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DAY 343: Wearing high heels to work

9 Aug


I’M filling in at a magazine where four-inch heels are protocol*, so I manage to track down a beginner’s pair I can walk in without looking too comedic. Pencil skirts, cinched waists and brushed hair are go!

Pro: I’m getting comments from random dudes in the street, which hasn’t happened for five years. And I’ve reached an age where I can be gracious about it.

Con: I pop into a pub to roll a cigarette and thoughtlessly spend my bus fare on a drink. The next hour is spent grizzling and hobbling down the entire length of King Street, like a drag queen after a punch-up with a rake.

Keeper? Yes, but in a more genteel, baby-steps kind of a way

* My waxer the other day told me that one of her male clients always goes to have his cigarette break outside the front doors of this magazine empire, so that the chicks who work there will assume he works there too. Then he goes back to his office again.

DAY 342: Getting stroked to death in my lunch break

8 Aug

THIS is horrible. I’m grimacing through the little head-hole in the table and clenching my fists as I get slathered up for a 15-minute massage down some basement in the city, staring at my masseuse’s pearly toenails in her thongs.

“Hard or soft?” she’d said. Soft.

As the girl carelessly traverses my back, neither soft nor hard, but a totally ‘meh’ medium, ‘Que Sera, Sera’ pipes reedily through the ceiling.

I’m not one to grumble, but my masseuse has all the finesse of a 14-year-old boy – which perhaps isn’t entirely surprising, as when the light comes on afterwards she appears to be a 14-year-old girl (therefore, nonces, I won’t reveal the location of the joint). If she were a bloke trying that nonsense on in bed, I’d have shrugged her off in five seconds flat.

Maybe, I ponder, as the masseuse settles in for five water-torturey minutes of rubbing a nubby square-inch on my left shoulder blade, massage is more of an art-form than I thought. Inspired, I get home and start Googling for tantra training.

Watch this space.

Keeper? No. Wanted to jump screaming from the table.

DAY 314: Getting shellacked

12 Jul

SHELLAC is a revolutionary new product! But only for your nails. It comes in colours like ‘Fedora’, ‘Red Baroness’ and ‘Negligee’. I plump for ‘Tropix Pink’.

The salon’s in Chadstone, and Jenna paints, then ‘cures’ my nails three times each under a UV light. This takes some time, and we discover our common ground is that we would both quite like to go to the new Pancake Parlour across the road later in the day. But not together.

The new Shellac treatment is designed not to chip or be chewed off. In fact, it’s only removable with acetone – normal nail varnish remover won’t make a dent. After a couple of weeks you’ll start getting regrowth of your nail showing underneath, so you’ll be obliged to go back, get it removed, and try ‘Negligee’.

Keeper? Yes. Great if you’re a dentist, a washer upper, a gardener or a grot.

DAY 281: Discovering I’m allergic to cigarettes, goddamnit

9 Jun

THIS WEEK, my eyes are puckered little pissholes in the snow, itching like they just got out of jail. I’ve got no idea what’s going on.

I decide to get tested for allergies at the MindBodySpirit Festival in Melbourne.

The practitioner runs a renowned allergy testing company out of Sydney. His stand is not covered in pictures of faeries or banks of useless machines flashing lights, nor does he have glitter on his face, which is a good sign. Still, I’m skeptical.

I sit at the table and he gives me a brass electrode to grip with my left hand, then jabs me in the centre of my right palm – an acupuncture point – with a sensor. This communicates with his computer by a galvanometer. On the screen, the program runs through over 100 foods, vitamins and hormone levels, and he jabs me twice as it clicks onto each category. The galvanometer in front of us swings to full whack for things like vegies, but flatlines for things like wheat and fags.

The practitioner gets irritable when I ask him how it works, but as Anne Smithells helpfully explains on Positive Health:

As food is placed in the mouth, the body has to immediately rush the correct enzymes to it to break it down for digestion and to add the necessary antigens. This means that the body’s sensing devices have to be able to identify the food. They do this by interpreting the resonance signature, or frequency given off by the food as it reaches the mouth (this can be measured as a wave form, rather like a radio signal). The system has been programmed to recognise the signatures of each of the foods, vitamins, or minerals it is testing, to convert them into a digitised form and then to feed the relevant data into its memory for analysis.

The bad news: I’m allergic to cow milk – which might be why I found these looming creatures so sinister on Day 100: Testing a Cow-Hugging Ruse – and also Vegemite and nicotine. This might explain why I had to persevere for the entire first year of high school to learn how to smoke without going yellow – and once again when I decided to learn how to smoke without drinking.

The practitioner tells me you can be intolerant to foods for a long time, but as gluten and casein (found in milk) build up in the body, you can eventually tip yourself over the edge. He hands me a tub of enzyme capsules to help break down the nasties in my system, and glibly dashes out a $40 receipt to add to the $110 I’m already paying, without consultation. Oof! Here’s my credit card to stuff down your bra, sir.

Keeper? Will try and stick to what I’ve learned. If you see me ordering a soy latte or smoking a clove cigarette, don’t judge.

DAY 265: Getting my ears candled

23 May

Not me.


I FALL asleep immediately, so I’m not sure what happens. According to this article, though, “the negative pressure needed to pull wax from the canal would have to be so powerful that it would rupture the eardrum in the process”.

Keeper? No, don’t feel any different.

DAY 263: Getting cupped within an inch of my life

21 May

I'm either really bruised or I've been spammed.

IF I could get up and do a runner I just might, but I’m forced down onto the practitioner’s table with the pressure of an Acme anvil.

I know bugger all about cupping, other than Gwyneth Paltrow caused a furore after attending some red carpet bash with circular bruises on her back and a beatific smile on her face, and that it has its fair share of naysayers. I’ve found this spa in Kuala Lumpur that does it for a tenner though, so it would be churlish to ask too many questions.

I lie topless on my front and my practitioner, Maimum, yanks down my undies, and gives me a bit of an angry slather of oil, put out that I’m not going for the massage for another tenner. I hear the ignition of a cigarette lighter. I’ve guessed this is going to be uncomfortable, but at this very moment a panpipe rendition of ‘Do You Really Want to Hurt Me’ comes on the stereo and things take on a sinister skew.

I pipe up and ask Maimum what cupping does.

“Get body wind.”

“Did you say ‘wind’?”

“Yes. Bad wind.”

A good belch would have been less traumatic.

Maimum applies a cup to my neck with a loud sucking noise and it’s a sensation I haven’t felt since being bitten as a kid by one of those rogue bitey kids you get running around. Actually, it’s like being bitten and then having those jaws tear upwards incessantly.

“Pain? Pain?” Maimum says. I agree.

Eighteen cups are applied in total, as I grip the table legs. It hurts to breathe, which is awkward, as I seem to be breathing more sharply. Judging by photos I’ve seen of this treatment, my back now resembles a smorgasboard of prolapsed arses.

“How long do these stay on for?” I gasp in a conversational tone through the head hole in the table.

“Fifteen minutes,” she sympathises, tapping away on her Blackberry. I’m not going to crack and get her to pull them off early, but by god it’s tempting. “Most people cry,” Maimum adds happily. She leaves the room and I experimentally try to get up, but only succeed in squirming on the table – if there was any bag rifling going on I’d be powerless to act. All I need is a hood over my head.

After 15 minutes, Maimum pulls off each cup and the relief as each inch of my body is returned to me is so sweet that we both laugh. I’d actually pay the cupping price just for that feeling. Maimum brings me a cup of warm water (“NO coffee!”) and I beat a hasty retreat out of the spa to have a calming cigarette.

Keeper? NO.

DAY 232: Learning Indian Head Massage

20 Apr

THERE are few things as whimper-worthy as an Indian head massage (not to be confused with a Chinese head massage, as I found out to my cost), so I buy a book that’ll coach me on the matter.

After a good peruse, I dim the lights, warm some towels in front of the fire, whip Old Dog’s shirt off and settle down to give his lymphatic drainage system what for (a nice treat before Day 233: Hogtying Someone).

  1. Cradle crown with hands.
  2. Cup palms over eyes.
  3. Rotate head on its stalk.
  4. Smooth almond oil onto hair, then stroke for ages.
  5. And ages.
  6. Tap your fingers around a bit to get those lymphs going crazy.
  7. ‘Iron’ the arms. (NB: Not with actual iron.)
  8. I made some stuff up with the ears – you can just go with the flow really.

Keeper? Yes. Every time a bloke offers to massage me it turns out to be a trick, but this just shows it can be a lovely experience.

DAY 228: Bathing in minerals

16 Apr

THERE’S a particularly hoity-toity neck of my woods famed for its hot springs.

Unfortunately, they’re shut, so we wind up visiting an expensive mineral bath (read: swimming pool) that’s salty enough, but also full of chlorine.

People hang glumly on to the edge of the pool and gaze out of the water-spotted windows at the nice day outside. It’s mainly full of couples, and one couple have matching bathers on. If I ever try and make my fella come to a spa with me he has my permission to dump me.

More fun’s to be had out in the open – we have a picnic in a woodland glen and I go for a wander around the river, where strands of spider webs are hanging everywhere from the tops of the trees, right down to the ground, where they attach to my clothes.

Keeper: Mornington Peninsula hot springs are more exciting by all accounts – you even get to sit in a bucket.

DAY 150: Being silly at a tattoo convention

28 Jan

Dave pretending to study a bottle.

WHEN I ask people what the bird I’m getting inked on my arm should be holding between its feet, suggestions range from a chip, to a worm it has pecked to death, another bird’s head it won in a fight to the death, Nick Cave’s head dangled by its moustache, the same bird holding a smaller version of itself which is holding a smaller version of itself which is holding a smaller version of itself which is holding a smaller version of itself…

Thankfully, by the time I take my arm to Dave Undead, I’ve got it all sorted in my head. Custom king Dave beats off hoards of flapping fanboys with one arm to etch out a beautiful bird holding a compass that points north (since things are no longer heading south) with the other.

It’s a bit of a fiddly job, which leaves three hours to discuss how to tell just by looking who has blood that smells like cabbage, and whether or not there are any men who don’t have a problem with their girlfriends having tattoos, because an awful lot of them seem to whinge about it after a few sherries when seemingly they were cool about it.

We also talk about Hey Man, Now You’re Really Living, which is when he says I should do something epic on landmark days, and I say, well, this is Day 150, maybe you could etch a little 150 into a feather or something, and he says, well, I was thinking more like a speech bubble.

An aside: This suddenly reminds me that my friend Lindsay, on whom Dave has inked a mythical b-owl – half bat, half owl – warned me that I should watch closely if I don’t want my tattoo to end up with a little cock and balls.

Any stupid suggestion like this is like a red rag to a bull, so on goes the speech bubble. It does break the cardinal rule of getting tattooed – Don’t Get Anything That Begs A Question – something that someone with four cover-ups should know by now, but when such an urge takes you, what can you do?

“I always say I was just being silly,” Dave offers of unwanted “why did you get that?” queries.

Keeper? Yes.

DAY 135: Becoming a psycho Chiko chick

13 Jan

I’M going for my citizenship test soon, so I’m keen to immerse myself in as much Australian culture as possible – particularly since a question on this national delicacy is bound to come up in the test.

“A cheeko roll please,” I toothily bid the good man at Wanna Pizza Me on Elizabeth Street.

He scrapes a saturated cylinder off the bain marie, puts it in a little paper jacket and hands it over. I peruse it sombrely, weighing its sinister, leaden mass in my hand. The best thing to come out of Wagga Wagga since the Sturt Highway, this is, and already it reeks like yesterday’s regrets.

Together with two giant coffees, the Chiko Roll is to make up today’s breakfast… but five minutes in I’m like a kid amped up on orange squash. I make a few regrettable phone calls that should have gone well, before realising I’m so flushed with adrenalin-pumping food-rage I actually want to punch on. Cor – that’s after just three inches, imagine what the full seven would do.

I back away from my inbox and telephone for a bit, and instead have a quick Google of the snack. On eBay there’s a Chiko Roll chick sticker going for $76.

There have been some surfy, Roxy-style updates, but you can't really top this ad. The angles are poetic.

Keeper? If I’m planning on making an emphatic point I might snort one of these down first.