Finally she released me saying my energies were sufficiently redirected.
I was willing to believe they would flee under her grip, and I did feel...different?
better? Something like that. I made a couple of tentative inquiries to Evelyn
and Jude hoping to confirm that everything had gone as it should, and my
impression was it did. In fact, they wanted more and Jude had a gift certificate
for they place they could get it: Burke Williams--Beyond the Spa. Excitement
built as they discussed the various treatments, and though it sounded more
like something for Fraiser and Niles than little me, my back was feeling
better and I figured I could go for some more therapy.
The craft fair ended
Jude's husband joined us for dinner, and all the while Evelyn and Jude pronounced
and extolled the impending wonders of Burke Williams. When the dinner party
broke up and Evelyn and I returned to her home, she produced a Menu of Services
from BW, and described each in rapturous detail. We both selected the hour
long Spa-Style Facial, then rested up in anticipation of the procedure.
Unfortunately, Jude would not be joining us as she couldn't find her gift
certificate which wouldn't normally be a big deal but this was the second
one she had lost this year and it was getting ridiculous. So Ev and I set
Burke Williams is located
in an alleyway, which sounds shady but is quiet and private. When you enter,
you can't hear noise from the street, only the ancient sound of trickling
water in a fountain. A black clad attendant greeted us in hushed tones,
and assured that Evelyn knew the routine, waved us back to the depths of
the salon. The rooms got dimmer and dimmer as we progressed until we reached
the dressing rooms, and there the darkness was a blessing as this adventure
was to take place in the semi- and not semi-nude.Fortunately,
what light there was was warm and flattering, and we were to wear olive
drab towels and robes bound to make our complexions glow in contrast.
I changed more quickly
than Evelyn, so I wandered off to explore. No Roman bath could have been
better stocked. Everywhere I looked was a pile of neatly rolled towels,
a bowl of fruit, a pitcher of water with citrus sliced into it, a mirror,
or spigots which ran with any skin or hair product you might want. I was
working my way through the skin ones when Evelyn caught up with me and suggested
we proceed to the sauna.
"Dry or steam?" she
asked when we got there.
Dry sauna to me is
my car on a summer day, so that was an easy choice. We hung our robes, dressed
in towels, and went in for some pore expanding. We had a nice chat and got
some good sweating in. Then I got a steam burn on my shin and we decided
we had had enough of that indulgence and moved to the Jacuzzi. This was
the most interesting part of the journey for me because in the Jacuzzi nudity
is compulsory, and remember I am vacationing in Boob and Bod Central. But
it was nothing like the shameless streets and clubs, or like the painting
above (sorry, that was a bit of a tease). Absent bustiers (not to mention
implants), miniskirts, and, you know, that sort of pump, everybody's
body fit into a comfortable middle area. No marble goddess nor Oprah grotesquery
blew the curve. Evelyn and I looked slightly better than everybody else,
Cookie, my designated
spa technician, fetched me at this point for my Spa-Style Facial. We got
along famously. She protested when I apologized for the repulsive condition
of my skin, and was good enough to gross me out with anecdotes of far worse
hygiene offenders. She gave a shoulder, neck, and foot massage that was
instantly recognized as correct by my unrefined sensibilities. She even
offered to wax my pits for free the next time I am in town, that's the kind
of sport Cookie is.
Speaking of wax, a
feature of the spa which you really must try is the paraffin hand dip. Send
all those wax museum horror movies and homemade jam mishaps to the back
of your mind, this treatment feels wonderful and left my scaly mitts smooth
and soft as a candle. I reluctantly left Cookie's ministrations at the end
of the hour, and returned to the Jacuzzi to await the end of Evelyn's session.
We sat in the tub for a while, then moved to this wonderful misty chamber
and luxuriated like a couple of nymphs on a rock. I never imagined I could
feel so relaxed stark naked in a public place.
Comfort within my own
skin was as exotic as the green-lit waters of the Jacuzzi and the painted
and engraved sandstone walls in that bubble of luxury, and nothing I ever
expected to find in Southern California. It couldn't (and didn't) last forever,
but I now know where to find it when I need it.
(Written by Sharon C. McGovern)
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