Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Beauty Spa My Ass!

silhouette I told this story to a friend the other day (in order to prevent her from going through the same trauma herself!) and after sounding like choking in a fit of laughter on the phone, she asked me why I hadn’t posted it on my blog yet. Well, to tell the truth, to me, it had seemed rather more traumatising than hilarious until then, but indeed, why not judge for yourselves!?


The Marketing Trap

(or: ‘Why Reading Shit While Shitting Can Be Dangerous’)

More than a month ago, while reading a silly magazine on the toilet, I fell into the marketing/advertising trap (metaphorically speaking). I picked up the phone (after exiting the bathroom, of course!) and dialed the number at the bottom of the full page ad announcing that ‘the slimming and beauty spa’, could make you lose 7 kilograms (1 stone and 1.43 lb, that is! No more, no less!) in 2 weeks and all you’d have to do is pay them 150 Euro and let their specialists relax and reshape you with their cutting edge technology. What can I say? I fell for it. But here’s a warning to you all: be afraid! Be very afraid!

The Prep Meeting – Part 1

(or: ‘How a Beauty Spa Can Make You Feel Ugly’)

I made an appointment for what the extremely polite, pleasant and patient receptionist (faced with my obvious ignorance of the ‘beauty jargon’) called the ‘prep meeting’. She explained that a doctor would see me and discuss whether I indeed needed to lose all that weight and what the best ways to do that would be. I showed up for my appointment the next afternoon and my first compelling desire after closing the door behind me was to jerk it open again and run as fast as I could. I should listen to my instincts more often! The waiting area was filled with women who could have easily been mistaken for models at a D&G, Chanel or Versace presentation, had they not been sagging middle-aged hags in search for their long lost, dead and buried youth and beauty. Faced with their sparkling jewelry, shiny bags and shoes and ostentatious designer clothes, I suddenly felt like the cleaning lady (and the way they were eyeing me up and down with disgust and contempt did nothing to change that).

I said my name in a whispering voice over the marble counter laden with tiny boxes of face cream which cost more than my gas bill in a winter month. A pompous usher in a white coat appeared and took me to the doctor’s office, with a fake smile and a marketing slogan for every step she took.

The doctor shook my hand and invited me to take my shoes off (and your socks, please!) and place my bare feet on a shiny (and cold) steel plated device, which, it turned out, was nothing more fancy than some scales. After the minor inconvenience that my feet seemed to be too small compared to the Yetis the scales had been designed for, the doctor shook her head, indicated that I should ‘hop off’ and take off my trousers this time, as well as lift my blouse. She started coiling a measuring tape around my thighs, stomach, breasts, arms, jotting down my obviously alarming measures. She then picked up from her desk what I had mistook, until then, for a mouse pad. She started applying it to various parts of my body, where, to my horror, the almost transparent ‘mouse pad’ changed colour dramatically going from dark brown to deep, depressing black. I was about to run for my life when the doctor explained it was not voodoo, nor a mouse pad, but a cellulite measuring device. My worst fears came true: black was bad – the worst. What worried me more was that I had never even considered if I displayed signs of cellulite, never mind worry about it’s stages, aspect, treatment, etc. Suddenly, my whole perception about myself changed. I felt exposed, ugly, unworthy of calling myself a woman. She gave me a pitying look, as if she had just informed I had a rapidly advancing brain tumor and would be dead within 1 week, and sent me to the next room, for counseling.

The Prep Meeting – Part 2

(or: ‘Where the Truly Great Salespeople Are Hiding’)

The next room had no scales, mouse pads, measuring tapes or other scary devices. Or so I thought. But the hidden weapon was the doctor clicking nervously at the mouse and trying to smile politely but vaguely in my direction at the same time. ‘Right’ she said – and I almost expected her to roll up her sleeves and start the difficult job of making me beautiful – ‘I see your biggest problem is cellulite. We have to do something about that immediately, or it will be too late’. It sounded like a curse, a bad omen, a verdict, a death threat, my worst nightmare come true. By the time she started looking at ‘the most efficient method’ of improving my condition even a little bit, I had completely forgotten that I had never, in my entire adult life, thought of cellulite, noticed it or considered ‘doing something about it’. I forgot I was there because I saw an ad in a glossy magazine while I was sitting on the toilet the previous morning, obviously unaware of the cunning cellulite creeping up the very behind I was sitting on. And most of all, I forgot that I had made the appointment because I gullibly fell for the 7 kilos in 14 days trick, that I was there because I wanted to lose weight, not destroy some ‘orange peel’ aspect of which I hadn’t even been aware of until then. She was probably used to the panic in my eyes, and, as a skilled salesperson (why did she have to be a doctor too?), tried to sell me the most expensive series of ‘cutting edge technology’ to help me fight my newly discovered parasite monster. Everything sounded extremely convincing, to the point where I was asking myself how I could have lived so long without all that. I finally had an explanation to offer my mother for not having married until now! It all seemed to make sense and this woman was showing me the light, my salvation!

Until she calculated a total cost for my beautification, remodeling, slimming, toning,  tanning and indeed tuning! If she hadn’t been so serious and professional until then, I would have been sure it was a joke. In fact, I could see, just outside the window on a billboard, an advertisement for the latest SUV, which had the same price tag and I even considered she may not have calculated anything at all, but noticed the same billboard and read out the price of the SUV. Needless to say, she was dead serious, and almost insulted that I hadn’t jumped up with joy and gratitude at the huge discount and the obvious value for money deal.

After a long debate over which treatment I should do first, which I would never do (in spite of all the disapproving looks she was giving me) and which I ‘absolutely had to do’ in her opinion (those seemed to be the most expensive, by some strange coincidence!), I managed to emerge from the saleswoman’s claws with just about enough money left in my account to allow me to buy some soda bread and rashers on my birthday trip to Ireland in a couple of weeks.

The Treatment

or: ‘Be Careful What You Wish For! (In My Case: Pay For!)

1. Warm Blanket (also known as Revolting Stinking Slime)

My first treatment session was the next morning. It was deceitfully called ‘Warm Blanket’. You would expect some comfy duvet in which to wrap yourself and continue your interrupted sleep. How awfully wrong would you be!

I was given a bathrobe and a pair of disposable paper G-Strings, and thus clad, I was led to a room with a bed (actually, more like an operation theatre piece of furniture, obviously designed for torturing naive individuals like me) and a guy in a white coat with a broad grin on his face. As soon as my chaperone had pulled the curtains and left me with the grinning fool, the latter put on a serious face and invited me to take off my robe. ‘OK’, I thought to myself! ‘I’ve taken my clothes off in front of worse people! What the heck!’ and hung the bathrobe on a peg. What really worried me most was neither the chrome bed, nor the grinning fool, but the awful smell, which I dared not think which part of his body was coming from. Wrong again! For as soon as I was naked, he turned around and lifted a bowl containing the most repulsive concoction I ever had the misfortune of seeing, smelling and being covered in from head to toe! Yep! You guessed! He picked up a brush and started covering me in that shit! (which turned out to be algae paste!).  algaeI was quite speechless for a couple of minutes. I must confess I took into account the possibility of this being just a bad, absurd dream, then I thought the guy was not actually meant to do that at all, that he was just a pervert who was taking advantage of my obvious ignorance regarding the ‘beauty industry’.

But then he surprised me by politely asking is it was OK for him to touch my bottom with the brush, because he didn’t want to make me feel uncomfortable! I just had to burst out laughing (sprinkling fine droplets of spit all over the glass wall, but thanking heaven I was still young enough to control all my other sphincters, as the guy was kneeling right behind me, with his nose only a couple of inches from my yet un-brushed bottom). When I calmed down enough to talk, I explained that if he didn’t want me to be uncomfortable, he should have abstained from covering me in some stinking shit while staring at my naked body the very day after I had been made aware of its unsuspected imperfections, but if it had to be done, he should have at least been a woman and considerate enough to wear a blindfold while doing it! ‘So’, I continued, ‘you think that I have been extremely comfortable the last 10 minutes, taking my clothes off in front of a complete (male) stranger who then rubs all my body (except my ass, of course!) with a brush, while I try to hold my breath for minutes at a time, for fear I will throw up from the smell? Well, in this case, I assure you that rubbing my bottom with the wonderful hi-tech algae vomit will do nothing, whatsoever, to spoil my comfort! Knock yourself out!’(‘And may you one day fall head first in a pool of algae paste and may the only way to save yourself be swallowing it!’ I added quietly, almost adding an ‘Amen.’)

Needless to say, my outburst drew another 3 or 4 employees who all stuck their heads in through the curtains to see what was going on, to give advice, offer to rub me with the brush instead of the guy and, the most annoying of all, to calmly and politely explain that most people enjoy this procedure so much that they ask to spend more time glazed with the beneficial green ‘gift of nature’ and wrapped in the ‘warm blanket’ than they had actually paid for. They were all extremely puzzled that I did not fall in the category of masochistic freaks who enjoyed that shit!

Yes, eventually they managed to spread the last bit of ‘green gift’ on my ass, to wrap me in cling film and then lift me on the morgue trolley wrapped in an electric duvet which made me feel like a sweating pig in a pool of horse dung for 30 minutes, during which they checked on me every 3-5 minutes, whispering ‘enjoy your relaxation’ every time they existed! They then caught me in time when I slid on the slimy cling film and nearly broke my neck trying to get up from that torture bed. I was led to the shower and encouraged to ‘rub it all off thoroughly’. Just in case I had grown so fond of the ‘green gift’ and its delightful perfume, especially in combination with my sweat, that I was tempted to skip the shower and bolt down the street wearing nothing but their precious slime! Of course, if they had known me at all, they wouldn’t have worried about that, because I had taken my pink bag with me in the morning and it would have clashed terribly with the green!

2. Biostimulation (also known as Death by Electrocution in Small, Perverse Doses)

As soon as I got away from the Stinking Spa (although I swore I would not go anywhere near it again), I started convincing myself that the other ‘procedures’ cannot all be that bad, and that I had paid much too much for this, not to go through with it. So sure enough, there I was again the next day, ready (or so I thought) for my next adventure in the world of beauty. My appointment said Biostimulation, so I (naively, again!) expected a soothing, relaxing experience by which some ‘vital energy’ expert would wave her/his hands over my ‘problematic bits’ and convince all that fat and cellulite to go away and leave me in peace. The truth it, nothing I could have imagined would have prepared me for what happened next.

I was already having nightmarish déjà-vu’s when they handed me the robe and disposable paper G-strings and led me to another tiny room with another chrome bed and (thank God!) this time a woman. I cheerfully took off my robe and was about to relax on the bed, when I saw her approaching with a bunch of cables hanging on her arm.  She methodically stuck a wire to the main sets of muscles along my body and announced I would have to tell her when to stop. ‘Stop what?’ I wanted to ask, but before I could utter the words, my whole body started shaking like mad, electricity contracting my every muscle, making it close to impossible to say anything without sounding like a squeaking castrated mouse. So I took the first opportunity to nod convincingly when she asked if it was enough.

I don’t think she caught my desperate, pleading look as she walked out, wishing me ‘pleasant relaxation’ and electrocutedannouncing she would be back in 45 minutes to help me up. Relaxation? How the hell was I supposed to relax when my whole body was contracting like I was having an epileptic fit, my breasts flopping about like jelly, with extremely hard nipples, starting to hurt from the freezing breeze blown down on me by a merciless air conditioning unit. I will never know how I lasted 45 minutes in there. I probably passed out at some point, because when the blessed end-of-session-beeping woke me up, everything had stopped and the sadistic-devil-turned-angel was handing me my robe and making sure my still twitching legs could carry me back to the changing rooms. All I could do was smile feebly and swear, once again, that I would never set foot in that place, for it was sure to kill me a third time!

3. Cellusculpture (also knows and the Sucking Monster)

Needless to say, I went a third (and a fourth and an umpteenth) time, and will continue to subject myself to humiliation and torture until the paid sessions are over and I will finally be able to wish them all, in my turn, a most pleasant relaxation in the fires of hell, where they will, no doubt, be delighted to listen to their own cellulite and fat sizzling away for eternity.

The third, and most spectacular method of beautification, is, no doubt, the Cellusculpture. For this ‘cutting edge’ technique of ‘combating stubborn cellulite’, I had paid extra, to buy a ‘special suit’ on which the Cellusculpting device would ‘glide’. I was not expecting a three-piece groom’s suit complete with bowtie, but I certainly wasn’t expecting the tiny white plastic bag the receptionist handed over the marble counter, into which you could barely fit a pair of socks and a bra if you wanted to use it as a laundry bag. I took it up to the changing room and assured the ever-present usher/chaperone I would be out in 5 minutes or so. She almost snorted, but caught herself in time to pretend she was coughing. I was about to find out why.

The tiny white bag seemed to contain only a pair of white tights, probably belonging to a 10 to 12 year old girl, judging by their size. I was about to go give them back and take the suit I had paid for, when I unfolded what I had mistook for girls’ tights. To my astonishment and subsequent horror, it was in fact a one piece elastic suit, extremely transparent when stretched (as I found out after 45 minutes of struggling to fit my generously built figure into it), covering everything from wrists to toes, except the neck and head. I started laughing with relief when I noticed that the only way to get into it was through the hole at the neck, which was big enough to fit over my head, with a bit of effort, but obviously not over my thighs, hips, breasts, shoulders. I went out into the hallway, where my chaperone raised her eyebrows disapprovingly, having noticed that I was still wearing my clothes. I explained politely that I was given the wrong suit by mistake, and that was probably just a miniature version, for demonstration purposes only.

She frowned and pointed at the label, which, to my surprise, said ‘size M’. She quickly waved me back inside, assuring me that ‘it stretches’. I spent the next 30 minutes or more huffing and puffing, stretching and bending, rolling and pulling, swearing and sweating, hopping around like an insane bunny, banging into lockers, pirouetting like an oversized and deranged ballerina in a very sick pervert’s sexual fantasy, cursing the day I sat on that bloody toilet reading that bloody magazine, and trying to make as little noise as possible in the process, Michelinfor fear someone might walk in and call a mental institution to come pick me up, the way I was behaving!  I eventually emerged like a defeated and exhausted version of the Michelin man, only to find out that the worst was yet to come!

The chaperone herself was to take care of me, as it seemed, because she invited me to ‘make myself comfortable’ on yet another chrome bed, and probably took pity and offered me a glass of water. She then picked up this threateningly looking device , pushed some buttons, turned some knobs, and, while I was looking to see where all that deafening noise was coming from, applied that thing to my stomach, in contact with which it seemed to turn into a hungry monster, sucking the life out of me through my navel.

I was taken by surprise and forgot to breathe for half a minute, but soon got used to the oversized fat-sucking vacuum cleaner, the noise, the clinging insane cosmonaut suit, and abandoned my exhausted body in the hands of the fat-sucking-monster tamer and fell asleep as she roller and rolled and rolled the vacuum ‘chamber’ over my tight suit, and she kneaded and kneaded and kneaded away at my collagen fibers, cellulite, fat, skin and other parts of my body which had been plagued with imperfection.suction_danger 

I dreamt I was being swallowed whole by a tiny household vacuum cleaner, which could not be emptied of dust and other crap collected in its paper bag, unless the bag was completely filled up with garbage. So it chased me around a table (not unlike the chrome beds in the Crappy Spa) and just as it was directing it’s threateningly powerful sucking device towards me, the chaperone-turned-operator gently shook me and informed me I was free. She was confident I would come back the next week, because, she said, these things were addictive. She was right.


  1. my dear Watson ... you are mad, mad as hell!

  2. Thanks for starting my day! We could do a TV series out if this... It also gave me some ideas for your next birthday gift :D Muhahahahahahaaaaaaaaaaaaa

  3. Dear Marius A, may I be reminded what I got for the last birthday gift?

  4. Any plans to get back at them for this ordeal? I'm in, if you need help :))

  5. Anything specific you have in mind?