I think I’m clean. Today I learn I’m not.
I have a Groupon for a body scrub at the Tribeca Spa of Tranquility. The place itself is unassuming. Nothing fancy. But it’s clean.
I have a 2:30 appointment with Grace, and arrive on time. I am the only customer. I am handed a towel, shoes, and paper panties to put on. I wonder why I’m being given disposable underwear.
After changing, I am led into a steam room. I sit and sweat for maybe five minutes, though it feels longer. Grace comes and leads me to a sterile room with a massage table in the middle. She tells me to lie on my back and remove my towel. Then she covers my eyes. I lie there at Grace’s mercy, not knowing what to expect.
Next I feel buckets of warm water being poured over me. I now understand why I am not wearing my own underwear. It’s an amazing sensation.
Grace begins scrubbing my body wearing loofah-like mittens (I peek). She doesn’t miss a spot. I can feel the dead skin accumulating around me. Grace is a small Korean woman with a lot of strength and poor English. She says the word dry many times, but I can’t understand the context. I doubt she is saying, “Your skin is not dry,” but truthfully, I cannot decipher her sentences at all. Rather than continue to ask Grace to repeat things, I just agree to everything she asks.
Grace scrubs and scrubs. She covers every single part of my body more than once. I am becoming lighter and cleaner. She even massages my shoulders.
Grace then takes strips of cucumber and layers my face with them. This, while continuing to soap, scrub, rinse and moisturize. While I’m wearing the cucumber mask, Grace washes my hair and provides a great head massage.
80-minutes. I am literally scrubbed from head to toe. No piece of skin remains un-cleaned. I am finally asked to stand up and remove my paper panties. Grace rinses me one last time, and then walks me to the sauna. My skin literally squeaks when I rub it. I have never been this clean.
Thin curtains separate the rooms. Toward the end of my scrub I hear a man and woman speaking. At first I think they’ve joined Grace in my room. As evidence of how relaxed I am, I don’t even care.
My skin feels incredibly soft and smooth. It almost feels new. I will be back. I just wish there were a better way back uptown than the subway. I’d like to prolong this feeling of clean.