So I'm sitting in my huge leather beanbag, alone in the Cooperdome, and the BlackBerry tinkles. It's Ben - his company has taken over some debt-busted metrosexual male-grooming establishment, and he's offering me a free day out with him, getting pampered.
I'm not really into self-grooming, but Ben says that this is the place where Diddy sometimes goes when he's in town, and it's awesome. Who am I to say no? He cruises up 30 minutes later in his new Bentley, and we zoom off to the West End with Abba's "Money, Money, Money" pumping on the stereo - SO Ben.
When we get there, it's cool, very understated. You wouldn't have a clue that it was there from the street - there's just a huge oak door and a single bell and video screen. Ben rings and is let in straight away, and we enter into this incredible domed, atrium-type room where this seriously hot Russian chick is babing reception. She takes us up to this leather, plasma, bar-type room where we get a drink and Ben tells me that he's ordered the full works.
Normally, I hate spas, even ones as posh as this. They're always full of ugly chicks spending our money, whereas the fit ones don't have time for this stuff. I look at the price list as the only other thing to read is a whole rack of magazines about spas round the world, and some crappy magazine about holistic shit. I nearly faint. A facial, that is basically someone cleaning your face, costs £400. Massages start at £500, and there's a full-day thing that comes in at a cool two grand. However much I hate spas, at these prices, it has got to be good, so I give in and go with the flow.
Big mistake. I start with a de-stress massage. I'm given some ugly sandals to wear and taken into the "special" room where annoying shit music is playing. Everything is very white and clean - it's a fetishist's heaven. The woman who is going to "do" me seems to be French and is called Delphine. She starts lighting candles and tells me to go into the changing room. I get in there to find a thick robe that's too small for me, and a pair of black, paperish panty/thongs that I'm supposed to wear under the tight robe. I start to wonder whether Diddy really goes through this kind of shit when he comes to London. If so, no wonder he keeps changing his name, as it's seriously embarrassing.
So anyway, I come out of the booth and Delphine is waiting. She holds up a towel so that she can't see me and then asks me to take off my robe and lie face down on the fancy bed. Now, I'm going to come clean here, it's not been unknown for the Coop to pay for the "services" of a lady, and I've always had a ball (as have they). This situation, however, is somehow totally more weird and embarrassing. Maybe it's because I'm not allowed my own choice of underwear, or maybe it's a control thing, but in here, Delphine is calling the shots and I'm paying for the pleasure. It's weird. I lie on the bed and she starts massaging and, within, three minutes, I've got a huge boner. I try to think unsexy thoughts as I know that it's only a matter of time before she flips me over. For some reason, I think of fish but I'm still flying proud. Then I think about Hugo naked, last week in Cornwall, but worryingly, the mast is still sturdy.
I start to panic and I'm sweating and seriously stressed. Delphine is whispering, "Relax, relax", as she's cracking my upper arms, blissfully unaware of the commotion below decks. Whatever I think about just makes things worse. I'm a ball of uncomfortableness.
Finally, she raises the towel and asks me to turn over. I do so and the towel descends but there's a huge wigwam effect going on and I don't dare look. Delphine ignores the situation, but I'm now wondering whether I should ask her if she does "extras" as I've got serious ball-ache. When the whole thing is finished, she tells me to lie still for two minutes to relax, and then get dressed. She leaves the room and I'm up off the bed before the door slams. I'm so stressed, horny and embarrassed, and I'd normally have to pay two grand for this privilege. I get my clothes on and make for the door.
When I come out, Delphine is talking to two other chicks in white coats, and I try to look chilled as I search for Ben. I finally see him in the far corner having a peppermint tea. He's looking totally pleased with himself. Turns out that his chick did do "extras", and he's now calm and serene. That's probably the one Diddy sees. Someone needs to tell me the rules about these things.
I spend the rest of the day having my cuticles tweaked and my chakras re-adjusted, but it all does nothing for me and I feel very flat and depressed. Give me a huge pub-crawl and an "all back to mine" at Hugh Grant's any day. Grant, by the way, has now finally called me back - he was away filming - and we are getting together next week as I have been invited to some do at Matthew Freud's house. He is a serious player and there should be some top A-listers there for the Coop to scoop. Might even get rid of the ball-ache somewhere, you never know. Cooper out.