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Is pampering a ‘creepy cult?’


I have to confess I am an addict of the Daily Mail website, mainly for the (mostly unintentionally) hilarious reader’s comments after each article. One article that caught my eye recently was one a week or so ago by Julie Burchill, who declared that in her opinion, just twenty years ago only prostitutes, models and actresses bothered with regular beauty treatments, and that anyone who wanted to have a pamper party in a day spa was a ‘prissy half-wit’.

Not wanting to get into the obvious inaccuracies here – but I’ve been writing about spas since 2000 and SpaSeekers was set up in 1989, so the ‘cult of the spa’ has been in existence for longer than 20 years. I’d say that Ms Burchill may not actually have been aware of spas back in 1989, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t exist!

She made some pretty sweeping generalisations about spa-goers and UK spas in general, while at the same time making it crystal clear to me, and to anyone that’s been on a spa day in the last ten years, that she has never set foot inside a spa in her life. For example, Julie talked about a spa hen party where there was “potential for injury when one of the half-wit’s less prissy friends smuggles in a few half-bottles of vodka” – most of the spas I’ve been lucky enough to visit actually have bars. There’s no need to smuggle in alcohol…

She also seemed to have completely missed the point of a spa break. She believed it was all about beauty, slating nail bars for daring to make a profit last year and calling women who dedicated a bit of time to making themselves look good ‘living dolls’.

Now, we’re all entitled to our opinion, but as she clearly has never been to a spa, she obviously doesn’t realise that although there are plenty of beauty options to keep anyone who wants to look good happy, the whole point of a spa visit is to get away from it all, make time for you and relax. That’s why there are relaxation areas, plush lounges, cafes, soothing pools, massages and healing complementary therapies available at UK spas, not just manicures and facials.

Do you think that people who spend their disposable income on ‘preening’ are tragic? Or that there’s something inherently creepy about having a young, attractive spa therapist massaging you? Maybe you think that Julie Burchill is talking nonsense and probably just needs a good massage?

Here’s the link to the article – see what you think?

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