On a trip to Malta Blonde & Brunette made an overnight side trip to the Kempinski in Gozo. At the time Blonde had a job (she no longer knows how she had one of those time-consuming things) that included planning fancy pants getaways for women in senior roles in large corporations. One had been scheduled at the Kempinski in Marbella and Blonde had parlayed that into a freebie look-see at their Gozo property to assess it for a future conference (wink wink).
Part of Blonde’s rigorous research involved sampling the resort’s spa services to see if they would be suitably luxurious for prospective clients. There are some things you just can’t outsource so she signed up to personally sample the Ayurvedic massage. She thought it sounded relaxing and expected to emerge radiant and smelling like Cleopatra (who probably smelled dreadful but Blonde makes a lot of unlikely mental connections). Per the Kempinski’s own website the Ayurvedic experience “alters brain wave activities, reflecting in increased relaxation and a better focused mind”. In the immortal words of Meatloaf, “two out of three ain’t bad”. Brain waves altered? Oh yeah. Relaxed? Uh, nope. Better focused mind? Keenly focused on escape.
A prerequisite for the massage was a “consultation with the doctor”. This consisted of a very dignified Indian man asking if Blonde had any health problems or minded getting oil in her hair. When she answered “no” she received medical clearance for a massage. It’s obvious why this rigorous medical evaluation was mandatory. Obvious to someone, not Blonde.
The doctor then escorted Blonde into a room with soft music, scented candles and a plump, serious Indian woman of indeterminate age. Blonde knew the whole Ayurveda “thing” began in India so was certain this would be an authentic experience, albeit in a setting less likely to induce diarrhea than India.
The woman approached Blonde, stopped about 4 inches from her face, held out a paper towel and softly asked Blonde to “take her things off”. Blonde decided that at this proximity that meant her earrings and watch so removed them and placed them on the paper towel. The woman immediately took the proffered jewelry and set it aside. She then reiterated her request that Blonde take “her things” off. (Blonde’s “things” don’t come off without surgery, but apparently this reference was to clothing.)
The extreme nearness of a stranger (who wasn’t a man) made Blonde excruciatingly self-conscious but she awkwardly complied. As Blonde stood there naked and hoping she would vaporize or be struck by lightning, the woman tied a ratty looking string around Blonde’s waist. She then used the paper towel, which Blonde had mistaken for a jewelry pillow, and tucked it into the back of the string and the front. That’s only possible by going between Blonde’s legs. Blonde was now wearing a diaper made of string and a paper towel and considering taking at least 4 of the 5 stars away from the hotel.
The woman, who had begun to seem menacing to unnerved Blonde, then had Blonde sit, in her diaper, in a large throne-like wooden chair. The next step in this increasingly alarming process was to pour at least two very full cups of warm oil over Blonde’s head. It now occured to Blonde that perhaps she should have asked the doctor “how much oil are we talking about?” when he had inquired if she minded oil in her hair. Too late.
Naked, oily (except for the string and paper towel diaper) Blonde was then asked to lie down on the massage table. All of the woman’s requests were whispered in a proximity that violated the Internationally Acceptable Personal Space Treaty. The massage seemed to take forever as Blonde tried not to slide off the table or sob and flinched at each whispered request to “relax”. That wasn’t going to be happening. Relaxation eluded Blonde even further when the woman removed Blonde’s diaper so she “would be more comfortable”. That was not the outcome! Never had a string and an oily paper towel been mourned so greatly.
After a period of time that seemed longer than the entire Bush presidency, Blonde was escorted to a shower to rinse off the oil. Except oil, especially when it’s been rubbed into your hair, is not something that “rinses” off and it’s very challenging to not slide and crash into a lump in the corner of a shower when your feet are oil-coated. After prolonged and serious attempts at oil removal Blonde realized that she was going to have to locate one of those people who wash oil off birds when there’s been a massive environmental disaster. This was a job for a professional. Blonde emerged from the shower and nearly walked into the arms of her assailant/masseuse who held out a towel and offered to help Blonde dry off and dress. Blonde declined the generous offer, pulled on her clothes (that would see their wearable life end in an oil slick ) and bolted out of the spa to find the comforts of her sister and report on the entire incident.
Brunette had been relaxing by the pool when Blonde left for the spa experience and was expecting Blonde to reemerge in approximately an hour. It had been several hours and Brunette was getting worried. She was worried that she would miss a compelling fish dinner that B&B had been invited to by the property’s manager.
Blonde spent several days and an obscene amount of shampoo to remove the oil from her hair and several years and an obscene amount of money in therapy to get the experience out of her mind.