Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Tales from the bathhouse

Has anyone else ever been to a bathhouse?

How is that for a conversational opener?

I went Sunday evening. It has taken me until now to address this.

I went to the Schvitz. That is this bathhouse on Kenmore Avenue in Buffalo. That is a picture above of me in the sauna at the Schvitz. All those Body Sculpt classes have been paying off, is all I can say!

The deal with the Schvitz is, it is a European-style spa, which means, you do not wear clothes. I did this once before about a month ago and it was no problem, it was fun. Only women are allowed in the Schivtz on Sunday nights and when a friend of mine invited me there, I was happy because at the time it was still Lent, and here was one thing that, ta da, was not forbidden to me by the Catholic Church. So I went. And we had this nice little group of mostly women I knew and it was fun and we felt very free and hip and European.

However, Sunday.

Sunday was a different story!

First I was in the sauna and it was crowded, more crowded, I was sorry to see, than the time before that. This Russian woman yelled at me because I stepped on the edge of her towel. They do not like Germans near their borders! That is what Howard told me later.

To make things worse the sauna is full of women and you would think someone would speak up and defuse the situation, you know? Someone should have said, "Uh, Oksana, Mary did not mean it," or something like that. I am imagining the woman's name was Olga or Oksana.

But no one said anything! There was just this silence. So I apologized in what I am sure was too flip a tone. And then I lay on my towel in shame.

The next thing that happens is I hear this woman walking into the sauna and it is this woman I hate.

OK, I had just been to Mass that morning so I should not say hate. I just do not like her. She made problems for me once at work after a story I wrote and she tried to get me in trouble. It is a long story. Not only that but she is this Marxist. I just do not want to be naked with Marxists, you know? Here all I want to do is soak up the heat of this sauna and I am being yelled at by Russians and harassed by Marxists.

Furthermore the Marxist is the kind of person who says "like" twelve times in one sentence. I hate that! I would imagine that at least Karl Marx, expressing his views, spoke in correct German. And I do not think Karl Marx ever was annoying enough to go on a juice fast, which is what this woman was talking about.

So there I am lying above this hostile miserable old Russian woman and hearing this Valley Girl talk about juice fasting. All of a sudden being naked stopped being fun and it became like one of those bad dreams, where you are naked.

I just could not wait to get a towel on!

Darn, I wish Leonard Pennario were around to tell this story to. He would have loved it. He and I once had this whole conversation about times in our lives involving nudity. I do not know if it will make it into the book but it was funny and we were sitting there laughing.

Where was I? I left the sauna and decided I would do one more dunk in the pool. I do love that pool and it is fun schvimming with no clothes on. But then zut alors, the Marxist came out and got into the pool with me. She did not even smile or say hi or anything. Well, I would be crabby too if I were a Marxist on a juice fast. Anyway, as soon as I could, I got out, because I do not want to swim naked with Marxists. I just do not.

So I got out and got my clothes on and left. It was fun while it lasted but I do not think I will be back.

But I will say this, it was an experience!


Edmund said...

You are too hilarious. I am sorry you had such a miserable experience in the schvitzhouse.

Could you please define Zut Alors? It seems like a "Jeez Louise" or something like that. I'd be interested in a William Sapphire-esque blog post about it.

Larry said...

Wow! I have never been to a spa like that but after seeing the picture, well,... I always wanted to!

Your friend, Google said...

For the benefit of our American friends who will not - not necessarily can not - learn another language or perform a basic Google search, "Zut alors" can be translated as Damn, Darn or Dang among other options.

I know typing in a box takes a little more time than ordering from your car at McDonald's but maybe you could try it next time...

Mary Kunz Goldman said...

My friend, Google, thank you for your input but please do not pick on my friend Edmund! Zut alors!

Anonymous said...

This post turned me on! Zut alors!

e.parker said...

Try Niagara Naturists We are friendly and don't yell at people.