Completed: 14. Go to Spa World
Shortly after we announced our 2015 bucket list, I received this video from a friend. In it, Conan O’Brian visits a Korean spa. You should definitely watch it so you have a better understanding of this blog.
For those who are unaware of Spa World — I was also ignorant until last year — it is America’s largest Asian-style spa resort, according to their website. However, their website also says they’re 15 minutes from Washington D.C. Ladies and gentlemen and that’s just a plain lie. It’s about 30 minutes away. Stop with the fibs, Spa World.
Fortunately for me, because I live 30 miles outside of D.C., it truly is only 15 minutes away from me.
I entered the establishment, paid the $40 entry fee, then the nice guys behind the desk gave me my locker, instructed me to take my shoes off, and handed me my uniform.
Off I went to the ladies locker room. Despite my trip to the nude beach on my birthday in August, there was slight discomfort at the idea of being nude in front of others again. Slight, though. That’s major progress.
I stripped, put on my canvas uni, poked my head into the ladies pool/sauna where one cannot enter if clothed, realized I wasn’t ready for that just yet, then went to the uni-sex, fully clothed poultice rooms.
I didn’t know what I was doing, so I tried to take my cues from the others. Except for the woman who continuously and loudly burped in the first room I entered. I did not try to follow her cues. Nor the couple holding hands in the 150-degree room. What is wrong with you?
Each room has various medical benefits — circulation, blood pressure, metabolism, etc. I worked my way from the hottest to coldest. After a few minutes laying down in each room, I exited, drank some water, then entered the next one.
You can see the common area from inside each room. Kids were frolicking, adults were sleeping on the ground, and some were eating.
After I made my way through each room, I headed back to the segregated female pool/sauna.
There were about 30 women in the pool area. None of the other naked patrons batted an eye at me. Unlike the beach, which was more male populated than female, I spent a lot of time looking at the other ladies’ bodies. Real bodies, not the airbrushed hairless, cellulite-free bodies you see in magazines. My mind is so warped from perfection propaganda that it is so refreshing when you actually see normal women. Big boobs, small boobs, long nipples, some ladies with pubic hair, some with landing strips, fat rolls, flat stomachs, potbellies, stretch marks, and smooth skin. It was wonderful to see all of these women comfortable enough to get naked in front of strangers.
After what sounds like me creepily staring at the naked women for a good amount of time, I made my way to the various water fountains, massage streams, and hot/cold pools. I went into the steam sauna and dry sauna. Finally, after about 45 minutes, I laid underneath the infrared relaxation beams (have no idea what these are). This was when I noticed a sign that said “scrub area. do not enter unless allowed.” or something like that. I was intrigued.
A few spa goers were lined up near that sign and a few older women in sheer black bras and underwear greeted them, then took them behind the concrete wall to a table. I watched for a bit, then realized this is the infamous scrub down (seriously, watch the Conan video). I watched for a little bit while the masseuses aggressively scrubbed these nude women down, with what looked like, a Brillo pad glove. Leg up in the air. Scrub scrub. Legs open. Scrub scrub. Yes, apparently they even scrub inside lady parts. Flip over. Scrub scrub.
I wanted to get my own scrub, but then I realized I have a huge gash on my knee from falling while coming up the steps last week. The thought of getting this painful, fresh wound scraped off made me nauseous and I didn’t want to ask them to go gently on me. I guess I just have to go back and get scrubbed. Check out this really hilarious blog post about what happens during one of these painful scrubs.
After about two hours immersed in this world of spa, I was ready to go home. I literally didn’t have the energy to do anything except for bake an apple and watch Psycho that afternoon. I fell asleep at about 8:30 p.m.
I’m proud to say that I’ve once again dealt with my body issues and have completed my last nude goal of the year in an effort to become more comfortable being naked in front of others. I’m feeling good, bros.
I encourage you to go and experience for yourself. You will feel as relaxed as these drowning turtles that adorn Spa World’s walls. Don’t I look relaxed?
*I cannot write this blog post without mentioning some recent controversies as it relates to Spa World that I read after my visit. Like that time they were accused of slavery and that time they kicked out a transgender woman who claimed discrimination.