My Pampered Evening

5 Apr

Many “geeky” stereotypes are still associated with the IT industry – and they tend to be hideously untrue. Surely you’re familiar with the image of a sweaty geek, in a darkened basement, basking in the ominous glow of his computer monitor. He stares at lines upon lines of code, whilst snacking on stale chips and pizza. Soft drink and beer cans litter his desk – evidence that he has successfully avoided human contact beyond that of his favourite chat room.

Let me tell you that it’s wrong – at least most of the time. Obviously we can ascribe to that stereotype if we want to, but it’s not a prerequisite to being an IT professional.

In the same manner, we the Geek Girls, the Digital Divas, the Women in IT (and so on), we do not have to ascribe to purely geeky stereotypes. Why do I make this point? Well, as a proud woman in IT, I went to the spa today and was pampered for 2.5 hours. That’s right, I work in IT and like to look pretty!

So my shoulders and arm had started hurting because I’m only human, and I was in desperate need of a massage. Not that I ever really need an excuse to go for a massage, but it just so happened that I was in need. The work day had just started, and I looked around at my colleagues to ask who could recommend a place. Two facts about my awesome job in IT: (1) I have recently moved to India on a 6-month assignment and am still new to area and (2) I get to not only work with, but also talk to people. I know right? Face to face communication is common!

Okay, lame jokes aside, I got a great recommendation, quickly googled the location and the contact details, and within minutes had a booking for that evening.

I arrived by rickshaw, made my way up the elaborate stairs (most indoor areas are a stark contrast to the streets of India), and was greeted by friendly staff. Shortly after, a doctor came to assess my stress levels – well that’s a first for me (whilst in a salon/spa). His recommendation: meditate every day to reduce stress levels.

And then I was led to my oasis away from home, a candle lit room with a massage table. I changed into my paper-cotton-style underwear, and got comfy for 2.5 hours of pampering. We started off with a full hour Swedish Massage – yummy! That definitely loosened any tension I had. The one key difference abut the massages I’ve had here, as compared to those back in Australia, is that the therapists focus more on the trigger points and chakra points, as if tying in concepts from homeopathy, reiki, and so on. No matter what sort of massage you ask for, I guarantee that your third eye will be pressed down thoroughly (between the brows), along with the soles of your feet and the palms of your hands. It seems a little weird at first, but I’ve come to feel as if no massage would be complete without it.

Following on from this, was the 1 hour facial. I’m not exactly a super model, and I was definitely a regular teenage girl with my impossible-to-escape acne, but I like to think I’m over all that now. Until I get a facial. Most salons offer a range of facial options – hydrating, rejuvenating, cleansing – with a range of lotions and potions, masks and implements of torture. For some reason though, whenever I get a facial, they never ask what I want. They take one look at me, with what I can proudly say is a complexion I am happy with, and start the steamer, preparing the cleansing mud masks, and get ready to extract all of my blackheads. Are they really that obvious?!

So as always, the facial was a mostly relaxing experience, with about 15 minutes of strange pain. Ah, what we do for beauty!
Mamo, yes I do listen to you, and yes I try to look after myself and my skin.

Finally, with that over, I had a half hour foot reflexology session. Here in India they are definitely fond of what were once deemed “alternative” therapies. I feel so lucky to be surrounded by so many natural treatments. The gypsy woman within me rejoices!

Then it was time for a shower, to get rid of the mud mask and all the massage oils, and to settle my bill. It was nowhere near as damaging to my hip pocket as it would have been back home, and that alone has me booked me in for another visit. Not only that, but as I left, they provided me with a gel to put on either base of my feet or on my third eye, whichever I please, to help me sleep at night. What a neat touch, bringing in what I believe are aromatherapy and Ayurvedic concepts to finish off my experience.

Although the salons/spas here in India don’t have as well-known a reputation as those in many holiday destinations, they definitely provide a unique, holistic healing experience.

For further insights into the real lives of real women in IT, I recommend:

  • Tech Girls are Chic – a not-for-profit project promoting IT careers to other tech girls.
  • Diary of a Tech Girl – the informational and inspirational blog of Tech Girls are Chic’s very own editor and author.

One Response to “My Pampered Evening”

  1. jeninebeek April 12, 2012 at 8:42 am #

    Love love love your blog Olivia! I’m so inspired by your travels and impressed with your courage to move to India for work, im not sure I would have the guts!
    Thanks also for posting about my blog! 🙂 happy adventures…

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