Naked in “Rome”

I feel guilty, like I did something wrong, but really I just had a few “when in Rome” moments at the gym.

I had heard stories about German spas–that they’re co-ed and naked–but I had shrugged these stories off as being something of myth or perhaps antiquity. My thought was that clearly I was misunderstanding something because if the spas were co-ed and naked, why would people bother wearing clothes anywhere when it’s hot outside?

At first, things seemed very American.

My French Canadian cosmic twin, Valerie, and I (never thought I’d be saying that, but there it is) were at a club much like 24-Hour Fitness, where there were the standard workout machines, aerobics rooms, and stretching areas. To my surprise, there was no shoe-changing required (in many ways, I’m still stuck in Japan).

After a short workout, Valerie and I undressed in the locker room, wrapped ourselves in towels, and proceeded through the door to the spa. Nothing seemed unusual to me until we took off our towels, stepped into the sauna, and sat down…next to a naked man.

“‘Morgen,” he said in a bored monotone.

With so many questions but a tongue tied in knots, I simply replied, “‘Morgen.”

When in Rome, indeed!

Next was the cold shower. Seriously! There was also a co-ed cold shower, which I danced through to the tune of a naked man laughing at me, and there was a co-ed naked steam room, too.

Throughout the cultural excursion, everyone was very polite, and I have to assume that I was the only one present who was not practiced at co-ed naked spa etiquette (Valerie had done it once or twice before). Here we were, two naked, well-sculpted 30-somethings, and the men around us might as well have been sitting in a sauna with two bags of pretzels. To put it politely, nobody had a “reaction.” LOL

Different but not bad

Being a bit of a nudist at heart, my experience at the spa was not troubling or embarrassing. Like I said, it left me with a bit of a feeling of guilt for hanging out naked with a bunch of strange men, but I’m sure with experience, I’ll get over that, too. I’m still left with my question, though: if we can go to the spa to hang out naked together, in the heat and humidity of summer, why not just hang out naked outside, too?

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