To my knowledge, The Husband has always been vehemently against massages of any kind. “I don’t like people touching me,” he’s been known to say to innocent holiday-makers who happen to recommend our hotel spa to us. (The friendly Americans look taken aback, recover quickly but then politely back out of our dinner date later that evening). So when he suggests that we celebrate my 31st birthday at our local spa, I’m like, “Since when does the Spar do dinner?” Turns out he’s talking about a hot stone aromatherapy thingie at the Radisson’s wellness centre. Ah! Much better.
Birthday eve arrives and we set off for the spa. We get there, change into our fluffy robes and velvety slippers and shuffle over to the heated pool “where our therapists will collect us”. I’ve followed instructions and am clad in the disposable g-string and gown provided, but The Husband’s able to whip off his robe because he’s in his swimming shorts. Our therapist comes through and asks if we have any special requests. The Husband (I should just call him The Cyclist since he’s currently THAT obsessed) wants a sports massage. (I’ve been spared an hour on the stationary bike just beforehand “to earn our massage”, thanks to phenomenal cost of an ad hoc work-out on the Platinum Planet. I mean, it’s my bl**dy birthday, for Pete’s sake.) Anyway, the sports massage request from hubby prompts the therapist to ask if he “would like his glutes massaged.” Now, I’m no expert but it sounds like a fairly standard question to pose an avid cyclist, given that they sit on their gluteous maximus for like, a million hours on the trot. Evidently not, though, because The Husband’s eyes widen and he freezes. The therapist tries again and Lance Armstrong finally responds: “Under …..no…..circumstances…..will…..I….be…..taking….these shorts off”. Ohhh-kay, then, baby.
And off we go to the massage chamber…
We’re asked to lie down on the massage tables (as you do when you’re having a massage, right?) so I duly begin to de-robe when, out of nowhere, a body flies at me from across the room. I’m knocked to the ground and end up in a semi-fetal position, sandwiched between the hard floor and my fluffy terry-cloth robe. My robe is being held in place by the full weight of The Husband.
“Um, what are you doing?” I ask from under my gown.
“What are YOU doing? Why are you taking your clothes off in front of everyone?” comes the shocked response.
Oh boy. I don’t think the previous regime had ANY idea that banning topless tanning would have such a lasting psychological impact on the generations it affected.
“Sweetheart,” I say, “Give the gown to the nice lady. She’s only going to massage your quads and your calves and make you the biggest, strongest cyclist in the WHOLE WIDE WORLD. She won’t bite. I promise.”
Silence. For what seems like forever.
Eventually, I hear, “How big and strong?”
Once I’ve finally coaxed and prized The Husband off me, have helped strap him to his massage table and have left sign language instructions for the therapists to drug him with aromatherapy oils, I sprint out of the couples chamber to the safety of the indoor pool. Thank God the Veuve’s already on ice. I figure that a girl deserves some birthday bubbly after all that. I’ll share it if he comes out of his ylang-ylang coma before I finish it.