I used to be cynical about spas.
What’s the point of paying to sweat your face off or to sit in a pool of bubbles, I thought – I have a bath at home, if I fill it with hot water and flap my arms I can create the same effect without even having to leave the house.
But then I actually went to a spa. And I realised why women really enjoy going to them so much:
1. You spend the whole weekend wearing a dressing gown
If we had it our way, this is how we would spend every weekend (and every other day for that matter, if only we could find a job that would allow it. Is pyjama testing a profession?) But thanks to responsibilities and draughts, this is not possible. But on spa weekends, you are deemed overdressed if you wear anything more than a gown. You can eat your lunch in it, paint your nails in it, and as the women at our spa who were less concerned about the detox side of the experience demonstrated, you can nip outside for a fag in one too.
2. Nobody gives a damn what you look like
Spas are not about looking good, they are about sweating and chatting and sitting the hell down. And you don’t do that wearing a full face of make-up and perfectly quaffed hair, but with a bright red face, soaking wet knotted locks, and an expression so vague that anybody coming in from the outside would think you’d been shot with a tranquiliser gun. And nobody cares. They’re just glad to have a whole day off having to use a comb.
3. Spas are warm
As I have said before, women do not like being cold. In fact, if I was asked to list my favourite things in the world, being warm would be at the top (in joint first place with Marks and Spencer marshmallows, Texas BBQ Pringles, and, I suppose, my family and friends yadayadayada.)
And at a spa the rooms are specifically designed to keep you warm – if you’re not in a Jacuzzi, you’re in a room full of hot steam, or in a sauna so humid you can’t breathe through your nose. There’s no need to put a vest top under your swimming costume or wear two pairs of tights at once in a spa, oh no; the only gusts you’ll be feeling are from the hairdryer when you attempt to put your hair back together after a weekend of humidity. To be honest, it might be best to just shave it all off and start again.
4. You have to do nothing because you’ve paid to do nothing
You know you’re an adult when you use phrases like “We can’t let the day slip away from us!” and “I’ve got a whole hour to myself, I think I’ll clear out the fridge and rearrange my underwear drawer.” The only way to get us to stop and do nothing for a weekend is to take away all our other options. And it’s only when we’ve laid down some hard cash and shut our smartphones in a locker that we feel free to enjoy our temporary freedom. Even though we could technically do absolutely jack all in our own homes every weekend if we wanted to, the draw of that To Do list – top item ‘Buy stronger bin bags’ – is just too much to resist.
So consider me an official convert. If I had more cash I’d be down the spa every weekend, drinking my suggested daily intake of water and not washing my hair.
But, in the absence of a windfall, the best I can do is run a bath, put on a face mask, and try not to be distracted by the drying rack that’s begging to be cleared.
To be honest, it’s not quite the same.