men and spas



Hey Good Enough Guy,

My husband Clark and I are having a disagreement I hope you can help us solve. For our anniversary, I thought it would be nice for us to spend a weekend at a spa retreat. I booked the trip as a surprise gift.

When I finally presented my husband with the gift, he said thank you but he wasn’t interested. He doesn’t think the spa is an “appropriate” place for a man to be, even on his anniversary.

I think he’s being ridiculous. Come on, it’s 2011! What do you think?

Janis, Park City


Hey Janis,

When your husband says it’s not “appropriate”, what he’s really saying is “if I wanted strangers massaging my naked body, I wouldn’t have gotten married”. What is it with women wanting their husbands to get rubbed on by other people? I’ve been fighting with my wife on this for years.

My wife loves the spa! Facials, manicures, pedicures, massages, waxes, the works… and I’m fine with that. I don’t understand why she likes it, but I don’t need to. She likes it, so she should go and enjoy it. However, she refuses to understand that I don’t want to go and “enjoy” it with her. And why do so many husbands shy away from the spa? Here are some of my personal reasons, and there’s a good chance your husband’s reason is in here somewhere:

THE COUPLE’S MASSAGE: There is no correct combination of men-to-women for a husband to enjoy this activity without some repercussions.

Two male masseuses – The only thing I’ll enjoy less than being rubbed on by a man is being rubbed on by a man while I watch my wife being rubbed on by some other man.

Two female masseuses – I’m a guy. If a woman is rubbing hot oil on me while I’m watching another woman rubbing hot oil on my wife, “guy things” are probably going to happen to me, and that’s going to lead to a really uncomfortable conversation once we get home.

One male and one female masseuse… My wife thinks, whether it’s man-man-woman-woman or man-woman-woman-man, this combination makes everything okay. I feel like any combination of this, mixed with oil and rubbing, is just a strobe light and a funky bass line away from bad seventies porn.

THE NAKEDNESS: I’m absolutely fine with nudity. Hell, I’m writing this article naked right now, but that’s neither here nor there. Like most men, I’m fine with being naked, if I’m in MY element. Grabbing a shower at the gym or walking around my bedroom (or the whole house, when the kids aren’t home) is one thing because it’s my space and I’m comfortable here, but I don’t know the spa: it’s not my element. I wouldn’t expect my wife to feel relaxed walking around in the men’s locker room wearing just a wet towel… and if she does feel relaxed, we need to have one of those really uncomfortable conversations again.

THE FEMININITY: Let’s be honest: The spa is designed by women for women.  Again, I’m quite secure in who I am and have no problem admitting that I have a softer side (I’ve seen “The Color Purple” a hundred times, but that last fifteen minutes… DAMMIT). I treat my feminine side pretty good, but too many scented candles, bath soaps, fluffy towels, and Kenny G remixes, and before you know it, my masculine side is gasping for air.

IT’S PERSONAL: Yeah, I bite my nails. Yeah, my feet are ticklish. Yeah, I have hair on my toes. You know who should know these things? Me. I don’t want to give someone my hand and have them try to pry six hours worth of yard work, engine grime, and latex paint out from under my fingernails, nor do I want to put my size elevens up on a stool, and have the poor pedicurist look at me like a just put fifty items onto the twelve-items-or-less counter. I’ll just soak my hands at home, and anything that doesn’t wash away tonight, I’ll chew out tomorrow, thank you.

I MIGHT LIKE IT: Okay, Okay!  I admit it! Part of the reason I don’t want to go is because I’m scared I might like it too much, and then I’ll turn into “that guy”. Yeah, you know the one. I won’t be able to change my oil anymore because my manicurist will have a fit. My Friday night relaxation beers will be replaced by a Saturday morning, sugar-scrub showers. And, before you know it, I’m the only guy shopping in Bath And Body Works who can smell the difference between lavender and lilac… and I’m buying them both for MY bathroom.

Janis, show this list to Clark, and I can almost guarantee he’ll chuckle and say, “Yeah, that’s about it.” And, while I could tell you how to force him, guilt him, or trick him into going to the spa with you, is that really how you want to treat him on your anniversary?

If you want to do something nice for him, you two should go on an Alaskan fishing trip together. Clark would probably love the idea of being out on the icy water before dawn, the boat tossing and turning, with the frigid wind biting at his hands and the smell of salmon in the air. And if Clark likes going, that means you should like going there too… right?

Happy anniversary to you and Clark… and I hope I helped!

Will Jones

William Jones is originally from the tiny town of Alton, Illinois, and now lives in the tinier town of Reisterstown, Maryland. He is a happy husband and a proud father of three, and writes as a hobby, in those few moments he finds between husbanding and daddy-ing.