It was a lovely afternoon though. While out riding (didn't manage to get Blue this time, I got Reuben who was lovely but wasn't as gentlemanly as my beloved Blue who was ambling ahead of me with a "jolly hockey sticks" man on his back) I looked down at my hands and noticed, for the first time in a long while, that my nails were all different lengths, the shortest being my thumbs (I tend to gnaw on my thumbnails when stressed).
Lydia and I arrived at the health spa with the requisite "half an hour before your appointment to relax, wind down and complete a questionnaire". They wanted to know if I were allergic to anything and refused to let me have a latte before my treatments. "We advise against stimulants before clients enter the spa rooms" said a passing sylph like woman in what looked like green hospital scrubs. I wondered what service she offered - perhaps I could get my liposuction done.
Lydia dallied over her cammomile tea as I headed in my for manicure - she'd join me for my pedicure "with Stacey". Lesley, a teeny tiny frail woman, settled me into an oversized armchair and told me to relax and breathe deeply. I slotted my arms into the grooves provided and did just that. We agreed (in hushed tones, nobody spoke above a whisper) that she'd "take my nails all to the same length, file, buff and polish them". It was strangely relaxing to have someone fiddle with my hands, especially when I closed my eyes. My mind drifted off to somewhere I now can't remember and, before too long I had lovely shiny nails that glistened under the spotlights. At some point, Lydia had joined me and was lying on an adjacent chair with her feet already hoiked up to Stacey's chest level.
Again, we agreed to "buff and polish" my toenails but Lesley asked me if I wanted them painted. Lydia pointed to the myriad of nail varnish bottles and whispered "that brown colour matches your tankini". Lesley seized this opportunity to talk to me about colour co-ordination. I agreed to have Mocha daubed on my tootsies.
Back in the spa lounge and more cammomile tea before we went off to our waxing. Both Lydia and I were having eyebrows, legs and bikini line and, to my relief, although we were in the same room at the same time, there was a curtain between us. An exotic looking woman called Sabrini requested that I "take my pants off and cover myself with a towel". I was gripped with terror at this point and experienced a flashback to the last time I had my bikini line waxed. The week before my honeymoon and I cried. Buckets. Called the woman all the names under the sun and only allowed her to do one side - I was half plucked chicken, half Yeti. David had hysterics on our wedding night, despite my best efforts with the Nair.
"Please?" Sabrini asked when she returned from heating the wax and I was still very much wearing pants and clutching my robe possessively. "Can I not have the bikini line done, just move straight onto the legs?" I whispered. I could hear ripping going on next door and no screams or anything from Lydia. She must have an extremely high pain threshold. I haven't got one of those. When I was pregnant, I begged to be knocked out when my contractions first started and woken up again when the baby was actually born and in the little cot at my bedside. Suffice to say, that didn't happen.
"Come on now" Sabrini joshed, hoiking up my robe and practially de-bagging me. "It's just a Brazilian, it'll be fine" she said, whipping a pot of wax in a frenzy. "Oooh, no, not a Brazilian, just a quick tidy up please - I've got a tankini, there won't be any fall out of anything untoward in that!" I hissed back. My pants were off and on the hook on the trolley, a towel spread up my, erm, right side and a spatula of wax spread on my, erm, left side before I could say "Deforestation". Slap went the strip of muslin, rip went Sabrini, expletives from me.
Words that I would never usually use came out of my mouth as she whacked on another splodge of wax and another muslin strip. All in a whisper, naturally. "Where are you going for your holiday?" she asked me as she ripped yet more skin from my body. Conversation? She wanted conversation? I was having trouble breathing, my eyes were watering, my bits were on fire and my lips was nearly bitten in half. More wax and more muslin followed her question. "Ibizaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh!!!!" I yelled as she ripped hair from what she daintily called "my underneath bits". By the time we'd moved onto the right side I was past caring. I would have stormed off (and featured the plucked chicken/yeti look once more) but I had lost all sensation in my left leg and was sure I couldn't stand. I was sweating, swearing and biting through my forearm.
"All done!" she chirruped a while later "It didn't hurt much after a while did it?" she asked me as she wafted off to get more instruments of torture. She left a gap in the curtains and I met Lydia's gaze. She had a towel stuffed in her mouth and was convulsing on the bed. "Alright?" I asked weakly. She attempted conversation through the towel but I couldn't quite catch it.
By the time the front of my left leg was done I was so immune to the pain I was actually working out what to cook for dinner that evening. "On your front please" Sabrini whispered. I wasn't quite as anaetheatised as I thought - searing heat flew up my legs and when I rested my bits on the surprisingly rough towel covering the bench.....well, the idea of having a BBQ in the back garden flew right out of the window.
After all that, the eybrow waxing was a doddle and I felt quite spaced out, completely zonked. Ditto Lydia, who said she couldn't put her pants back on in case "they welded to my skin". We both staggered out into the spa lounge (pants in hand) and brooked no arguments with the whippersnapper behind the counter. We wanted lattes and muffins and we wanted them now.
By my second latte and one and a half cherry muffins later I was feeling a little bit better. The woman wearing the green scrubs kept wafting in and out and shooting us pitying looks. "We do recommend, that after any treatment, that clients drink at least 2 litres of water". Lydia raised a newly waxed eyebrow. "Listen love" she said "I've just lost half the skin on my knees and I can't even feel my minnie right now so if I want a latte I'm bloody well going to have one!". I left her snarling at Scrubs Woman and headed off with Patrina for my all over spray tan.
Patrina showed me a colour chart (it was like being in B&Q) and looked me up and down. "How long ago did you have your legs waxed?" she asked in a lilting Scottish tone. I was by now in a transparent voluminous robe, a fetching hair cap and paper knickers and not about to go anywhere without a golden tan. As it was over an hour she agreed all would be fine. I chose my colour and she went off to mix it. "Okay now, you'll be in the booth in a minute and it'll take about, ooh, three or four minutes. When you get in the booth, take off your robe and hang it on the hook on the back of the door." She raised an eyebrow questioningly and I assured her that I understood what she meant. Dear God! She then gave me (and demonstrated) a list of positions to "ensure maximum coverage" - now I know what the BMW felt like when we took it to have its wing resprayed.
It wasn't an unpleasant experience but I did feel a bit ridiculous, especially in the position to ensure "even back coverage". But the tan went on really well and smoothly and I wasn't, as I imagined, standing in a pool of gunk and dripping. In fact, I was dressed in my loose summer dress fifteen minutes later and had rejoined Lydia who was still in her robe and drinking latte. It had now become a point of principle apparently. "Every time I order one, she does a sharp intake of breath and crunches on a handful of brazil nuts" Lydia said, pointing to Green Scrubs who looked like her earlier karma had deserted her. "I'm hoping she'll take her teeth out with the next handful. Two more latte's over here!"
I've been marvelling at all these women who regard this as a weekly treat. I mean, bless David and all that, but I can't ever imagine having another Brazilian as long as I live. Women do this for fun. "Oooh, I'm just off to the spa for a bikini wax!" they simper as they trot off on their high heels, practically running through the doors to be covered in wax and muslin.
I got home (driving was an experience) and staggered through the front door. Mac, on his way out the door for his overnight stay with Ben and Ben's mum (who asked me why I was walking bow-legged) asked me how I got so "brown mummy". David admired my tan, my manicure and my pedicure and wanted a quick look at my waxed bits. I raised an eyebrow, showed him a leg and pointed out that he was not to come near me until I got all sensation back. I backed this comment up by jabbing the air forcibly. He took two steps back and retreated to the kitchen.
Matthew rang at about ten to eight, spoke to David and asked me "what I'd done to Lyds". David covertly mentioned the word "Brazilian" and attempted nonchalance. I was still balanced precariously on two cushions on the sofa at this point and David was still aware that the exclusion zone was still in place.
David got off lightly - Lydia karate chopped Matthew when he suggested an early night.