It was a lovely idea in theory. A couples massage. Indulgent, intimate together time. But there was one thing I forgot when I signed my husband and I up for this treat during a weekend away: he’s terribly British about such things. Hates massages. He cannot see any upside at all to undressing in front of – and being oiled up and prodded by – a stranger. (His formative single years must have been wild).
I can’t understand that. I was a teenager when I read that Demi Moore has a masseuse visit her house every day. It was the first time I ever felt a violent pang of envy that I wasn’t rich. So, as in sync as Ross and I are, we’re not on the same page (or even in the same library) with regards to massages. Bless him, though. In the spirit of togetherness, he agreed to endure – sorry, enjoy – this experience with me.
We lay side by side on beds, loosely covered in fluffy towels as our two female therapists pummelled away the tension in our knotted shoulders and backs. Well, that’s how it was for me, at least at first. For despite the scented candlelight, the barely audible whispers from our therapists asking if the pressure was OK, the standard plinky plonky spa music that always makes me nod off, I opened my eyes to see Ross’s face was a picture of… complete panic. He was clearly tolerating the unspeakable awkwardness of it all, just willing it to be over so much that, before long, I was tense, too.
Oh, but it was far from over. Things were about to take a toe-curling turn.
Suddenly the massaging stopped and I heard running water. I hadn’t noticed in the dim light a swimming-pool-sized bathtub on the far side of the room. Soon enough one of the therapists whispered that they would leave us alone ‘to enjoy some private time’ in the bath. I was now on the same embarrassed page as Ross. We did as instructed and got into the bath. We were not au fait with the etiquette regarding whether or not we should do so in the nude. Is one required to keep the supplied paper knickers on? We decided no. We sat there, staring at each other across the strewn red rose petals, and started speculating about what it was we were now expected to do, given that we had no information about the precise amount of ‘private time’ we were being allotted. Then we started conjuring up the most embarrassing scenarios possible that our hapless therapists could walk in on, if we were one of those sexier, less inhibited couples we’d heard about. Which made us laugh, hysterically, all the while fixed to separate ends of the bath, just to ram the point home, upon the therapists’ return, that nothing controversial had happened here.
My husband will probably never forgive me for the moment when the therapists reappeared and we had to step out of the bath and be wrapped personally into our robes. However, I learned a valuable lesson that day. Spas are my thing. Not his. The ultimate, solitary indulgence. If, like me, you’ve missed them, you will love our list of our UK favourites, handpicked by our beauty director Edwina Ings-Chambers. You’ll probably see me there. On my own.