November 28, 2007
Thoughts While at the Spa
[Posted by Crabby]
Recently, as part of an anniversary celebration, Crabby and the Lobster treated themselves to a massage. Rather than go the to the cheap place down the street as they usually do, the Crustacean Couple decided to splurge and went to the Fancy Schmancy Spa instead.
The exorbitantly priced massage included the use of the spa facilities, plus unlimited cups of weak tea and cucumber water. Even aside from the massage, it was quite a treat. There were hot tubs, and cold tubs, and saunas, and strange showers with water jets at all different heights and angles that pounded the Crab in places she'd never been pounded before!
Relaxing? Well, strangely enough--yes!
Anyway, the spa facilities were segregated by gender. (Supposedly, guys go to the spa too, though Crabby is skeptical about this. Perhaps there are no tubs or saunas behind their doorway, and instead their space is filled with big screen tv's and beer and snack bars and racks of girly magazines and video game kiosks. Just a theory).
But the women's side of the spa does indeed exist, and since it's women-only, it's assumed you won't be wearing a bathing suit. You could--but almost no one does, and if you did you'd still have to put it on in the communal locker room where everyone else is getting dressed too.
So, as is true in many spas and gym locker rooms, you end up sharing space and lounging around with strangers while wearing no clothes at all.
Crabby has to ask: does anyone else find this weird?
Not necessarily bad-weird. Just weird-weird.
Maybe what feels weird about it is that our culture is generally so screwed-up when it comes to nudity. We treat the naked human body as if it is (a) incredibly powerful and dangerous; but simultaneously (b) ridiculous and comic and humiliating. Truly, what's a common Worst Nightmare scenario? To somehow be caught naked out in public. It can't get anymore embarrassing than that!
Yet somehow, if you declare an area "men only" or "women only," all this psychological baggage is supposed to magically disappear. Strangers are only supposed to feel 'strange' if they are of the opposite sex.
Crabby actually doesn't mind being naked in these situations anymore, but as a younger person she hate-hate-hated public locker rooms. At some point in college she got over it, who knows why, and now, in a certain mood, she can even enjoy it. There can be something curiously liberating about not wearing clothes in a semi-public place--like you're getting away with something extremely naughty that would ordinarily land you in jail! (Hmm... actually, come to think of it, you are getting away with something that would normally land you in jail).
However, it seems likely that at least a few people might not feel all that comfortable being naked in front of others. It seems odd that even in the most upscale locker rooms and spas, there often aren't many concessions to privacy. Would it hurt to have a few more curtains, changing rooms, and shower doors that close for people who are shy? Just wondering.
But aside from the weirdness of it, there is also something quite affirming about being around a bunch of women in an entirely natural state. For one, it totally exposes what a Big Fat Lie prime-time television is. Because guess what? Real women may sometimes look desperate, but we don't look at all like Desperate Housewives.
Real women not only have curves, we have wrinkles and scars and cellulite! We have ample bellies and sagging boobs and droopy asses. We have wide hips and knobby knees and hair where we shouldn't. We have pairs of body parts that are not symmetrical; we have birthmarks and warts and stretch marks and all kinds of stuff you never see on TV. (Unless of course it's "reality" TV and then the whole point of the show is to have an expert or a surgeon step in and "fix" it).
It's funny, though, the way so many of us women evaluate our appearance not by looking around at the real women nearby. Instead, we look at the air-brushed pictures of actresses in magazines, with teams of trainers, surgeons, and stylists at their disposal. We look and we sigh--why can't we be like them?
Why can't we? Because those pictures--and those women--they aren't real!
The versions we see are just as fictional as the movies and tv shows that make these people famous.
So here's to real, healthy, three-dimensional women. Naked or not!