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In spas, no-one can hear you scream

Had my first massage treatment in a spa the other day. It was in the Hilton, and I’m not going to lie — I felt like the fanciest bastard who has ever lived (even if the staff, guests and tablecloths could tell I’m a wee goon from Possil).

Don’t know if you’ve ever been to a hotel spa before, but they lure you into their perfumed den and get you relaxed and chilled with cups of spring water, candles — and bowls filled to the brim with wee love heart sweeties.

I mean really, mister Hilton, if you’re going to woo me with Haribo, woo me with wee sour cherries or cola bottles. Even a fried egg ffs.

Once seated on the swankiest yet most uncomfortable seat devised by human hands, they make you fill in a lengthy and comprehensive health questionnaire — because apparently the best way to relax you is by first forcing you to confront your own mortality.

The choices for a massage are “Gentle, Medium, Firm”, and you tick a box if you want your therapist to talk to you as they do it, which I suppose is a bit like having your doctor thumb your prostate at a pressure to your liking and then asking if you want to talk about the weather.

(“Firm, in a clockwise motion” and “only if you call me Sandra”.)

They escort you down to the leisure area and give you a big white housecoat (not “dressing gown”) that is advertised as being as soft as the kiss of an angel on a baby’s cheek but is, in fact, as rough as a Rottweiler’s bark after it’s just wiped its arse with sandpaper.

I mean really, mister Hiltmeister, chuck a wee bit of Lenor in the machine.

It’s around this point that I realise this is the least masculine I have ever been – including the time(s) I drank a strawberry daiquiri.

After you cloak yourself in the Bristly Rash Coat of Jaggy Doom, they escort you to a wee seat by the pool, where you realise the sheer paleness of your skin is probably a legitimate symptom for about 9 different illnesses. But even while you wait, the staff bend over backwards to make sure you’re comfortable — talking to you in a calming whisper, asking if you’re okay, can they get you anything, and you nodding, saying no and hoping they don’t stare at your pale and skinny turkey legs and wonder where the house coat ends and your legs begin.

But even better than excellent customer service is that, for your viewing pleasure, they let guests’ kids run about rampant and deck it on the floor right in front of you!


So then you’re ferried into a dark room where you need to peel back thirty six inches of towel to get to the bed – only for them to tell you turn around because you’re not supposed to get a back massage by lying on your back. You turn around, managing to move as gracelessly as humanly possible while people watch, and lie on your front. The wee hole in the bed that cradles your face is like having a plunger fused to your chin, a bit like when that auntie you only see once a year kisses you on the cheek, because to her YOU WILL ALWAYS BE SEVEN.

So the massage starts and it’s… Interesting. It’s a woman doing it and I picked “firm” (because if you’re going to get a relaxing massage and dream about strawberry daiquiris, you’re as well doing it in the most masculine way possible) and her fingers knead and poke and prod and it’s… Interesting.

And tickly.

Pre-massage. Look at how relaxed I am!
It did not last.

One touch and my entire being spasms. Pretty sure I managed to elbow my kneecaps via my earlobes, all the while debating whether I should giggle or greet or scream AND MY GOD WHY DIDN’T WE DECIDE ON A SAFE WORD BEFOREHAND?

*Puts sunglasses on* In spas, no-one can hear you scream.

And just as I’m about to shout out for an adult, she switches up and starts karate chopping my back – and it’s absolutely sublime.


“What are you laughing at?” she says.
The wee guy that decked it. I was laughing at the wee guy that decked it.

And then it’s all over. I walk out tender, spent and a little bit emotional.

I decide to jump into the Jacuzzi — because of course there’s a Jacuzzi — and there’s an old guy with a gold medallion in the Jacuzzi — because of course there’s an old guy with a gold medallion in the Jacuzzi — and I expect him to talk about cigars, Bentleys, investing in the futures market and how the working class don’t know how wonderful they have it, when all I want to do is sit among the bubbles and pretend I’m farting.

But he didn’t, he just said the pool area is reasonably priced for a Hilton, then he gets up and leaves and I realise I didn’t pay to come into the Jacuzzi.

Not going to lie. It’s been a week, and I still feel like a fancy bastard.

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