Two days ago on my birthday, the Widow Greene did the unthinkable and spent the afternoon at a swanky spa, thanks to a generous gift certificate from my son. In 63 years, I’d never had a pedicure or a facial, and I can count on one hand the number of massages I’ve treated myself to. Now, for four hours, a bevy of young Third World ”aestheticians” would poke at my feet, face, hands, and torso, slathering me with their various potions and lotions.
Arriving at the spa, I looked around at the crowd of other clients, most of them less than half my age, and thought, What the hell are they doing here, with their line-less faces and freckle-free hands? Looking at me, they probably thought, Note to self: Don’t forget the sunscreen.
First up for me that afternoon, the Anti-Aging Rejuvenation Facial. It was divine, especially the neck and scalp massage that came first. Then on to a green papaya slough to strip away dead skin cells and soften the face.
“You know, I mash papaya and coat tough cuts of beef with it,” I said. “It’s a terrific meat tenderizer.”
“Same,” said the aesthetician, pointing to the goo she rubbed on my face. “You feel cheeks now. They tender like baby bottom.”
Properly softened, my face was ready for her energetic removal of impurities. As she pinched her way across my “T-zone” of forehead, nose, and chin, she described in detail the contents of the pores she unclogged. I vowed to cleanse more vigorously.
The best was saved for last: eyebrow tinting. I’d given mine up for gone. But no, there they were, just waiting to be resurrected with some vegetable dye. It was a shock to see them again after so many years. I held up a hand mirror and stared at them.
“Do I look like Grouch Marx, though?” I asked.
“No,” she said, then added, “Who is Groucho Marx?”
My spa experience ended with a simultaneous manicure and pedicure. Regulars might take this drill for granted but for me it was tactile heaven: hands and feet left to soak in warm cucumber water until gently lifted out, one at a time, for brown sugar scrubs, massage, velvety creams. I was so taken with the feel of my new smooth girly feet and hands, I barely cared which color polish was slapped on their nails.
The pampering felt fabulous but still, I doubt I’ll do it again any time soon. I can’t rationalize spending that much money on myself. An eyebrow tint every other month, however, is definitely in the cards.