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Top 10 Reasons Why You May Hate Spas

Spas Represent Many Things People Hate

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Hate spas? One of the biggest trends in travel in the last decade, spas are everywhere vacationers venture. Yet spas aren't for everyone. If you haven't yet been to a destination spa, or only have been to a day spa (which, as my husband likes to point out, are the first two syllables in the word "despondent"), you should know what you're in for when considering a spa vacation. These are a few things about spas you may hate. I know I do.

1. Thing to Hate About Spas: The Medical Exam

An evil boss once gave me a gift certificate for a weekend at Canyon Ranch in the Berkshires. The first thing they said to me after checking in was that I'd need to have a medical exam to participate in the activities. I replied that:
    a) Caesars Palace, a far more salubrious place in my opinion, doesn't require medical exams; and
    b) Since I had no intention to submit to a medical exam on my vacation, I wouldn't be participating in their activities, thank you very much.
At another spa, I was required to fill out a three-page form that included numerous prying medical questions as well as a query about my choice of birth control -- all in order to get a simple pedicure!

2. Thing to Hate About Spas: The Food

Healthy spa food removes as much fat, sugar, and carbohydrates from each meal as possible. Know what else they remove? The taste! Honestly, which makes people happier: Pilates -- or a Pie Lady?

3. Thing to Hate About Spas: 6 am Nature Walks

The only living things that should be up at 6 am are roosters and milkmen. Stay in bed with your significant other and work off calories in a more pleasurable way. Then have the sense to go back to sleep.

4. Thing to Hate About Spas: New Age Spacey Nonsense

If I had chakras, I'd trust that they were in reasonable alignment and not waste my time attempting to rejigger them. In terms of credibility, spa science is about as plausible as intelligent design. Life is also too short to spend time on therapies of dubious value, including color therapy, aromatherapy, and the truly unappealing colonic therapy.

5. Thing to Hate About Spas: Strangers' Hands

At spas, strangers' hands reach out to push, pummel, pick, and squeeze various portions of your anatomy -- if you let them. Some people like this. But if you hate the idea of anyone but your significant other touching you or your beloved, spas are not for you.

6. Thing to Hate About Spas: They're Expensive

Spa stays do not come cheap. Not only do customers have to pay for services and tip for them, but most spas add to their bottom line by having staff push products. Usually there is also a spa store where you can stock up on their brand of high-priced robes, emollients, and other spa products to recreate the experience at home. That, you can do for less at Wal-Mart.

7. Thing to Hate About Spas: Other Spa Goers

Ever see the types of people who gravitate to spas? These are not healthy-looking people. I'm not saying you could catch something from them, although their unhealthy obsessions with skin, looks, and bowels can threaten to raise similar questions among those in proximity.

Another thing: Spas sometimes host guest lecturers chosen to inspire guests. Yet these are not necessarily individuals worthy of being emulated or even listened to. At my previously mentioned visit to Canyon Ranch, the celebrity guest was a former Miss America who had been involved in a messy bribery case and subsequently arrested for shoplifting. Sure, she had shapely legs and no cellulite... but she was hardly a role model.

8. Thing to Hate About Spas: Spas are Boring

Would you rather spend your travel dollars seeing and doing, tasting and experiencing -- or getting a facial and massage? Some people certainly find the latter relaxing. But for my money an outer journey beats an inner one any day of the week. And have you ever been a captive audience to that wordless, atonal, monotonous spa music? It's the aural equivalent of a drive-by lobotomy.

9. Thing to Hate About Spas: Sweating

I know, I know, lots of people think sweating is healthy. Spas foster that with their steam rooms, saunas, and hot baths. And don't get me started on sweat lodges and temazcals. Me, I immediately think I'm sick and running a fever when I perspire. And the more I do it, the sooner I need to lie down in an air-conditioned room until it passes and I return to a normal body temperature.

10. Thing to Hate About Spas: It's Like Gym

Maybe you liked gym in school. To me, it was a torture to be endured. And spas are a lot like that. From the front desk (where the staff is the answer to the question, "Where did all those dumb but snotty girls from high school go after graduation?") to the treatment rooms (which are the answer to the question "How would you decorate a rabbit warren to freak out a claustrophobic?") to the heat, the sweat, and the communal locker rooms, spas are high school gym redux. And some of us just can't wait for the bell to ring soon enough.
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