A treat day. We all want one. Time alone away from phones, work and other people. I’ve only ever been to a spa with ordinary women so it’s a change for me and Ordinary Lad to experience some R&R while we’ve got a few days off of work. There’s a sense of optimism in our house on the morning of Treat Day; we know that we can escape ordinary life. Well, for an overnight stay anyway.
We set off. We’re soon lost. “You have arrived at your destination”. In place of the expected rural retreat, we find ourselves in the middle of Huddersfield town centre. It’s the sat nav’s fault, of course. Not mine, despite being tasked with the responsibility of co-pilot navigation. I brace myself for the standard car argument between couples, where each one apportions blame about the orienteering issues.
“You’re the one driving”.
“Well, you’re supposed to be the one giving directions”.
But we’re surprisingly calm. Must be because it’s Treat Day and neither one of us wants to be the one to spoil it. Heaven forbid. I declare that it’s totally fine that we’re 20 minutes out of our way and we both politely accept fault for the mishap. How have we managed to avoid the stereotypical couples’ directions scandal? I can’t quite believe it.
We approach an old mill in the Pennines which is surrounded by lush greenery. The mill has been restored to a modern, high standard but retains its rural charm. Part of the building houses some residential apartments and the other part is the upmarket Spa and accommodation. It’s ideal for a retreat; it’s rather picturesque, in fact. We have a tour of the facilities for the benefit of Ordinary Lad (I’ve been before with ordinary female family members). We emerge from our separate changing rooms, clad in our swimwear and robes. Calming music plays as we sip Tetley tea in the restaurant area. Our biggest decision today is pool or sauna? It feels great. No responsibility. We decide we’re heading for the pool.
Poolside Porn Star?
Now, the idea of relaxed atmosphere with your loved one is enticing but I was not prepared for slimmer, fitter, nearly naked bodies sitting down next to me. Why didn’t I think about this? When I’ve been with other ordinary women, they encourage you to be confident in yourself; we’re all the same with our ordinary bodies – some parts might be a bit slimmer than others, but still there’s no competition. You compliment each other, even when you’re laughing so loudly that you snort like a pig and disturb the tranquillity. There’s a sense of togetherness.
‘I didn’t expect to feel self-conscious in the presence of a wannabe porn star.’
I spot her before Ordinary Lad does. The quintessential hourglass figure – in all her glory. I stare at her. She moves in slow motion like in a film where the girl shakes water off of her smokin’ hot body as the camera pans head to toe over the soft supple skin. Under the water, I automatically suck in the tummy. I swim besides Ordinary Lad and whisper a ‘fit girl alert’. I give (temporary) permission for Ordinary Lad to check out the fit bird in the red bikini. He glances fleetingly. I’m aware that I’m wearing the (subtle) tummy control costume to hide the sins. And if I stand at this angle in the pool, I think I look a smidgen thinner. I’m pretending to be cool…
If he looks for another second, I’ll drown him in this pool. But I too, am staring at the pert, bounciness. She is mesmerising. Oh, piss off will you.
As part of the package, we both get to experience a neck, back and shoulder massage. I’m reminded of images I’ve seen of couples gazing lovingly into each other’s eyes, as they lie side by side, whilst someone else rubs them all over with oil. If we were in the same room, we would wet ourselves laughing. I’m glad we are separate. Until, that is, when Ordinary Lad runs off with another woman to be rubbed down.
Whilst I wait my turn, I’m reminded of a spa visit abroad with my friend where the woman climbed up onto the table on top of her and I wonder what is in store for me. My masseuse is professional. She asks me what I want from the massage and I resist the urge to say a famous Hollywood hunk. I lay, face down, on the bed. A funny position really. I begin to relax and unwind. Cue more calming ocean wave sounds and chimes.
With a jolt, the adjustable head rest moves and I’m sure that I’m going to tumble to the floor. She tells me there is tension in my shoulders which is usually caused by stress – Yeh, try working 60 hour weeks, I think to myself. That’ll add some stress. I’m dozing when she covers me over with a warm sheet and tells me I can get dressed in my own time. How about when I’ve had a kip for another hour then?
“I recommend a course of deep tissue massages” she says at the end. I bet you do. It’s upselling at its best. You go girl.
Ordinary Lad is jealous when I see him. Apparently, his girl wasn’t as thorough as mine and didn’t recommend anything. I’m so chilled, I’ve even forgotten all about red bikini babe.
Hot or Cold?
At the Spa, you’re encouraged to alternate hot and cold treatments to maximise the effects and something or other about pores.
Sweat it out, get cold, sweat it out then get cold again. In the heat experience, there is an area with a bucket above us that automatically fills with freezing cold water. Naively, I hover close and contemplate standing under it after a session in the steam room. Am I brave enough to pour iced water over myself? Intentionally, Ordinary Lad pulls the lever and I’m a victim of the Ice Bucket Challenge. I screech followed by loud laughter. He’s still a big kid, laughing as he drenches me in cold water while I stand shivering. I’ll take it. It’s like when a school boy pushes the girl he fancies in the playground. Temporarily, we fit the idealistic Spa image of couples having fun. Until a disapproving woman points to a sign and hisses, “Ssssh – This is the quiet zone”. Oooops.
Overindulgence is the order of the evening: copious amounts of gin and a 2 course A La Carte meal. Who am I kidding? We made it 3 courses – we added a dessert each.
In the morning, we are refreshed and enjoy a continental breakfast in our self-contained apartment overlooking greenery from open windows on the balcony. We’ve lived like King and Queen. Who wouldn’t be happy with food, drink, relaxation and a good night’s sleep? The only drawback is sitting in your damp, tummy control costume all day while fitter, sexier people are near naked in the same place – but we can forget that bit.
We arrive home in our relaxed haze only to argue about who turned the heating off of the timer before we left. “It’s bloody freezing in here. Did you turn our heating off? What did you do that for?”
And it’s back to reality…