Dom Joly: I'm a man. Why would I want to visit a spa?

Related Topics

"For God's sake Dom, stop looking at the prostitute and keep your eyes on the road." My wife had a point. Our two right-hand side wheels had briefly skirted the deep ditch on the side of the Tuscan country road.

The prostitute that I'd been observing was the fifth that we'd seen along this winding drive between Arezzo and Siena. According to locals, they were all from Africa and were dropped off every morning by an old man in a beaten-up car. They stand in their allocated positions – some in fields, others in lay-bys – waiting for passing trade. It was not exactly what I was expecting to see our three days at our "Tuscan retreat", as our monastery-turned-hotel likes to style itself. We are here to relax – not with prostitutes, but by enjoying the spa facilities on offer.

Sadly, I find spas most unrelaxing. I have an aversion to whale music, a soundtrack that seems to be obligatory in these type of establishments. Women, my wife included, clearly feel differently. This is pretty much her dream destination: not too far from the kids, spa therapies on tap and a designer-shoe outlet 20 minutes' drive away.

Despite my protestations, however, I was eventually persuaded to have a massage. "It'll do you good," said Stacey. "It'll help you unwind."

Why do women not understand that men unwind by drinking beer and watching a good film? This, however, was not on the list of treatments – although I could have some hot water and lemon should I so desire.

I perused the list of available massages. It listed drainage massages, Ayurvedic massages, deep tissue massages, sports massages, holistic massages. I was completely lost. I was once persuaded to have a "Zero Zen" massage in Notting Hill in which a hippy charged me a £100 to float his hands over my body for half an hour. I was particularly unrelaxed when I left that one I can tell you. Especially as he had very bad BO.

I eventually opted for a Swedish one because... I have no idea actually. It was the first on the list and sounded slightly less airy-fairy than the others. Once the decision was made, a woman who resembled a dental nurse asked me to follow her down squeaky-clean corridors and into her little room. The whale music was in full screech and I felt very stressed already. She handed me a tiny plastic packet before leaving the room. It was a pair of paper comedy pants with no rear to them. I attempted to put them on but only managed to tear them so that they were barely clinging to my genitalia. I hopped on to the bed and pulled a sheet over me.

The dental nurse returned and asked me in a stupidly hushed tone whether I would like the massage soft, medium or hard? I didn't want to look weak so I went for hard. Big mistake.

The nurse started pummelling and cracking my poor body until I eventually had to ask her if she had ever been to Cuba? Specifically Guantanamo Bay. She turned the whale music up and started to work on my inner thighs. I thought very hard about unsexy things, like Frankie Boyle and Bungle from Rainbow. Finally, after what seemed like ages, she stopped the abuse and vacated the room without saying anything.

I lay there for 10 minutes, not knowing what to do. I eventually got up, took off my paper pants and put them in a small bin in the corner. I found my clothes, got dressed and left. The corridors were empty, there was nobody about. I scuttled outside and headed for the bar. Tomorrow I think I might try one of the "African roadside" massages. At least they only last for a couple of minutes.

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin

£13676.46 - £16411.61 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment Cons...

Ashdown Group: Marketing or Business Graduate Opportunity - Norwich - £22,000

£18000 - £22000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Business and Marketing Gr...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...

Ashdown Group: Database Analyst - Birmingham - £22,000 plus benefits

£20000 - £22000 per annum + excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Sup...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Labour leader Ed Miliband unveils Labour's pledges carved into a stone plinth in Hastings  

Election 2015: Smash the two-party system! Smash the voting system!

Armando Iannucci
Tactical voting is a necessary evil of the current first-past-the-post system, where voters vote against what they do not want rather than in favour of what they do  

Election 2015: Voting tactically has become more fraught in new political order

Michael Ashcroft
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'