Saturday, 26 March 2011

Fish Food, and Gender Re-assignment Shopping

Last week, I went to have my back waxed at the local beauty clinic/shop. As the hair was being ripped from my skin via gaffer tape dipped in hot honey (that's what it felt like), I noticed what appeared to be a very poorly equipped fish tank in the room. When I enquired as to why there were bored looking fish in tanks with nothing else in it -  no plants, pebbles, plastic divers, and not even one of these chests that open and close.
Laughing, the torturer - sorry 'assistant' - savagely ripped off a strip of skin with hair attached, and told me that they were tropical fish on display, they were the latest therapy treatment. They are called Garra Fish, and they eat the dead skin off your feet. I must admit, I was intrigued.

So intrigued in fact, that I went back this morning to try out the fish that eat your feet. Unfortunately, I was only able to have one foot treated, as there is strict rules about blisters, verrucas, and wounds etc. and I had managed to rip the nail off my little toe the night before. Nonetheless, I had my right foot washed, I rolled up my trouser leg, and I sat with my foot hovering above the waiting fish in the tank below.

The assistant told me that the fish don't just feed on the dead skin of the feet, they get fed 'normal' fish food every day. However, I'm not sure if anyone had told the fish that. From the moment my foot was revealed, the fish rushed up to the glass in the tank and followed my foot as I walked around and then took my seat. Then as I held my foot inches above the water, they milled about at the surface expectantly. To be honest, their eagerness was a little unsettling to say the least.

And then the moment came for me to lower my foot into the water. As I did, these little fish (I say little - they vary in size between say, the size of your little finger to the size of your index finger) swarmed all over my foot - in exactly the same way you see Piranha swarm on all those nature programmes. Initially, it was a very weird feeling. The best way to describe it is like when you start to get pins and needles. I'm very tickly on, around, and under my feet so for the first thirty seconds I was sat there with my face screwed up and my fists clenched as I tried to bear the incessant tickling of thirty or forty fish all over my foot. The treatment lasts for fifteen minutes - you can have a thirty minute treatment, but I erred on the side of caution for my first experience. After a couple of minutes, I got used to the sensation and then spent the rest of the time mesmerised by these fish merrily sweeping over every inch of my foot.

The treatment is doubly therapeutic: Firstly, the fish eat the dead skin off your feet, leaving them feeling softer, cleaner and healthier. Secondly, sitting there watching these fish work is very relaxing and calming. As I sat there spreading my toes so the fish could get to the skin in between, I couldn't help but think of the cleaner fish that escort sharks and larger sea going creatures, and I did feel a kind of kin ship. I could quite easily have watched them all day - though what state my feet would be in at the end of a twenty-four hour fish nibbling session, I leave to your imagination.

All too soon, the time was up. I was told to very slowly lift my foot out of the water, because (and I quote) "the fish are so engrossed in eating the dead skin, they forget to let go". And true enough as I slowly removed my foot from the water, one by one the fish suddenly dropped off. it was as if they were each going "mmm....(chomp)...tasty skin to eat.....(chew).....(chomp)......oh heck! I can't breathe!".

Even though they had just been munching on my tootsies for the past quarter of an hour, the greedy little buggers still watched my every move as I put my sock and trainer on!. Maybe thirty minutes would satisfy them. I doubt it somehow.....

I will definitely be going back again to have it done. And I highly recommend it to all of you.

Sometimes, the phrase "You couldn't make it up" springs to mind. it sprang to mind today, when I received my new Tesco Clubcard. I decided that it was about time I got one, as I do my main food shop there and would use the vouchers. So I registered online and waited for my card to arrive.

Now, I have registered for many things online in my time, and know how to fill out my personal information correctly. I am a Mr, I have always been a Mr - it's the first thing I check when completing information online. It's also the first thing I check when I get up in the morning - but that's another story. So you can imagine how pleased I was to find that the name on the envelope containing my Clubcard, AND the name embossed on the clubcard it self read "Mrs Larry Lagrue". I was not a happy bunny.

In fact, you know the Tesco's spices in those jars which have the first letter of the spice really big on the front of the jar? Next time I go in there, I'm going too rearrange the display until it says something really rude.

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