"I don't believe I have an appointment," I say, arriving home to find myself whisked upstairs to the room that used to be my bedroom and which was now a full-service salon. Whatever plans I had for the afternoon do not concern them.
They have rearranged furniture, carried plastic bins of steaming hot water up the stairs and are fully in character. "I wonder if I should just change into some old clothes?" I say, spying a mixing bowl full of something that looks like oily oatmeal.
"It will be fine," the little one says sharply. "Lie down."
There is nothing to do but comply. My shoulders, hands, feet and bedspread are massaged with ginger-scented lotion. An "anti-aging" paste that smells like bananas - but which also contains honey, sugar and lemon - is applied to my face and two or three inches into my hairline with a basting brush. A cloth soaked in hot water goes on top.
For two or three minutes, I breathe nothing but banana paste and carbon dioxide. A separator is forcefully wedged between my toes. My cuticles are attacked with a sharpened stick. I cry out only once, when a bottle of nail polish tips sidewise on my bed. It is blood red. I tell them nothing.
Later, they bring me a New Yorker and a glass of wine. I know I look years younger, or at least softened up, because this is when they choose to reveal the price of all this pampering.
"It would be nice," the tall one says, "if we could get pedicures." The little one agrees. "You could take us to the spa!" she says, as if the idea has just occurred to her.
But I was not born yesterday. I just have really good skin.