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“Saturday Night Spa: Undisguised“

Gone were the days of cruising through life without having to witness an old man’s bare ass strutting by. The distressing scene in Basic Instinct where Michael Douglas's backside is exposed was enough for me to handle in the last fifteen years. But times had changed. I was living in Germany.

It was Saturday morning at the summer’s end when my other half eagerly approached me with the notion of attending a spa. Needless to say, I was completely taken aback.

“It will be fun and relaxing,” she said.

“Yippee,” I said with a stern face. As if I wasn’t feeling vulnerable enough living on foreign soil, now I’d get to experience the pleasure that is the German Spa. Saunas, mineral baths, and wellness treatments are all part of the hundreds of spa resorts that can be found throughout the country. The Germans are altogether obsessed with their spas. The culture’s spa history dates back to the Roman Period, and the therapeutic benefits one can achieve from a spa visit are believed to be medicinal-like. Oh, and they’re nudists, too. I was about to find this out for myself firsthand, but it’s not like I didn’t know it already.

With the exception of a beach chair, we emptied all of our summer gear into two travel bags and rushed out the door to catch the train to Bad Homburg. On our walk over to the train station, we came across a mini-gang of thugs. At one point, the tallest of them darted towards a slow-approaching vehicle, banged his fist on the driver’s side window, and then pulled out from his jacket an object that had an uncanny resemblance to a gun. In typical gangster fashion, he simulated a holdup by pointing the object at the driver of the vehicle. My immediate reaction was “Oh shit!” followed by the thought, ‘Wait a second, this is Germany. People don’t own guns.’ I had to assume that the object was a fake and that the criminals knew the driver. No worries on my end.

My spa partner, on the other hand, was evidently stricken with fear. Stopping dead in her tracks, she softly asked, “Do you feel like going the other way?” I found the response to her trepidation interesting. As an American, I’m prone to a different type of response: a quick arm grab followed by a tumble roll to the ground while simultaneously screaming, “Let’s get the fuck out of here. Now!” would've been my reaction. But I didn’t think that that was necessary, especially in a land where pesky pickpockets are your violent criminals. Instead, we remained stationary for a few moments as the thugs continued down the street in the opposite direction.

“Wow, this looks so nice,” Kathleen remarked as our sandals hadn’t yet touched the property. Soon, we would lay our eyes upon a small bridge over a serene pond illuminated by night lamps, leading us to the Japanese-themed spa in Bad Homburg, where we had come for an intense evening of relaxation therapy.

“Yeah, cool,” I said. The tranquility of the place did have Kathleen mesmerized, so we stood outside for a few minutes before entering the facility and propping ourselves in line behind the other spa-goers.

Once inside, I became a bit overwhelmed and confused. This was my first German spa experience and there were people in beach gear, standing in line—indoors for heaven’s sake. Couldn’t they have waited—oh, I don’t know. Irrationality took over and the longer I stood there, the more I analyzed the powerful chlorine stench in the air.

Eventually, we snaked our way up to a grouchy cashier in a blinding yellow t-shirt. He handed us two small tokens, of which I was told the importance of but neglected to hear a word since my focus had shifted to the Velcro pockets on my new shorts, in exchange for our payment.

“Here, don’t lose it,” Kathleen said while handing me a token.

“Okay,” I bemusedly replied, but then shortly after tossed it in her purse (where I would later find it) while in one of the changing stalls. Too preoccupied with my belongings that were strewn everywhere, I was rapidly becoming petulant due to my loss of identity as Neat Guy.

Before I knew it, some teenager invaded my stall and started pointing at the token on the ledge behind me. So I gave it to him. I didn’t know what he was saying, or if it was even mine to begin with. Had I been listening to the lecture on the way in, however, I would’ve known that we needed the token to enter the spa facility. It was our golden key.

“Tell them we got robbed.”

“I can’t believe you,” Kathleen said.

“It’s no big deal,” I fired back. And off we went to the gatekeeper, who graciously gave us another token on loan. We’d just have to find the original one, or it would cost us.

Everything looked quite nice. I was especially impressed by the several large indoor mineral water baths; the large swimming pool that spilled into a nice, partially lit outdoor swimming pool; the two cave-like waterfalls; the several temperature-controlled hot tubs; the lounge area; and the funky spiral staircase leading to who knows where. Loads of people were swimming, relaxing, and engaging in conversation.

We wasted no time plopping ourselves into one of the mineral baths, making our swims back and forth for a while. I maintained a semi-sour look on my face since I was still a bit suspicion of the place, but after I got over myself, I started to enjoy the benefits of the spa, with the varying temperature hot tubs being my favorite.

At ten thirty in the evening we ascended the long spiral staircase. At its peak was none other than a German nudist colony, otherwise known as the sauna area. We grabbed two fresh towels by the top platform, ditched our clothes in the nearest blue locker, and assumed our best nudist demeanor.

Men and women and boys and girls were naked, wherever I tried not to look. There was even an indoor naked lounge area, which is where I happened to notice the most amount of versatility: soft conversation, beer and cocktail drinking, and book reading. The whole concept was a bit queer for an American prude like myself.

It wasn’t crowded. Everyone appeared to be on their best behavior—there was no howling or whistling or anything. I would even go so far as to label it proper conduct. Not even an accidental tap of a young lady’s butt from a stray hand, no inappropriate bodily sounds from an immature youngster, or purposeful gawking by a creepy old man. ‘What’s going on here?’ I wondered. Where I’m from, being nude is associated only with sex. None of these Germans were having sex. They were simply perfect at being naked. Still, despite my desire for any type of drama that would’ve helped to distract me from my own thoughts, I peacefully participated in the free-spirited nudity anyhow.

“Let’s try this one. Over here,” I said to Kathleen. We walked into a blistering hot sauna where a small group of naked locals met our gaze. Like a German regular, I removed my towel and plopped my bare ass on one of the benches. Everything was fine, too, once we were in there, both young and old couples alike—except, well, for the utter silence, which only invoked feelings of agitation; I didn’t expect a searing political discussion, but a faint cough or sniffle might’ve helped liven things up a bit (oddly enough, however, it’s not uncommon for Germans to consummate a business deal in the sauna).

Ultimately, I forced out a few coughs for dramatic effect and at one point found myself staring at Kathleen’s breasts because I didn’t know where else to look.

“That wasn’t so bad,” I said to her, after the two of us had spent a respectable amount of time in the nude among strangers.

“You did a good job, babe,” she said. It was her first time, as well. She would then go on, like somewhat of a spa guru, to talk about the ritualistic practices of her fellow Germans. “It’s a very natural way to relax,” she professed. And as far as there being any sexual connotation associated with it, forget about it. The Germans’ laser-like focus is on the art of wellness and therapeutic relaxation methods. Different strokes for different folks, I presumed.

Some time after that night, maybe a few weeks later, I found myself on the very topic of German spas with another auslander in Frankfurt. Filling her in on my experience with such a discerning tone that I even stared to annoy myself, it would be her response that proved more surprising than anything I had to say. In the most self-assured manner, she proudly confessed her future plans to visit the spa with her in-laws. And that’s when I gave it to her: the funny look.

As far I was concerned, some things should be held sacred. A naked spa is no place to kick back and relax with somebody else’s parents, though I suspect the Germans would wholeheartedly disagree with me on that.

September 2007 – a day that cannot be forgotten, despite my best efforts

Comments

We were new to our area and decided to head to the beach....binoculars in hand. We go birding, and the beach is definitely the place to bring the equipment.

We walked quite a ways before we started noticing a fair number of not clad individuals. Many differing ages.

Oh, some darling children are playing in the sand box....scarcely clad.

Oh, there is a volleyball game and it includes some older folks and they are all not wearing their swim outfits.

Oh?

We then spotted somebody up on the nearby bluffs- he had his spotting scope and he isn't looking at the birds.

Abruptly, a startling awareness ensued. People are sort of staring at us, and binoculars are being deployed for nefarious purposes, there on the bluffs and we realized that we'd walked into the "official" unofficial nude beach.

Sheepishly, we sort of turned around and decided not to bring the binoculars, next time.
 
We were new to our area and decided to head to the beach....binoculars in hand. We go birding, and the beach is definitely the place to bring the equipment.

We walked quite a ways before we started noticing a fair number of not clad individuals. Many differing ages.

Oh, some darling children are playing in the sand box....scarcely clad.

Oh, there is a volleyball game and it includes some older folks and they are all not wearing their swim outfits.

Oh?

We then spotted somebody up on the nearby bluffs- he had his spotting scope and he isn't looking at the birds.

Abruptly, a startling awareness ensued. People are sort of staring at us, and binoculars are being deployed for nefarious purposes, there on the bluffs and we realized that we'd walked into the "official" unofficial nude beach.

Sheepishly, we sort of turned around and decided not to bring the binoculars, next time.
Ha. Good little story, Rufous. Thanks for sharing.
 
Yes I think a lot has to do with upbringing, cultural and in-family taboos or openness. I grew up way out in the country with a very open family. It was nothing for all us kids to run around from sunup to sundown in summer wearing nothing. It was normal. We grew up that way, and so the all too common socially conditioned thoughts of nude being associated with sex was never an issue. Like Icelanders being completely open and comfortable in the nude, like Germans, but the Faroese are petrified of their bodies... and the bodies of others.
I spent my share of time on nude beaches of the tropics and Hawaii, and grew up swimming in ponds, the ocean and my grandparents pool without swimwear. I remember the first time I had to swim with a bathing suit, I thought it was the most unnatural and uncomfortable thing in the world! :lol: I recall asking why people did that to themselves! :jaw-drop:
 
well, its just a truth that the human should swim in the Birthday Suit.

Rest assured, some of us did NOT grow up with any opportunity for rational familiarity with your basic human body.

Its not a good plan, that level of prudishness. We were in for a big shock no pun intended.

Once I was an older teenager, we lived at rural swimming holes, suits optional. And the whole hippie thing was happening.

My dad told this tale of the swimming hole he'd visit, as a child outside Louisville. All boys, standard skinny dipping, suits had not even been invented.

Doing some genealogy research: I found the creek, closest to where my dad was living as a boy, and I found this picture of "the swimming hole" that is now inside a park. My aunts husband built the wall, at this park. Wow, I"d like to see this wall.

THIS IS IT! This is it, where my Dad swam.
 
well, its just a truth that the human should swim in the Birthday Suit.

Rest assured, some of us did NOT grow up with any opportunity for rational familiarity with your basic human body.

Its not a good plan, that level of prudishness. We were in for a big shock no pun intended.

Once I was an older teenager, we lived at rural swimming holes, suits optional. And the whole hippie thing was happening.

My dad told this tale of the swimming hole he'd visit, as a child outside Louisville. All boys, standard skinny dipping, suits had not even been invented.

Doing some genealogy research: I found the creek, closest to where my dad was living as a boy, and I found this picture of "the swimming hole" that is now inside a park. My aunts husband built the wall, at this park. Wow, I"d like to see this wall.

THIS IS IT! This is it, where my Dad swam.
You found it! Yay!
 
Next, I went to the very small town my Dad moved to, just up the road, via mules.

Via Google Earthing, street view- you stand there and wonder if this could be where you Grandparent once operated. And outside that town I found a park. And the park matched another of my Dad's stories.

So I decided I'd pretend to Field Trip to this park. And online I go reading about it. And it seems some city folk, well they found the park, too and went hiking. Only they turned left, instead of right and found themselves being shot at in these very woods of Kentucky.

Wow, Ok maybe I won't go visit that park....
 
well, its just a truth that the human should swim in the Birthday Suit.
:thumbsup: My first time wearing clothes while swimming was when I was 15. And its been a rare occurrence ever since, and just as uncomfortable.
Rest assured, some of us did NOT grow up with any opportunity for rational familiarity with your basic human body.
Understood. I realize that is a most unfortunate truth for many people in westernizes counties. I count myself luck for having grown up in a place and family that allowed us the natural freedom.
Doing some genealogy research: I found the creek, closest to where my dad was living as a boy, and I found this picture of "the swimming hole" that is now inside a park. My aunts husband built the wall, at this park. Wow, I"d like to see this wall.
Nice you were able to locate it after all those years :)
 
Right: "it’s not uncommon for Germans to consummate a business deal in the sauna."
For many German business people, this is how Friday evening in a spa ends a stressful week.
Unfortunately, nearly all spas are closed because of Corona.
 

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Cloudyskies
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