ll want them all the time! Does that sound like self-deprivation?

    I need therapy.

    | December 16, 2006 @ 4:44 am

  4. Anonymous said,

    there are worse things to be addicted to. It is also much easier to justify the expense of a spa treatment than, say you’re 11th pair of black shoes. My friend and her husband used to argue over her frequent spa treatments until she got him a massage. She now has carte blanche!

    | December 16, 2006 @ 11:16 am

  5. Alexa said,

    I have the same steel-trap bladder thing! I nearly didn’t get my current job because it took me three tries to do the drug test.
    Can you coerce your husband into massaging you? Not as good, but it certainly is cheaper…

    | December 17, 2006 @ 1:35 pm

  6. Tuesday Girl said,

    I know, once you get ove rhte “fear of the unknown” it is addicting. I chalk it up to feeling better about myself so I take better care of myself.
    It will help me live longer!

    Hey any rationalization works for me.

    | December 18, 2006 @ 5:19 pm

  7. Jess Riley said,

    I once had a massage from a very creepy guy. I’ve come to view massage appointments in a new light since then.

    Thank god my best friend is a massage therapist. Too bad she’s moving to fricking Bellingham, WA in a few months.

    | December 19, 2006 @ 10:12 pm

  8. mad muthas said,

    you’ve just been in denial all this time, probably. think of all the spa days you’ll have to take to make up for the years of neglect. i’m sure it’s tax deductible – say it’s research or something.

    | December 20, 2006 @ 11:01 pm

  9. Mom101 said,

    Ooh, good for you for turning a very delicious corner.

    I could not be more opposite. Anyone can rub me anywhere, any time. I like to pee. I like the oral. Just not all at the same time.

    | December 21, 2006 @ 12:17 am

  10. MrsFortune said,

    I don’t know … heroin is pretty expensive.

    And seriously? The cheesecake factory menu is so huge, you HAVE to think about it for hours before you go there! Duh!

    | December 21, 2006 @ 1:52 am

  11. summer said,

    Wishing you and your loved ones a great holiday season and a very happy 2007!
    May 2007 brings us all Health, Wealth, Happiness and much needed Peace on earth.

    | December 24, 2006 @ 12:50 pm

  12. BInkytown said,

    It is a quick slide my friend- next you’ll be getting fancy massages and then they just don’t feel like the last one you had and before you know it you are driving around town looking for a quick massuse (Just kidding. Not really, but you’ll think about it.)

    | December 27, 2006 @ 8:38 pm

  13. Anonymous said,

    10 months after my second child was born my husband flew me out to Santa Monica to visit my family. I have been to Burke Williams…I hate massages,they make me uncomfortable,but not as uncomfortable as looking at the naked women I was sharing the whirpool with. ladies sometimes it’s just polite to cover up!

    | December 30, 2006 @ 10:09 pm

  14. surcie said,

    Just stopping by to wish you a happy 2007, Stefanie!

    | January 1, 2007 @ 4:04 am

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