I’m lying on the masseuse’s table, covered in a plush white towel, enjoying the warm breeze coming in through the lattice door. The ocean is alive, and I’m really digging the sound of the waves and how relaxed I feel after bumping my ass all over the jet ski earlier. An adventure I mildly regret because I’m now forced to walk like I have a stick up my ass. The athletic dude who took me on the ride didn’t warn me that slapping my thighs against the seat each time we rode a wave would cause my thighs to burn. Now my thighs are on fire and I cannot have them rubbing against each other or I might start a real fire with that friction between my mermaid thighs (no thigh gap here).
My Lover is next to me. I somehow managed to convince him to join me for a couple’s massage. I know there’s a chance the workweek he’d had might have led him to that table, but I like to think my feminine powers of persuasion had a greater role to play in this.
The masseuse is working her magic. I’m drifting in and out of sleep, trying my darndest not to groan and freak her out. Also wondering whether she’s used to people groaning on her table. Am I offending her by maintaining my stoic silence? Am I expected to show my appreciation in some way that doesn’t interrupt her flow? What’s the accepted etiquette for this?
I’m comforted by the fact that My Lover isn’t groaning either. I think he might even be fast asleep, considering he stopped talking a few minutes ago. Silence. From the man who’s rejected every request for a couple’s massage I’ve ever made. Though to be honest I’d feel some type of way if he gave away even the slightest hint of pleasure at another woman’s hands. I don’t care if she’s a professional; I’m the only one allowed to do that. Call me jealous, or crazy. I’m both.
I go back to listening to the ocean, thanking God for the blessing of not only being able to take a short beach holiday, but to do so with our nanny so that she can help with Gong and free us to eat and drink recklessly. Because let’s be honest moms – a holiday with a toddler and no nanny is just work in a different location.
My masseuse is winding up now. I can hear My Lover stirring, just quickly accepting that it’s over. I want her to keep going. I feel like the coins we’re paying should come with more. I’m mentally trying to calculate whether she spent the full hour on me, or whether the hour included prep time. My Lover is ready to leave. I’m not. I’m waiting for my first ever facial.
Now because I like to slide into things with a bang, I’ve picked some algae mineral facial. Not a basic facial, I want living things on my face. The description promised some fantastic results. I can already see myself taking more selfies looking like a cross between Joy Kendi and Ciara with my glowing naked skin. I’m planning looks that will highlight my face, contemplating wearing all black for life because my face will qualify as an accessory after this treatment. I have expectations.
The masseuse – who by now I’m hoping is also a certified beautician not one of those mkorogo ladies – is talking me through it because I’ve asked a few questions. I want to be sure that this facial could change my life, perhaps even make my face a source of income. I’m paying for it.
I’m listening as she speaks and mixes what I’ve by now decided is the magic portion that will cleanse, tone, mattify, brighten my skin and shrink my giant pores. The more she speaks about these products, which she swears are all natural and also used at the Sankara spa, the more excited I get. I’m thinking this could be a life-changer guys, that I might have to reintroduce myself to the world after this; maybe even have Lyra Aoko shoot me in her studio.
The excitement is welling up inside me. I can physically feel it getting bigger and bigger: like a balloon inside me.
The algae mask is applied on my face. It feels soothingly cool. It also stinks to the high heavens. She smothers it generously then places this gauze over me to keep the pads on my eyes in place. I feel like I’m being waterboarded in sewage, with a blanket of moss being used instead of a wet cloth or towel. It’s disgusting. I’m half expecting tadpoles or whatever else lives alongside algae to start nibbling at my skin. Maybe this is the elixir of forever youth? Celebrities do these vampire and semen facials, so surely, who am I not to jump on the latest in disturbing skincare trends?
Never mind that I might suffocate while doing it and die a stinky death before my debut in a series of super creative headshots. That, and the balloon that was so rapidly inflating earlier is now turning out to be my bladder, which I should mention can be categorised as “overactive.”
In all of five minutes, I go from planning my new future to focusing everything I’ve got on getting through the 30-minute facial without emptying the contents of my bladder on the masseuse’s table. I can literally feel my bladder swelling, and now the sound of the waves crashing on the shore will not let me forget how pressed I am. I try to visualise a future where my skin is not only your baby’s goals, but also where I can hold my pee for as long as I want or need to.
You know how telling someone who’s pissed (no pun intended here) off to calm down never really works? Turns out that telling your bladder to behave when it doesn’t want to doesn’t work either.
Now because I’ve been lusting after Joy’s skin, I’m here in a room by myself with this putrid algae mask on my face, eyes covered with cotton wool pads AND gauze, and a bladder that will not let me be great. I’m doing my finest kegels and willing myself to find a happy place, writhing on that bed in a manner that I’m sure looks straight out of an exorcism, and praying the masseuse will come back and take this gunk off my face quickly so I can pee.
She comes back seven days later, by which time I am in physical agony from the pressure my bladder is exerting on my entire body. I’m sure my pee is about to start flowing up to my throat because I refuse to let it out the way it wants to go.
The masseuse starts taking off the mask, trying to engage me. I try to be polite and say how transformed I feel, how I needed this to release the butterfly in me, but all I can think about is the release my bladder is begging for. I tell her to quit talking and hurry it up because I really, urgently need to go. I can’t continue writhing around like I was earlier because I’ll probably look like I’m humping the bed in reverse, so I’m lying completely still, frozen, like my whole body just got paralysed from a bad botox job.
She finishes. I ask her, through gritted teeth, to let herself out so that I can get dressed and run to the bathroom – which is not adjacent to the massage room, despite said room having both a jacuzzi and outdoor shower.
I sit up. I cannot even separate my legs to get off the bed, pull on my shorts and wear my slippers. I breathe in deeply. The extra air makes me light headed. By God’s grace, I manage to get dressed then proceed to limp to the bathroom. I barely make it there before my bladder goes “screw you, bitch. I’m going to do a little thing called what I want.” Have you ever watched a cow take a piss? That was me. No lie, no exaggeration here. But let me tell, you, it was a sweet, sweet release. I sat on the toilet for a couple of minutes congratulating myself for not peeing my pants. Like a three-year-old.
It’s what happens to me every other day, because overactive bladders are a thing. So next time you see me lining up in the bathroom, trying to look nonchalant but at the same time unable to stand still, please let me through. My bladder and I will thank you.
Oh, and about that facial. I still don’t look like Joy. I want my money back.