I write this in the hazy afterglow of a good massage. My body is warm, floppy, content. I feel satisfied, like a happy house cat sat by the fire in want of nothing.
Who sent me into the euphoric state? A man at the Aveda Institute in Covent Garden. I didn’t mistype: a man. A man gave me a 60 minute Elemental Nature Massage. That’s a full body one.
Perhaps I’m woefully old-fashioned, but the prospect of a massage from a man sent my mind into a state of mild panic – ‘what underwear am I wearing? Are my legs shaved? Thank God for that sneaky mid-winter wax last week.’
Then it started. First came a warm foot bath and exfoliation. This was good for my incessant inner dialogue; the feet seemed a good place to start, a nice way to ease into the body-baring section. It’s also a nice way to start proceedings regardless – the Stress-Fix Bath Soak that he liberally poured into the bath was really quite potent and the stream of thoughts running through my head all but ceased as he worked away.
Next was the body bit. I’m not going to lie – it bordered on intimate at times (that leg rub was definitely second massage material). I was glad I’d shaved my legs, glad I’d painted my nails and, most of all, terrifically glad that he was such a good masseuse that all these thoughts flew out of my head after, oh, five minutes in his hands.
And the very same manliness that made me tense up also meant that his huge hands covered more area and worked out the new and residual tension in double time. He took no prisoners – painful muscles were prised apart to help blood flow and then pummelled into submission. My sore shoulders were treated to massage alternated with hot towels until they gave up their tension and flopped onto my frame like jelly.
After he finished I put my clothes back on and met him out in the foyer: ‘I suggest you take home the Stress-Fix Bath Soak’, he recommended. ‘You seemed very stressed at the beginning.’ If only he knew.