Today was a very, very special day. Why? Because I spent nearly two hours of sheer heaven at the Bliss spa.
The number of times I have managed to sneak off for treatment in the time since my children were born can be counted on one (raggedy-cuticled) hand. I dimly recall having a pedicure last summer, the time before that, who knows? My last facial was three years ago (a birthday gift from a very kind friend) and my last professional wax was in honour of getting married - and that was a legitimate wedding expense; having lovely smooth legs put me in a better mood about my fat arse, since I was five months pregnant at the time and had been eating for three.
I would love to be high-maintenance. I would love to look glossy at all times and smooth all over. I dream about spending days at a spa, being pummled and intensively moisturised, my cellulite wrapped into submission, my bottom sandpapered (if it's good enough for Liz Hurley...), my cuticles tamed, my crows-feet bullied, my pores obliterated, and every last hair follicle ripped out. The problem is that I just can't justify spending the cash or the time anymore. Every time I look at my shocking feet/ lumpy butt/ hairy bits / thread veins and consider calling an emergency convention of internationally reknowned specialists, I start to tot up the bill and always come to the same conclusion - that's a day of childcare/ new shoes / food bill for five minutes. And as I work full time, I have little enough time to spend with the kids doing fun stuff. Parenthood seems to insist on a certain level of practicality.
Today, however, was guilt-free Bliss due to having been given a certificate by my bosses. No, not because they dread the sight of my toes in sandals but for something wonderous my team did. So, a free indulgence session with good karma attached - what's not to love?
The Spa is rather wonderful, a bit space-age, massively hygienic and happily free of any 'calming' music. Today's papers to hand (or would have been if my hands had not been stuffed into cream-filled sandwich bags for most of my visit), outrageously healthy smoothies made to order, evil looking clipper-type tools in steri-bags (delivered on a conveyor belt a la Yo Sushi), friendly staff and lots of sassy products to stare at for when you get bored. The lovely Margaret didn't even blink when she saw the sad state of my digits, just got to work with determination and the occasional sweet smile.
The only issue was the other punters, all so glossy and perfect they served only to highlight my 'could do (much, much) better' status. These are the sort of women who have artful caramel streaks and handbags with names (Gisele, Kelly etc). These women, as they wafted by in a cloud of scent, made me want to hide under my seat lest they identify me as a scruffy interloper (not too hard a feat, one would have thought) and crush me with a well-aimed sneer. Both luckily and gallingly, they didn't notice me at all.
But anyway, despite the crushing blow to my vanity and the realisation that my face is a crumpled paper bag next to the smooth eggshell of the Sloane Avenue Princesses, I now have toes and hands to be proud of. Even Alpha Male noticed, although his comment; "Wow, that's amazing - they've even managed to make your little toes look less freaky!" kind of pissed on my bonfire.
I've decided to start working a little SAP attitude - I bet those girls don't put up with anything less that slavish adulation. Alpha Male had better watch out.