One Girl, Four Cups

5 Dec

You see what I did there?


So, last week I finished working on our annual spas feature, which means I got to enjoy my annual two-week period of trying out incredibly luxuriant treatments at spas that I normally can’t come within 100 feet of without getting a look reserved especially for the poors.

Excuse me, PEASANT, this spa is for knights ONLY.

It also makes it the one-year anniversary of that time I ate a bull penis (*shudders*).

Anyway, my editor in chief (whom I will not nickname, because I like employment) suggested that this year I should write the 750 word feature that goes along with  the shorter writeups.

“Sure,” I say. “I have some great ideas! We could cover the history of the facial–start with the nightingale excrement facials that geishas used to counteract toxic poisoning from their white face paint and include the infrared and electricity facials people are doing now…”

*Editor-in-chief looks unimpressed*

“Ok, what about the transition of the farm-to-table movement into spas.  They’ve got farm-to-spa treatments now that are utterly ridiculous: a massage in a barn made completely of reclaimed wood with no screws that was raised in the traditional Amish fashion. Perfect for parody!”

*Editor-in-chief looks unimpressed*

“Or…” I hesitate. “I could write about the rise of extreme spa treatments.  You know, -210 degree cold saunas, ligament restructuring, modern day leeches….

*I pause*

“I found… a facial where they restructure your jaw from inside your mouth.”

“That sounds perfect.”

OneBadYamPajama: *in head* “Fuck!”

And so, readers, that’s how I came to have the fingers of a tiny French lady inside my mouth at 9am on a Tuesday morning (well, that’s the story I’m telling you, anyway)

I DID think the lacy gloves were a little much...

While my tiny French facialist was in the process of rubbing my cheeks with her latex gloves and some pretty remarkably gross inside-outside face lotion, I sincerely thought my week couldn’t get any stranger.

Then it did.

In order to fill out the article, I signed up for a few other over-the-top treatments. One of them involved an ancient Chinese alternative medicine practice called “fire cupping,” wherein glass cups are heated and placed on your back, where they cool and form a vacuum against your skin. Purportedly,the suction releases toxins, increases circulation and improves your overall health. In my experienced opinion, the suction increases the number of large circular bruises on your back.

The whole treatment was about three hours long, so by the time I got to the scary cup portion, I was already thoroughly relaxed:

“Are you ready for the cups?  It’s going to cause some pretty serious bruising, but I’ll try to move them around so its not so bad.”

OneBadYamPajama: *drooling on pillow from two hour massage* “hmmm?”

She puts the first cup on and it feels like someone giving you a really hard hickey. It’s unpleasant, but not anything I can’t take. She puts on two more, then gets a little enthusiastic with the last one.


The final cup suctions itself so hard to my lower back that I have a moment of panic that the therapist has recognized that I’m actually one of the poors, and lured me here to steal one of my kidneys.

“Ow! That’s MY %&^*ing kindney, you $^&$%”


“I… um….nothing” *grits teeth*

“Wow,” she says. “That one’s really on there, huh?”

“You. Don’t. Say.”

“I’m going to try to move it.”

After trying with all her strength for several excruciating minutes to slide the cup across my oiled back, she succeeds in moving it only about a half an inch (which puts the lip of the cup directly over the fresh bruise and hurts even worse). Perhaps figuring that I have been sufficiently beaten into submission, she finally gives up and takes the fourth cup off completely, leaving me a back that looks like this:

Hey boss, can I write, like, a wine feature next month, or something?

Article turned out great though. Hooray participatory journalism!


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