My best friend, Lynne, and I booked a staycation at The Ritz-Carlton last weekend.
I’d been dithering over the idea for months, but time was starting to run out. The resort is closing its rooms for renovations in June, so if we were going to book, it was now or never.
Actually, I still hadn’t made my mind up about whether I’d commit when I was making the reservation, but I thought it best to hold the room, knowing I had up to 72 hours before the start date to cancel. I wouldn’t tell Lynne until I’d made the final decision.
That option, however, was scuppered when I called Lynne later in the day to talk about cat food, and before I could speak, she said, “Ha! I bet I know why you’re calling!”
I had added her name and email address to the reservation, so she’d got a message about the booking already. Hearing the excitement in her voice, there was no turning back. It would have been like kicking a puppy.
Here’s the thing: A staycation on the beach for me means having to submit to some proactive beauty treatments. Yes, there are pedicures and the like, but what looms large over all of them is the leg and bikini wax.
I appreciate that for many women and some men, waxing is part of their regular routine. Back when I wore shorts and miniskirts, I was no stranger to the salon, but when psoriasis and cellulite set in, I got lackadaisical about upkeep. There were so many more important things to worry about, like getting the car in for a service, or throwing out expired tins of food.
However, now there was a good chance I’d be wearing a swimsuit in public at some point, I had to face the music. I booked an appointment at Eva’s and began to mentally prepare myself for the Big Rip.
As I ascended the stairs, I reviewed my mental checklist. Painkiller taken in advance? Check. Yoga pants? Check. Underwear? Check.
I love Eva. She is bubbly, professional and patient, which is what’s required when I’m the client. We have a laugh, even as my hair is being wrenched from its follicles. I chose to go to her after once being so short on time before an event, that I tried a home job with duct tape. Not even kidding.
I entered the Room of Requirement (nod to Harry Potter fans), featuring a lone, solid adjustable lounger; a tureen of warm wax; and a roll of material strips. I divested myself of the yoga pants, donned the short towel skirt provided, and we were off to the races.
What I’ve always found with waxing is that when it starts, it doesn’t seem that bad, but then some areas are more sensitive and others have looser skin. I’d also swear my body as a whole starts to rebel about halfway through when it twigs that the first couple of strips aren’t just an error – I haven’t accidentally walked into a wall covered in glue, then simply extricated myself in order to move on. No; we’re in this for the long haul.
Eva worked expertly and with speed and precision, spreading the wax, pressing down the cloth, whipping it off with one hand and immediately applying pressure to the newly hairless area with the other hand in order to minimise any discomfort. There was no faulting her technique.
We chatted about fun subjects, with my voice jerking into a higher octave for a word or two every time another strip was pulled heavenward.
The shins weren’t bad at all and neither were the knees. It was when we started creeping up the thighs that it began to smart a bit. A combination of more expansive real estate, slightly denser hair grouping, and, shall we say, a lack of muscle tone, contributed to a higher ‘ouch’ factor.
In order for Eva to get the best angle, I had to bend a joint here or move a foot there. It wasn’t an elegant process in the early stages, but that was nothing compared to bikini time. At that point, all pride went out the window.
I’ll save you the deep details, and I didn’t go the Full Monty, but let’s just say that the Radio City Rockettes had nothing on me when it came to full leg lifts. I also had to stay steady in positions while hanging onto the chair and at the same time, bracing myself for the inevitable rips.
“Breathe!” Eva advised, as I held some skin taut at her behest.
Twisting myself into yet another legs-akimbo pose, I wondered who had come up with this idea in the first place. What should-be-held-accountable person in the past said, “Hey! Smooth as a seal – let’s make that a thing!”
Eva’s work was nearly done, but not before I managed to twirl in the wrong direction and stick my thigh to my stomach for some brief seconds; a final indignity.
When the last strip had been pulled and oil applied to remove any traces of wax, I was officially ready for my staycation. Time to dig out the swimsuits!
We had a fabulous experience, of course. It rained a fair bit, but hey, we were getting wet in the sea and pool anyway, so no biggie. I also discovered that Andiamo restaurant has a milkshake menu – the very definition of the word ‘bonus’.
Unfortunately, at some point, like all dreams, it had to end. We packed up our cases, waved goodbye to valet parking, and headed home.
I’m back to the real world now, with work, cat litter and, yes, throwing out expired food. The resort rooms, beach cabanas and spa are just a memory, but hey – the gams are still smooth!
Maybe that’s how I’ll choose to relive the joy of that weekend in the future. While most people would probably pop open a bottle of Champagne in their home and don a robe and slippers, I’ll just book a waxing appointment with Eva.