I didn’t grow up in a naked house.
Sure, I preferred swimming nude in my plastic pool until I was a little too old for that kind of thing, but I grew up in North Dakota – where most people aren’t ever naked because they would freeze to death.
Living in Los Angeles, I have become much more comfortable with nudity. After all, I am a big city lady now. I have seen a homeless man try to light his own hair on fire. A little casual nudity doesn’t faze me. So when a few of my friends invited me to the Korean Spa, I enthusiastically agreed.
When we arrived I was feeling good. I enjoyed the unisex level of the spa (where clothes were required). The saunas were relaxing and there were warm mats on the floor for nap taking. But when my friends and I headed down to the “Women Only” level I started to feel a bit nervous.
Maybe I can’t do this. Maybe I overestimated myself. Maybe if I’m really quiet no one will notice I left. But I forced all of that doubt away, took a deep breath and stripped off my clothes. I quickly reached for the towel the spa provided to cover myself.
It was a hand towel.
I stood there for a second à la Sophie’s Choice trying to decide which piece of naked I most wanted to cover. Well…f**k it, I thought and jauntily threw my towel over my shoulder. I walked those thirty feet to the spa entrance with my head held high. But when I pushed the door open to the hot pool area and every woman in the water turned to look at me I stopped short.
There were a lot of women in that hot tub. I took another breath. I could do this. I hadn’t taken that ‘Women In Theatre’ class in college for nothing. Women’s bodies were glorious and nothing to be ashamed of (is what my teacher had said). These ladies were my sisters – my beautiful, naked sisters. I was proud to be a woman! Proud to be a woman in a hot tub with six naked, elderly Korean ladies and two of their grandchildren.
I splashed into the hot tub and the women nodded their hellos. No big deal. This was a perfectly normal social setting. The woman next to me had areolas the size of dinner plates but NO. BIG. DEAL. I was doing it. Even better, I had decided to sign up for the ‘Body Buff’ which I assumed was a relaxing, moisturizing massage treatment and very soon they called my name. I said goodbye to my new Korean sisters and headed for my massage.
I was feeling good. Confident. This group naked thing wasn’t so bad.
My ‘masseuse’ greeted me and I immediately knew this was not going to be what I expected. She was wearing lacy black underwear, a lacy black bra and a pearl necklace. She was also about sixty-years old. She led me to a room where multiple massage tables were set up next to each other. My masseuse patted a massage table and took my hand towel. I glanced around the room. It wasn’t the most private setting. There was a nude woman less than a foot from me and my table was closest to the main walkway. But I had come this far. I wouldn’t turn back now. I took another breath and hopped up on to the table. My masseuse pulled on rough looking exfoliating gloves and got to work.