Guinea Pig Experiment #26: Mocha Java Revamp
As with anyone who has ever been dumped, fired from a job, failed an exam, passed over for promotion or disappointed to the point of uncontrollable sobbing and self-flagellation might know, it is monumentally difficult to pick yourself up and dust yourself off. And, if you have ever had to scrape yourself off the proverbial ground after such drama, you are also likely aware that no amount of cheerleading by well-meaning friends and family, nor copious amounts of booze will truly do the trick and get you back on the horse (ok, I promise, no more clichés). Therefore, what is often called for in these situations is an attitude renaissance – a re-birth of your sense of self, if you will. Apart from indulging in mind and mood altering drugs, a safer way to go about this change might be to revamp the body and hope that your mind will follow.
As with me, said unceremonious dumping has already had an impact on my bod, with the unintended effect of melting away those stubborn last five pounds I have been meaning to lose. So with a mascara-streaked face, puffy eyes and a slightly less doughy mid-section, I head to the spa to scrub up.
We’ve all been to the spa or had a spa-like experience (yes, your aunt Josie painstakingly trimming your cuticles and painting your nails at age 10 counts), but would this qualify as a ‘revamp’? Is having my body exfoliated within an inch of its life, then slathered in gunk the key to ever-lasting Suzanne Somers-style optimism and an Elle Macpherson bum?
Since there can be no messing around with my revamp, I make a bee-line for the Dove Spa where I meet the patron saint of head massages, Fatima. At first, the spa itself seems to possess a sort of ‘Lucid Dream’, ethereal-yet-clinical feel and I forget that I’m not Tom Cruise in the film Vanilla Sky, gearing up to have myself cryogenically frozen. I change into a robe and then wait in a calming, dimly lit lounge where quotes about inner beauty are pasted across the walls. “Beauty is how you feel inside, and it reflects in your eyes. It is not something physical,” proclaims Sophia Loren, she of the heaving bosom and age-defying animal magnetism. ‘Hmmm, I bet you’ve never been dumped lady,’ I mutter to no one in particular.
When I had scanned the spa’s services on the website I searched high and low yet couldn’t seem to locate a ‘suction-fat-out-of-body and re-sculpt-figure-into-that-of-taut-17-year-old-supermodel’ option. So, after momentarily toying with the bust-firming Treasure Chest treatment and a serious consideration of the colonic, yuck factor notwithstanding, I went for the much kinder sounding Mocha Java Body Wrap and aromatherapy massage.
Fatima then ushers me into an even more dimly-lit room where she tells me about my impending procedures. After I threw on my paper bra and thong and brushing the fear of a paper cut down there aside, I hopped onto the thermal-heated bed. Fatima began by gently, yet thoroughly exfoliating my skin top to bottom (all the better to absorb the calorie-melting caffeine) and then proceeded to apply the chocolate-y mixture in nearly all of my nooks and crannies. The concoction contains a combination of moor mud, coffee extract, caffeine, vitamin E and hemp oil, which is said to stimulate cell circulation and help reduce what I define as the bane of womanhood, cellulite. When I declined to have my mid section seen to out of embarrassment over the squidginess of it all, Fatima kindly offered that she had yet to mocha-java a perfect figure. Did I forget to mention that she also qualifies as patron saint of the recently dumped?
I was then swaddled in what seemed like a warm, tin foil blanket and left to baste. Fatima then moved on to the head massage to end all head massages. Suffice it to say by the end of it I was a blithering fool, no longer capable of speech. Practically drunk from massage, I stumbled into the shower to wash off the chocolate mud - more mud than chocolate, to which I can attest after a sneaky lick- and fell back onto the cozy bed refreshed and ready for my aromatherapy massage. With the murmur of babbling brooks and flute music playing in the background, Fatima skillfully eased out the tension in my limbs, fraught after days of anxiety and depression. My legs, my back, my arms, my shoulders, my hands, my feet – all the parts that had been neglected over the past few weeks were now getting the attention they deserved. I drifted in and out of a lavender-scented haze feeling like I could certainly get used to this doting.
When I left the spa I felt as though I had been medicated. My skin was baby-soft, I was calm, I felt at ease, the knot in my stomach had loosened, I felt fresher, and dare I say, kinda pretty. I felt as though someone had turned the page.
Now I know that a day at the spa is no replacement for a therapist or prozac, but having myself decadently coated in chocolate and massaged is surely therapy of sorts. For those of us who have carved out quite a home within a depressive funk, it’s not so easy to attack new challenges in a ra-ra, go-get-em fashion, nevermind attempting some sort of revamp. We need to baby-step our way to a new outlook, and going to the spa helped get me up from under the duvet and out through the front door. For an hour or so I allowed myself to focus on the things that make me happy rather than sad. It showed me that even if my emotional inside still had quite a distance to travel, my outside sure could scrub up nicely in a jiffy and bring me back some much needed, if shaky, optimism. Did I leave with a pert, caffeinated bum? No. Did I leave with a new respect for the wise words of Sophia Loren? Yes indeed.
Written by: Anne Marie Kirsten
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