The Sorry Tale of How I Started Using Facials as a Substitute for Real-Life Physical Contact

This story really is as sad as it sounds.

Jun 20, 2012 at 5:00pm | Leave a comment

One of the best things about sitting next to Phoebe, apart from her constant verbal narration of everything that’s happening on our Twitter stream (saves me looking), is that with her UK beauty editor hat on she gets offered lots of lovely facials and massages. Sometimes she’s FAR too busy to make those EXHAUSTING appointments, in which case she chucks them my way.

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Was it the skin on skin contact or the lovely Jurlique swag that was giving me a warm fuzzy feeling?

I think in the real world of publishing there’s a definite hierarchy when it comes to dibs on treatments, and that the editor can generally take her pick, but I’m far too lazy and disorganised to lord it over anyone, so I’m happy to take whatever crumbs she wants to throw my way.

In my guise as Phoebe’s representative on earth, I went for a facial at Sanderson Hotel courtesy of organic skincare brand Jurlique (do you have Jurlique in the States? OK, I've just checked, and you do, so I'll continue). The facial was to promote their new Herbal Recovery Gel Mask, which is ace (I’ve been using mine twice a week since and my skin looks...a bit less grey than it did before. If that’s not a resounding endorsement then I don’t know what is).

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Jurlique Herbal Recovery Antioxidant Gel Mask definitely made me look a bit less sallow than usual.

Anyway, the facial was fantastic, my skin felt amazing afterwards, and all the little bumps and blocked pores on my cheeks miraculously disappeared. But what really struck me was how great it felt to be touched.

Drag your minds out of the gutter, I don’t mean being touched LIKE THAT -- I’m not a massive massage pervert, I promise. But I have been single for a bit now, but one of the upshots of this is that unless you’ve got a bunch of overly touchy friends on hand (I don’t), you can go quite a while without being given a hug, or even being touched.

I’ve worked out that if I don’t go home to visit my parents, or see one of my closest friends, then I can easily go a month without being hugged properly by someone -- which isn’t very much, even by my not-very-tactile standards.

Incidentally, I don’t count the fake air kiss, pretend hug thing all media types do when they see each other as actual body contact, though I’m sure it’s still pretty germy.

Anyway, I emerged from my facial, complete with mini shoulder massage, with a feeling of calm and well being that wasn’t entirely down to my glowing complexion and squeaky clean pores -- I’d just got a big fat dose of skin-on-skin contact, and I’d missed it.

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Phoebe sucks it up and accepts a big fat hug, entirely against her will.

Some extensive research (10 seconds on Google), told me that hugging therapy is definitely a THING (although lots of people on the Internet seemed more concerned with debating how far they could push the physical boundaries between themselves and their therapists). Regular hugging has also been shown to cut heart disease in women by reducing blood pressure, relieve stress and remove fear.

So, my options are thus:

- Start tapping Phoebe up for more treatments, but risk being accused of Travolta-style shennanigans when I inevitably start fetishising shoulder rubs.

- Start a hug club with all my single friends, where we put aside our natural reticence and just squeeze out all those endorphins together in the pub.

- Go on Craigslist and find a hugging fetishist who’s after no-strings cuddles once a week.

- Set up an XoJane UK cuddling stand somewhere in London where you lovely lot all just line up to give me a hug. No? No-one? Tumbleweed?