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And for dessert ... 

Our writer's Peruvian chocolate massage proves less naughty than it sounds, but just as soothing

Day Spa

Matéos Salon & Day Spa (5919 Delmonico Drive, 266-9295, mateosdayspa.com)

Being the James Bonds of the real world, reporters dutifully perform almost any task assigned to them.

Personally, I have been lowered into manholes; willingly entered jails, prisons and near-riot situations; endured hate mail and crazy editors; and sat through board meetings that lasted into the wee hours o' the morn.

So when my managing editor sent me an e-mail referencing a "special assignment," I marched over to his desk, wincing only slightly, and bravely said, "Jesus, it's not too crazy is it?"

"Um," he said.

In the painful silence I imagined the worst: rivers of raw sewage, dead bodies, Arizona sheriffs.

He interrupted my terrifying mental montage. "We need you to go to this day spa, Matéos," he said, sounding slightly embarrassed, "to get a Peruvian chocolate massage."

Oh. My. God. Obviously, my ship had finally come in, and it was loaded with goodies and men in tight shirts.

The next few days gave me plenty of time to imagine the treat that awaited me: The way my long-haired Fabio pool boy would use the knuckles of his big hands to loosen my shoulder blades. The way we would both be covered in delicious chocolate syrup and whipped cream.

Of course, being a married woman who does not ordinarily engage in dessert-topping shenanigans with strange dudes, I found this vision was laced with guilt. Eventually, I confessed the assignment to my husband.

Without the slightest tinge of jealously, he stared at me blankly before asking, "Is the massage Peruvian, or is the chocolate Peruvian?"

Where's Fabio?

Escaping the office for my little rendezvous proved harder than planned, and I was slightly late pulling up to Matéos Salon and Day Spa, in Rockrimmon. The nice ladies at the desk didn't scold me; instead, I was led into a dimly lit back room where a robe-clad customer was snuggled into the comfy furniture. She was staring post-orgasmically at the ceiling, which was covered in wood lattice and a tangle of vines.

Though my conscious mind was aware that I was in a strip mall on a bright fall day, my subconscious was instantly convinced that I had entered the pleasure center of some ancient Italian country estate in the middle of the night.

All was going as planned until I met my masseuse Susan, who was lovely and friendly, but not male, or shirtless, or bearing Reddi-wip. Susan led me down the tiled hallways, pointing out all the features along the way: the salon, the pedicure room, the showers, the dry sauna and the couples massage room — currently in use. Tee-hee.

Our private room was lit only by candles and a lamp with a wicker shade that cast basket-weave shadows on the brown and mauve walls. Antique-looking sturdy oak furniture surrounded the massage table. A gurgling fountain and soft music intoned in the background.

Susan pulled back the soft beige bedding, and told me to put my clothes and belongings in a bag the spa provides. I undressed and tucked myself in.

Scrubbed and polished

In truth, getting a naked scrub-down is a little more relaxing if you don't have to worry about a photographer shooting your ass crack. (Yet another one of those Bond moments.)

However, even with our photographer lurking, Susan's vigorous application of the Bella Luccè Peruvian Chocolate Sugar Scrub — made with Dagoba fair-trade cocoa — was quite an experience. The scrub smells a little of chocolate, but with more buttery and vanilla undertones. Susan says it reminds her of a Tootsie Roll.

The scrub is clear with big grains in it, and in no way resembles chocolate syrup. Nor is it edible. It is, however, exfoliating.

Word to the wise: If you have super-sensitive skin, this may not be the treatment for you. In my case, I had to ask Susan to go easy on me. Praise god, she obliged.

When my scrub was complete, Susan left me a robe to change into, then led me down the hall to the shower, where the water was warm and waiting. Free of every last dead skin cell, my skin felt phenomenal.

Susan met me at the door and led me back to my room, where she pulled out the warmed, chocolate-scented cream for my massage. I had to remind myself not to drool as she worked it into my skin.

On the edge of consciousness, I asked Susan why Matéos offers a chocolate massage. She told me the spa has been around for a decade and decided to go into food-based massages just to keep things interesting. It also offers a lavender massage and a Tuscan wine antioxidant massage. But, you know, she says, there's something special about chocolate.

"I think it's just that women are drawn to chocolate," she said.

"Mmm-hmm."

"By the way," I asked her, as she prepared to lead me out of the spa's tranquil night and into the glaring light and traffic of a Colorado Springs afternoon, "Is the massage Peruvian, or is the chocolate Peruvian?"

It's the chocolate, of course.

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