As a member of a very large, yet very private, family, I haven’t had much experience with nudity. I can remember the horror I had of “taking showers” as part of the PE program at school and even skipping school to avoid that experience. I don’t consider myself a prude, although I do admit to being a bit prudish when it comes to my own nudity. I think nudity to me has always gone hand in hand with exposure, so when I’ve had recurring nightmares about finding myself nude in some public place, it has been very unsettling. One time as teenagers, my sisters and I went “skinny dipping” in our private lake where it was only the three of us on our dock, and we removed our swim suits under the water and put them back on before we got out of the water. When my husband and I joined the YMCA so I could swim in the winter, I took my showers in the stall with a curtain, whilst other ladies seemed comfortable with the communal showers. When I raised my own children, none of us ever wandered around the house in our underwear, and certainly not nude.
This year, my beautiful daughter arranged a spa day for the two of us at a spa that is about halfway between our two houses, and I looked forward to a soothing massage, a soak in a hot tub, a visit to the sauna and steam room, and soaking up heat in the “salt room” and in the “sand room”. Two days before our mother/daughter day, she casually mentioned that the unofficial name of the spa was “The Naked Lady Spa”. Wait?? What?? That’s when anxiety set in. I even wondered if I would be the only person there with pubic hair – and honestly considered shaving. But I remembered being shaved when my children were born and the weeks of itchiness that followed that, and decided to go au natural.
I couldn’t refuse her gift – after all, I was the one who taught her to gracefully accept all gifts as to do otherwise would be to doubt the generosity of the giver.
The night before the spa day, another nude nightmare visited me. I found myself alone walking up a big staircase to a large glass double door with an older lady just in front of me struggling with the door. I opened the door for her and she went in first and took the last locker. I found an exposed hook to hang my clothes and keys and purse and stripped naked. When I opened the door and stepped into a huge pool area, I discovered about 50 people, but I was the only one naked, which immediately startled me awake. So I guess you could say I felt a little bit of trepidation when I headed out the next morning.
We walked in with about 25 other women who were waiting for the spa to open. When we checked in, they gave each of us a rubber bracelet with a key to a locker, two towels, a cotton robe, and a cotton shower cap. First step, unload shoes in cubbies just inside the front door. We padded down the hall past the many specialty rooms and into an open area with several Jacuzzis at temperatures from 60 degrees to 104 degrees, surrounded by areas with curtains and tables where “body scrubbing” sessions could be scheduled. On one side of this room we found our lockers and proceeded to undress. I was all set to put on my robe, but my daughter said, “We shower first, and then put on the hat and go in the pools.” I gamely walked naked to the shower, and then as quick as possible, joined several other naked ladies already in the hottest of the pools. It really was lovely, and by this time, there were nearly 50 women in all shapes and sizes in the pools. We moved from pool to pool and then took a towel to sit on and sat in the sauna and then the steam room. Another shower, and then back to the pools. Another shower and into the robe for relaxing in the salt room and then the sand room.
Our massages were scheduled for 10:30, so we soon moved into the lounge area to wait to be called. The massage was wonderful, and at the end, we were given a cup of jasmine tea and a chocolate. We were ready to have lunch at the Korean restaurant in the spa before heading home, so we got into our street clothes and headed to the restaurant. As we went inside, the tables were nearly full – and all of the women were wearing their robes. So it was kind of a reverse of my nude dream – being clothed in a group of naked people. After a nice lunch and a whole morning with my daughter, I realized it really was a great experience and I’m happy I allowed myself to once again be pushed outside my comfort zone.
Please feel free to offer comments! Rosemary Rains-Crawford