Thursday, June 14, 2007

The Perils of Plumpy Pampering

I may be fat, but there is one place where I have absolutely no body shame.

I believe in the good life. I believe in pampering. Unlike some who battle their weight, I have no problem stripping down to my skivvies if I know there's a fabulous massage or incredible body wrap waiting for me.

I love spa days.

I think I got this boldness and this love of the good life from my mother, a woman who herself, has fought the battle against extra pounds. But she's never been one to deny herself the right to look and feel beautiful. When I was a little girl, I used to spend Saturday afternoons at the salon with her, begging for nails painted just like hers or for fancy haircuts. By 7, I was getting full manicures and pedicures. At about 15 I had my first spa day.

I was hooked. And I don't let the fact I've got a little chub deter me from frequent indulgences. Sure, the moment I take my robe off and get on the table for a massage I wonder if the therapist is just a bit horrified by all the extra flesh she's going to have to work on, but any worries I have slip away the moment the massage starts.

So to prepare myself for Hawaii, I called up my favorite spa and decided to treat myself to a full-body exfoliating scrub and a self-tanning treatment. After all, the citizens of the South Pacific do not need to be blinded by my pale skin that would make Casper the Friendly Ghost proud.

I'd never had either treatment before so I wasn't sure what to expect. When making my appointment I asked what I needed to wear; the lovely receptionist told me it didn't matter. They had disposable clothing for me to wear during the treatment so I wouldn't ruin my goods. Disposable clothing. Okay, I figured maybe a little paper dress or something similar to what you get at a doctor's office.

I was okay.

Until the therapist pointed out the the provided "clothing".

Lying on the table was a little strip of muslin and something the size of a piece of gauze wrap. You know the kind, that you pull out of a first-aid kit to stop some bleeding. It ain't tiny, but it ain't big either.

She explained the strip of muslin was a disposable bra and with the flick of her wrist, opened the little gauze thingie to reveal a paper thong.

I could not contain my laughter. Seriously? A paper thong? Oh. My. Heavens. And the paper bra? Please. I think it strained on its own at the site of my boobs. I had to laugh. It was the oddest thing I could ever imagine putting on my body.

I took one look and shook my head. I don't wear real thongs made of cotton or lace. I believe the only place floss serves a purpose is when used on your teeth. Not on your rear. So I happily told the therapist I'd keep my own undies on. Hey, they were the cheapie cotton kind from Victoria's Secret. If I ruined them, no harm, no foul.

And surprisingly enough, I was able to wrap the paper bra around the girls. Oh, it strained. And I had to kind of hold the bra in place with my arm to keep my boobs from sliding out but it worked.

But I can't lie. It was embarrassing. For the first time in a spa treatment, I was absolutely horrified. I felt truly exposed. The only people that have ever seen me more naked are my mother (Back when she had to diaper my tush!), my doctor and Mr. CCC. And none of them have ever oiled me up from head to toe, scrubbed me down and then rubbed self-tanner on every nook and cranny.

It felt like the longest hour of my life. Worse than my Pilates class, actually. My mind couldn't stop working and I kept wondering what the therapist thought of me; if she was laughing internally and wondering why this fat girl wanted a fake tan. Fake tans are a dime a dozen here in SoFla but I'm willing to bet most of the women who get this treatment at this posh spa are teeny tiny women who spend their weekends on the beach. You know, the Beautiful People.

To her credit though, the therapist was great. As she scrubbed me down and painted me with tan-in-a-bottle, she made great conversation. She kept me from focusing on how exposed I was and for that, I tipped her generously. It's been about 10 hours since my treatment and my skin looks pretty and sun-kissed and subtle. (No orange pumpkin Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton faux glo here!)

It was far from the relaxing treatment I was expecting, but part of me wonders how much it had to do with my own body hang up. I mean, this woman saw my stomach. My thighs. My spare tire. I do a pretty good job of hiding all of those from the man I married. Awkward doesn't even begin to describe it.

The whole experience was a reminder of how far I still have to go, but of how much is at stake. Yes, losing weight is going to make me healthier and give me a new physical lease on life. But I wonder how much more comfortable I'll be. I wonder how exciting it will be to not worry about what anyone else thinks of my body. I even wonder if maybe one day I can pull off wearing a paper thong.

Well, let's not go that far. I don't think I can ever pull off wearing a paper thong.

Aloha! See you soon!


Lora said...

I agree with you about those thongs....I spend enough time trying to pull my undies out of my crack!

Enjoy Hawaii and be sure to post some pics!

Livy said...

I have not laughed to so hard all day. I really feel your pain honey! I had a massage sometime ago, and it was the same, I couldn't enjoy it, because I was so worried about what this sexy black man thought of jelly belly old me groaning like I was having an orgasm! The reality of the matter is, I'm sure you're not the first curvacious girl she has done, and I'm sure you won't be the last!
Actually, on topic. My sister is a nurse, and she was telling me the other day that there was a 'big' lady going to have a 'gyny' procedure. My sister said she was crying uncontrollably as she went it, just the embarrassment... was overwhelming for her. My sister cuddled her, and gave her some drugs to make her relax. The poor thing.

Maitee said...

OMG, that was hysterical. Paper thongs are so not easy to deal with. I've gone through that same exact ordeal and it is not fun. Thanks for the laughs! I hope you are having a fabulous time in HI with your wonderfully sun kissed tan!

Anonymous said...

I LOVED this post. You're too funny!

And for the reconrd I don't think many of us could pull off a paper thong.