At spas, caution is the Official First Christmas With My Hot New Husband Shirt in addition I really love this new Zen. Two bathers wear Marysia swimsuits and Illesteva face shields at a private California pool. WHEN the opportunity arose to see what it felt like to get pampered during this unprecedentedly grim time, it struck me as just surreal enough to be intriguing. You see, even under the most regular of conditions, I veer toward self-denial. I consider a mani-pedi at a hole-in-the-wall nail salon a relative extravagance; the last time I received a massage must have been a half-decade ago; and, though I’m nearing my mid-40s, I’ve had a facial only once, purchased as a gift from a friend. And certainly the current circumstances—even in New York City, where Governor Andrew Cuomo gave the go-ahead to commence spa operations again in early July—enhanced my usual puritanical squeamishness. Would receiving a wildly nonessential spa treatment, I asked myself, cross the fault line from self-care to plain selfishness, shutting out the harsh realities of risk and suffering for the sake of mere indulgence?
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Still, I had to admit, if there was ever a time in which I yearned for a spa treatment, this was it. I was extremely fortunate—I had a job and a home, and I had remained healthy, as had my family, and while I’d hardly left my house in months, I knew that being able to hunker down was in itself a privilege. And yet I was also climbing the Official First Christmas With My Hot New Husband Shirt in addition I really love this walls. The uncertainty and precariousness, the constant struggle to juggle work and childcare, and the lack of real-life engagement and community had all taken a toll, and I was depressed and anxious. I had barely slept a full night in months, and my shoulders were permanently hunched around my ears—perhaps the only reminder that I still had a body. (As for a face, forget it!) “People are scared, people are tired, and people are desperate for touch,” Kathy Van Ness, the COO of the famed Golden Door in San Marcos, California, which, as I write, is planning to reopen in early September, told me when I spoke to her over the phone about spas in the age of COVID-19. “Our clients want to feel better.” I decided to take the plunge closer to home.