The Day I Got a Free Facial (and a trip to see the aliens)

My gym is celebrating its one-year birthday, so they decided to have lots of free giveaways. If I was a gym and it was my birthday, I’d ask that people cram donuts through my mail slot and leave me the hell alone. But I am not a gym. Part of these giveaways included free facials for gym members at the spa next door. I signed up. Who doesn’t like a free facial at the spa next door?

So I show up for the free facial. They were having a little party with wine and cheese. Everyone was standing around laughing at the mineral make-up counter. Sadly, I’m wearing day-old jeans and a 4th of July t-shirt. I’m greeted by a woman with a perfect body, Christian Louboutin heels, and gleaming blue eyes. She clearly hasn’t eaten in weeks and yet her skin looks fantastic. How does she stay hydrated when she’s only drinking champagne?

A nice girl named Jenny with long lashes takes me back to a room, where my facial will be performed. She’s whispering, because it’s very zen and you don’t want to wake anyone, apparently. Can you just show up here and take naps? That sounds nice. We get in a room and Jenny-with-the-lashes tells me to get inside the pod.


Enter at your own risk. At least it’s plugged in.

There, inside my facial space, is a space-like seed pod that has a pillow at the end. I try to quickly form an exit plan if and when this device is designed to transport me to an alien planet. She says it’s warm, vibrates, and emits lavender scented air. “You’re not claustrophobic, are you?” she asks.

I feel like they should warn you when you sign up for this facial that it will require you to enter a seed pod. But based solely upon the explanation of lavender air, I crawl inside. The vibrations were so strong my teeth were chattering, so I kindly asked eyelashes if she could just turn off that feature, which she does. I settle in my pod for a long nap and expect to be woken up with a new face. I clearly have worked out my trust issues, for my life is now in this cute woman’s little hands.

First Jenny blows hot steam directly at my face. I don’t like it, but I already asked her to turn off the human vibrator and I don’t want to be seen as difficult. It’s hard to breathe, but I tell myself it’s just steam and not smog from Los Angeles and I do my best to survive. She then begins to smear a sticky substance onto my face which feels very much like honey. “What is that you’re putting on now?” I ask in a very quiet voice. “It’s honey,” she says. I feel very smart in knowing.

Next up is a slight feeling of scraping — perhaps by a piece of wood of some sort, or a spatula? I have my eyes closed since steam is blowing into my face, but when I ask she explains it’s just a popsicle stick she’s wiping over my face to remove the dirt and grime. I’m beginning to think this is the same type of facial as my daughter performs on her dolls, and I’m growing terrified that next she’s going to slather peanut butter in my hair and begin to chant. Has she done this before? Does she just grab things from her kitchen and take them to work to use on people’s faces? But then she starts to rub my shoulders and I’m thrown into a trance. Who cares if she rubs my neck down with avocado. That woman has magic fingers.

I think this is when they call in the aliens.

She ended up wiping off all the goo, spraying some toner around my head like it was room spray (IT DID CONTAIN LAVENDER), informing me that I had a blemish to watch out for, and informed me she was going to bring me water. I’m wondering what we did to require additional hydration, but I don’t argue. Clearly a large chunk of my life went missing in that pod.

When you leave the quiet zone and enter the front lobby again, the point is to sell you a membership and laser hair removal and convince you that your entire life, but particularly your chin, need some serious cosmetic assistance. I ended up looking at my watch, creating a fake event to be late for, and crawled out toward my car. I walked down the sidewalk feeling sticky, since I had honey residue on my cheekbones, and when I got home I washed my face.

I highly recommend the spa next to my gym if you’re interested in visiting aliens and like to lick the side of your own face and receive a delicious burst of natural sugar. It’s probably locally sourced honey from the PIanet Zorbol. For what it’s worth, the aliens who work there are beautiful and have nice taste in shoes.