Aside from a life-size cutout of Drake that’s propped up on the wall of my bedroom, I am currently single. Very single. So single that I felt that need to reference a life-size cutout of Drake – something I truly own – when talking about my relationship status.
With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, I decided I wanted to do something nice for myself. Why should I be excluded from a whimsical day of celebration and chocolate just because I don’t have a breathing human partner to share my life with?
N.Y.C.’s Haven Spa has a promotional treatment for couples. For $350, you and your partner can get a 60 minute couples massage and side-by-side chocolate pedicures. My thinking was: Why should couples get to have anything that I can’t have? So I asked if I could get the couples treatment but just by myself, and they said, “Sure?” The cost would be $175. (Disclaimer: In the name of science/cupid, they offered it to me for free.)
I left work around 10:30 a.m. to rush to my appointment. I wasn’t sure what to expect; I’d never had a massage or a pedicure before – insane, I know – so I was worried I’d mortify myself somehow, whether by laughing during a foot scrub or peeing during a lower back squeeze. (Back stuff activates my bladder. Another story for another time.)
When I arrived, they took me to a locker room to put on an extravagant robe (all robes are extravagant, tbh). Full naked or keep on my underwear? I didn’t want to make my masseuse uncomfortable by being naked for something I wasn’t supposed to be naked for. But then I decided that I love being naked and this whole experience was about love, so I took it all off.
The massage itself was luxurious and romantic as hell. But since my face was stuffed into the head hole, there would be no way of truly enjoying it with a partner if I had one, so I didn’t feel like I was missing out on any crucial couple’s experience. I just focused on my body, my breathing. I felt like Kate Hudson. The oils smelled of lavender. I noticed myself breathing in and out for the first time in weeks; because how often do you notice yourself breath? Answer: Never. Sometimes I don’t even notice I’m only wearing one sock.
I almost cried when the hour was up. I didn’t want to put my robe on; I wanted to be naked forever. I felt like a delicious bowl of pudding. Smooth, wobbly and relaxed in the way only pudding is. But then I remembered I had stage two of my romantic journey ahead of me: CHOCOLATE PEDICURE.
I was handed a cup of green tea and led to the pedicure station. Putting my haggard feet into that warm bubbly bath was a religious experience. I’m so glad I wasn’t there with a boyfriend or even my Drake cutout because I could just focus on the physical sensation, not how someone else was feeling. I did notice that it could be fun to hold someone’s hand – the pedicure thrones are positioned nice and close to each other – but whatever, I was holding a cup of tea and my phone, and a lot of fun things were happening on Snapchat.
Transfixed by the chocolate aromas and the tingly sensation of being scrubbed, I was truly transported. I didn’t even get insecure about my pedicurist chiseling away my foot callouses. I was a queen, if but for 40 minutes.
The hardest part of the whole experience was going back to work afterward, but when I took off my robe and put on my real clothes, still all lubed up from the massage, I made sure to exhale, slowly and diliberately. I looked in the mirror. I was glowing.
“I love you, Maria,” I said to myself.
“What?” someone in a bathroom stall called out.
Then I whispered it: “I love you, Maria.”