Hands on. Hands off.

The hotel where I spent the night in Ischia had spa facilities, a term which is not defined universally. In Europe, I’ve learned, it generally means an array of water and steam baths and showers and a generally low key attitude. 

The view from my balcony

I appreciate that definition because I enjoy moving from shower to pool to steam to shower to steam in the slightly echoey quiet. Hotel spas aren’t necessarily fancy but, in my experience, they’re clean, well maintained and moodily lit.

Generally, that’s all I need, or even want.

But, my travel fund is a little flush these days after canceling so many trips and get aways. A massage seemed the perfect indulgence – and not even an outrageous one at approximately $70 for an hour.

In this time of Covid, the hotel’s spa is only opened by appointment to limit the number of users. When I checked in, I booked two 45 minute spa blocks, with my second one scheduled for between breakfast and 10:30 checkout.  

When I was finished steaming and soaking, I approached the attendant about a massage. She offered a menu of services and I selected an hour long aromatherapy massage. She had availability in 15 minutes and I filled the time by requesting a late check out and readying my room for departure.

The massage therapist was very capable and made me comfortable on the table in the paper panties which had been provided to me. The only other occasion(s) in my life when I’d worn disposable underwear was after delivering babies. 

This experience was, overall, much more pleasant.  

The warm, rose scented oil was used to draw streaks upon my body, which were then distributed with firm, yet gentle strokes. The fragrance was not subtle, but it also was not fake or manufactured. It was the purest, sweetest rose scent you could imagine.

She missed very little of my skin and, quite frankly, I smelled fantastic. I couldn’t bear to rinse it off to get dressed and I was delighted anew each time I caught a whiff of myself.

Post massage, I quickly vacated my room before beginning my walk to the ferry to depart Ischia. As I rounded a corner, I paused and peeped a quick look at my map. I didn’t have to rush, but I didn’t have time to go astray either.

That’s when Giorgio appeared. He and his suave charm were initially flattering, but I quickly realized I needed to make my excuses and continue my walk to the port to catch my ferry. In the few moments we spoke, though, he proposed that I remain on the island and go to lunch with him. I declined graciously. 

He took my hand and reiterated that I should not leave Ischia, but instead should spend the day with him. “No, thank you, Giorgio. Ciao, ciao!”

A few minutes later, I heard my name as a BMW sedan idled on the street next to me. Giorgio. I waved and kept walking and he drove on only to park his car a few yards ahead of me.

He got out of the car and again shared that he had an entire program for us on this beautiful day – lunch…a drive around the island in his car…Before he could continue with his imaginary, itemized agenda for the day, I said “No” again, maybe a little louder, and with a last “Ciao!,” kept walking.

I’m pretty comfortable rebuking the attentions of someone I’m not interested in or who makes me feel uncomfortable. Giorgio, honestly, took a bit more effort to shake then I like to exert. I felt a little threatened by his pursuit. I wondered if there are women in this world who would take Giorgio up on his offer and recognized that, whatever adventures he might offer, I’m simply not interested.

A woman traveling alone should freely choose who gets to touch her – and unless you’re licensed and offering warm, rose scented oil, it’s a hands off situation. Ciao, Giorgio.

2 thoughts on “Hands on. Hands off.

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