Man Vs Nipples – A Lesson In Spanish Spa Etiquette

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Every so often we reach a point in our relationship where we need to stop co-parenting and just spend some time together on our own to start liking each other again. It’s usually when are really scraping the barrel for civil conversation. The other week we realised we were due some time alone without the kids when we were discussing over dinner whether it was ok to leave beer bottle tops on the work surface above the bin or did they belong in the bin. All couples who try and raise anything together will have one argument on repeat. Farmers are probably bickering all the time.

“Shut that bloody door, were you born in a barn?”

“Aargh”

“Of course you were with that mother of yours”

While poor old Farmer Giles is left wondering whether he did indeed want a wife……. “E I Tiddly Eye The Farmer Shot His Wife….”

This time I booked a spa day during a family holiday to Spain with an epic 90 minute spa ritual for me. The spa was an underground oasis of tranquility, apart from the builders installing a lift with a drill. Like so many hotels we have stayed in, usually booked by me on a shady travel deal website, it will be fabulous when it’s finished. Here is something we both learnt from the signs: “Molester” means “to bother” in Spanish. Maybe that is why so many British 80s TV celebs had holiday homes on the Costa Blanca.

Europeans belong in spas. Brits do not. Europeans can move freely between scalding and freezing baths without so much as a shiver but we can’t go quietly into any water other than tepid without exclaiming our alarm with “oooh ahh, oooh ahh” like the mating call of an insatiable chimpanzee. The back wall had a row of 3 shower cubicles and in neat signs outside each one was “Torrento”, “Dream” and “Fantasie”. You pressed a button and went from one to the next through your “aquatic journey of relaxation”. To the uninitiated this “journey” was actually iced water through a power hose on either your head, your privates or your ankles. When we were clinging to each other, shivering and I was screaming it reminded me of the dream I had that our bathroom fell into the kitchen when it snowed earlier this year.   

When we had finished our cycle in the hydro spa we did what all adults who never get to be alone without their kids do, we napped.  Was I woken up gently for my treatment by my husband? Nope, he’d disappeared off to the bar as soon as I started snoring which he took as a sign that the waterboarding was finally over. I was looking up into the dark Spanish eyes of a short but athletic man with grey hair.

“Hola, I am looking for Mr Ricardo, I am ready to give ‘im ‘is treatment?” he said in a thick Spanish purr.

“Ah no!” I said, gesticulating more wildly than the hearing impaired translator on Love Island. “Ha no, sorry, I am his wife, the treatment is for me but the hotel room is booked in my husband’s name. Sorry ha.”

With a shrug he turned and led me through an ornate door at the far corner of the pool area which led to a small dimly lit, wooden corridor of treatment rooms on either side and a strong smell of incense. While I was trying to be non plussed about being massaged by a man other than my husband (after all he was a professional, offering an adult a professional service) I was also gutted I hadn’t shaved higher than my knees. However I wasn’t about to give up my only chance of a massage in years and he didn’t seem in any hurry to offer a female alternative. At 120 euros a pop I can’t say I blame him.

I lay on the bed face down in the hole with a towel to cover my dignity. He started to exfoliate my legs, a skill I can only assume he picked up when he was training to be a painter and decorator, as he took layers of skin off. Quick as a flash he whipped off the towel completely and scooped a handful of what i now think might have been decorator’s Kaulk onto my very exposed bum. I didn’t know what to do, clench, not clench so I ended up doing both in quick succession until that made me want to fart, and they remained firmly clenched for the duration. It lasted forever. He didn’t even cover my bum up when he moved onto my back and arms but he did something which I found odd. When he had finished my back, he picked up the towel and held it up to his chin so that I could turn over with some dignity. “That horse has bolted, amigo”, I thought. Thank God he used a small towel to cover my boobs, I breathed a huge sigh of relief, bum is embarrassing enough but boobs and front bum is not OK. Then whoosh, he removed the smaller towel like a magician removing a table cloth. I was naked except for a pair of white paper pants and he was massaging my norks!  Did I stop play and explain that i would prefer to have my chest covered up? No, I got the nervous giggles. I think he just thought I was ticklish so cracked on until I was ready to be hosed down. The worst bit was he left my nipples out each time as if there was some line of decency he wasn’t prepared to cross, not covered just out, like unwanted bottle tops on a sideboard. When it was finally over I shuffled off sheepishly hoping never to have to come into contact with him again, although as we were checking out the next morning i did notice a very similar looking pair of hands polishing the front door knocker.

Safely back in the world of Paw Patrol and soft play, we still argue over bottle tops being left on worktops but these days I blush as I sweep them into the bin.

Would you be comfortable with a male masseuse or would you always ask for a female?

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