Sunday, 22 December 2013

We want to be together...

I'm not sure if any of you reading this will have had the pleasure of visiting the Brighton Marina, but for me it has never quite lived up to its promise. Being a Brightonian born and bred I remember when it wasn't there and all the excitement about it when it was being built and then the disappointment that it was not all it was hyped up to be. Over the years it has tried to reinvent itself with businesses coming and going and where it seemed to be at one point outlet city it's now transformed itself into restaurant-chain heaven with the added benefit of free parking and the myriad possibilities of finding 2 for 1 offers and using your Groupon and Wowcher deal. It's moved on from just offering Harvester pub food and the opportunity to purchase a yacht or cruiser as one does after lunch. It now boasts a superstore, bowling alley and multi-plex cinema. It's a veritable world of opportunities if indeed you like those sort of opportunities. But even if you love those opportunities they are rarely to be open and available to you at stupid o'clock in the morning!

So we aimlessly wander around trying to find somewhere to get a decent cup of coffee. What we end up with is a lukewarm cup of cheap and nasty tea and some dry inedible piece of toast (yes I too wonder how a simple 'dish' of toast could be made to be inedible but trust me it was!) and we need to make it last for nearly two hours. Not sure how we do it, but we are old masters at the art of conversation and time rushes by and we are soon making our way back to the spa. 

This time we are greeted like old friends and in fairness to them there is no hint of animosity towards the mad harridan who so spectacularly lost the plot earlier. The are professionalism personified. We are ushered to a waiting area to complete the personal information questionnaire. We are given an array of oils to smell in order to choose which one we would prefer as the base oil for the massage. We are then asked what sort of massage pressure we'd like. I am really warming up to this lovely place and the awful start to this day spa adventure has completely disappeared into the ether of time. We are both mulling over how forthcoming we want to be about our respective health problems as we don't want any other obstacles to get in our way of the elusive massage. I don't think they picked up on the cancer rant I had so we both decide that less is more. Our questionnaires are taken and a moment later the manager returns asking which one of us is pregnant. We both look at each other bemused by this revelation - each one waiting for the other to come clean. My friend mockingly asks is there something I want to tell her and I look overly horrified as if I have been caught out. I laugh it off in what feels like a completely over the top unconvincing way. It is quickly established that I have ticked the wrong box and in what feels incredibly lame we try a few attempts to laugh it off with cracks about chance being a fine thing, that it would be more like the immaculate conception and "letting the cat out of the bag", but our hosts are giggling and looking bemused by our strange double act. The wierd awkwardness is thankfully interjected by the manager telling us that the masseurs are ready for us and we are ushered down the sumptuous hallway to our respective massage havens. 

Well that's what I am thinking is about to happen, but it appears the spa has other thoughts for us. We are both ushered into a large beautifully and tastefully decorated room with lilting music and wonderful herbal aromas. I expect this is the anteroom and we will be taken to our respective rooms. But no that doesn't appear to be the case at all. I think my prostrations about needing to "be together" have been taken quite literally and we are indeed going to experience our massages side by side and most definitely together in what I can only imagine is their 'couples' room as there is no hint of us being separated. I ask one of the masseurs if we are going to another room after this and they look at each other and smile and shake their heads in unison. We are told that we can undress and get under the towels on our respective massage beds. For modesty purposes we are both given a pair of highly attractive paper pants. They leave the room giggling between themselves. 

"Oh my god honey." I say with my hands in my head. "I am so so sorry. All my bloody going on about wanting to be together they've taken it literally. I think they think we're a couple!" We both start to laugh. "Are you okay with us being in the same room?" I think my friend is so concerned that this massage is never going to happen that she's beyond caring just as long as it does actually happen. We've both been up for hours by this point and endured the very un-heady delights of the Marina so we're going to have this massage in whatever way they want to give it to us. We undress and put on our crispy crunchy paper pants.

Our masseurs return and begin our respective massages. My masseur is the older of the two and the firm technique I have requested is most certainly delivered. I think it is probably the best massage I have ever experienced and all the morning's angst has completely disappeared within five minutes of this amazing experience. It begins with an exfoliating massage which at first feels strange as it feels like an all over body oatmeal face mask with lots of grainy bits being rubbed and pummelled into my skin but god is it good. And so thorough...well actually a bit more thorough than I or my friend expected as at the same time we both let out a high pitched squeal as (in my case though I later find out in my friend's case too) the massage and exfoliating process extends to quite a concentrated breast massage! Now as this is my first experience of a Thai massage you seasoned massage-lovers or travellers may tell me this is par for the course, but as a Thai massage virgin it wasn't what I was expecting and considering I have become overly conscious of touching the lump I am not ready for this and keep squirming every time her fingers trace over the area. What seems like ages but is probably no more than a couple of minutes the breast massage ends. I am wondering if everyone gets this treatment or is just for 'couples'. Of course my imagination is now into overdrive and I am wondering if my friend has just been given the same treatment. 

The masseurs explain that we can now shower in the adjoining shower room to wash off the exfoliating debris. I suggest my friend goes first and as she goes towards the shower one of the masseurs says, "You can go into together if you want." I don't have my glasses on so I can't make out any facial expressions, but I am sure I can hear them giggling as I say, "No that's fine thank you." They leave the room chatting and laughing and I in my paranoid state think it's about us. My friend comes out of the shower and mumbles something about the paper pants, but I don't quite hear it as am still mortified that we could be the source of such amusement. 

The water is just the right temperature and pressure and my skins feels soft and supple. I am feeling quite glowing, radiant and even a bit goddess-like when I look down and see my plastic pants are filling up with water and my already not so small bottom looks positively gargantuan like those terrible 19th century pictures of Hottentot women with their extended buttocks!!!

Oh god I need to get out of here to save my poor friend from this terrible sight that I am sure she can't help but make out through the frosted glass door. You certainly couldn't miss it that's for sure...

By the look on my face she can see that I am as disturbed as she was about the water filling pants and she gingerly asks whether the massage went places that I wasn't expecting and I say that it did and I was nervous that this might happen again, but we both agreed it would just add to the opinion they already had of us as being completely odd if we said anything. We both agreed that it was all probably very innocent and innocuous and it was just my mad 'togetherness' comments that made it feel wierd and that it was most probably the most normal thing in the world when having a Thai massage. 

The masseurs return and begin the second part of the massage. I am transported into massage heaven and am relaxed again and completely in the moment. There is no more 'breast action' and the only unusual thing is when my masseur jumps on the table to really get pummelling, but it is all so fantastic that I don't care where or how she does it just as long as she keeps doing it. 

The massage is all over too quickly and we are soon back into the hustle and bustle of Brighton and quaffing glasses of wine over a gorgeous tapas lunch with all our detoxing clearly behind us as we attempt to increase our toxicity levels. We laugh at what's just occurred and the confusion around us being a couple. However we conclude that maybe we have got it wrong and just because we were close to Brighton's gay community (or is the trendier term 'quarter' as Brighton very unmathematically seems to have a lot of quarters these days!)  Kemp Town or as us locals have affectionately called it for years Camp Town. Whatever it is it's made for a funny story and something to keep me chuckling in the grim days ahead. I wanted to create memories for what could be the dark times to come and I'd certainly done that. 

We part company radiant and glowing now from too much afternoon drinking and as I make my way back home I see a text from the Spa thanking us for our custom and giving us an early bird Valentine special for loving couples. Obviously we did a good show of togetherness even though I'd hidden my pregnancy from my lover and we were too shy to get into the shower together to scrub each other down dressed only in our bellowing watery pants. However for a massage like that well sometimes a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do...


  1. Give up lost long comment but thanks So raya x

  2. Thanks love. Sorry it's so bleeding difficult to leave a comment but thanks for reading.