Well, yesterday we went to the spa over here in Christchurch. First hour for feet, second hour full body, both of us could go at the same time in the same room so we could hold hands while they did our feet, etc. It was quite fabulous. And a good price, too -- especially considering the exchange rate (yay America not sucking it up that badly!!).
There are a bunch of massage parlors over here. And not just in New Zealand -- there are more in Australia as well. And it seems way more culturally appropriate for straight guys to get massaged. Not that it's not in the states. I mean, my Uncle Patrick (with all of the wine & technology) seems like he could get away with monthly manicures and no one would think twice about it. My Dad, on the other hand, has had a professional massage only once, I believe, and, though he went into it with an open mind, it's not something he really wants to do again. Too much intimacy from to distant a stranger.
So I find the heightened cultural acceptance here interesting considering that our little world guide book states that both Australia and New Zealand require a larger sphere of personal space during casual conversations. For the record, I haven't noticed this to be true, but I've been hanging out with dancers who have no concept of personal space anyway.
Something else that's interesting is the large number of slightly shady spas over here. There is a door down a street clearly marked "Chinese Spa," but all you see is an ill-lit staircase going up. Are you running a special on happy endings? Even the awesome place we went to had a slightly shady air. But maybe that's another cultural difference.
The spa I've been to in the US had high ceilings and a grand piano and lots of light until you got in your individual little massage room. Everyone was dressed in a crisp white button down shirt and black slacks.
But that was in Plano -- a Dallas suburb. There's not that much extra space in the middle of Christchurch. Definitely no room for a grand piano lounging about the foyer. And perhaps you want dim lights and incense as soon as you walk into a spa here so you can instantly get into the relaxed mood. I dunno.
Anyhow -- next time you come out here, I totally recommend that you get a massage. The experience is always fun :)