Something every girl needs once in a while is a good spa day.
That, and for Ryan Gosling to pluck us out of obscurity with one well-timed Dirty Dancing lift and carry us off into the sunset….but one thing at a time, ladies.
Last weekend, my sister was in town to visit me, and because we
needed to detox from all the red wine we drank deserve it, we hit up Toronto’s Elmwood Spa for a full afternoon of pampering.
The spa is described as an “urban oasis”, and it didn’t fail to deliver… only it was in an older historic property with dark wood and antique furniture.. so it kind of felt more like some rich dude’s study than a spa.
Whatever it was, I liked it… and as we stepped into the lobby filled with power women simultaneously setting their phones to “silent”, I immediately felt the stress of the city slipping away, and was taken to a place of pure zen – one that smelled like leather, Teddy Roosevelt, and wistfulness (Nick Miller- you put it better than I ever could).
I had given my sister carte blanche to book our spa treatments, because, as a formerly starving student, my spa experience was limited to standing outside and staring at people through the window while dragging my hands down the glass.. Michael Myers style.
So I had no idea what to expect when they handed us our day’s “Itinerary”:
“Water therapy” eh? This could get interesting.
While taking the antique elevator to the changeroom, I perused the names of the various rooms throughout the spa: ”Midnight Tower“… “Jasmine Awakening” the “Mint Whisper Room“… I pondered at length about what went on in the Mint Whisper Room… and how long, I wondered, had Jasmine been asleep for??
Before I got the chance to come to any conclusions, we were handed fluffy white bathrobes and lead into the incredibly modern change rooms. Shit was like Ikea on crack- particularly the lockers, which, instead of being mundanely rectangular, were fashioned in a shape that is technically referred to as “that tetris block you can never fit anywhere”. Although cool looking, they posed a bit of a logistical problem for the many shopping bags my sister and I had to store. I wanted to take a picture, but since that probably would have been considered “creepy”, instead I did a little drawing for you guys:
Eventually, despite being spatially challenged slow learners, we put our bathing suits on and headed for our “water therapy”… which, as it turns out, is not throwing back Vodka Waters while watching Waterworld in the bathtub (how can a shirtless Kevin Costner not be therapeutic?) but rather lounging in a hot tub with other stressed out urbanites. Yawn.
Next, we moved on to the “Swedish Massage” portion. I’m not really sure what was so “Swedish” about it, given that my masseuse was Chinese, and my sister’s was a no-nonsense Russian lady… but what do I know.
After my massage, my non-swedish masseuse met me in the hallway where she handed me a printout of a body with all of my ”tension points” identified on it:
I’ve always thought it was cool the way health professionals can tell things about you just by feeling you up… it’s almost like a really creepy form of fortune-telling.
“You very very tight here… ” she said, pointing to my calves. ” maybe you run a lot??” Yes! I thought.. I DO run a lot!
“and this….” she said, pointing to the telltale X’s just above my posterior and looking at me disapprovingly, “I not sure what you do to cause this..”
After my dignity was called into question, we made our way to the “lavender” room where we drank some organic starfruit/unicorn placenta infused green tea and waited for our facials. I had never gotten a facial before, and was slightly about the ”extraction phase”, where they use the jaws of life to yank blackheads out of your face, but also excited about the part where they put cucumbers over your eyes. Don’t ask me why, but I’ve always wanted to experience this. It just seems so luxurious and Pretty Woman-esque.
I waited patiently through what seemed like countless exfoliants until I finally felt something cool and cylindrical come to rest on my eyes.
“Is that the cucumbers??” I asked excitedly.
“haha no.” she laughed. “It’s just some makeup pads with toner on them. Imagine if we actually used cucumbers how many we’d have to cut up each day??”
“oh… haha yeah…” I laughed, dejectedly. I hadn’t even considered that the daily preparation of cutting up cucumbers could serve as a potential gating item to my fantasy.
Sigh. Foiled again.
Anyway, it’s now been a week.. and while the Zen has faded and my body and face have returned to their usual state of stress-induced pallidity and tension, I am still left to wonder:
What DOES go on inside the Mint Whisper Room?