Monday, April 28, 2008

Aura Wellness Spa

After spending the weekend with my family, I planned on Monday to take care of my body, starting with a rigorous yoga class and then heading to the Aura Wellness Spa for their Mother's Day Special. So what if I don't have children. Immersing my senses in this Japanese experience, from the stonework to the graciousness of the staff, was well worth it.

I soaked in the heat of three of their four saunas before having a memorable Javanese body scrub. A sense of modesty overtook me as I disrobed before Jinny, a middle-aged Korean woman, who ex-foliated my skin with a sandpaper-like mitt and then rubbed it down with a jasmine concoction. As I lay naked on a plank, she dumped buckets of hot water on me. Some moments felt as if I were participating in an ancient tradition. Other moments were consumed with twinges of self-consciousness, if not humiliation of my position. Was I a child again being washed by the mother? Was I living out some elitist role that spas afford the affluent?

I wondered how she judged the bodies that lay there in total passivity as she washed them? Did she see the bodily form as beautiful or disfigured? Maybe the body was seen through the filter of a service exchange, like that of a sex work or massage therapist.

When I finally stood up to be rinsed down, Jinny told me to rinse my own "baby," pointing to my genitals.

Okay, the facial that followed was less invasive. But to have another person pick one's blackheads could constitute as highly personal.

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