We had a wonderful time during half term on holiday in Berlin. We’d had a bit of a nightmare with our dates, our original destination had been Tuscany, but when the girls secondary school decided to take their half term a week later than most other schools our holiday plans were scuppered… anyway I digress.
Ace city, thats great for kids and adults alike, more details in my travel blog, but this post is about an incident that occurred whilst staying in our hotel.
After a couple of days walking the streets, eating fantastic food and taking in the sights with the girls, myself and Jay decided that we needed a bit of a treat. Leaving the girls with a film on in the room we decided to use the facilities of our hotel. Soho House Berlin is gorgeous, really cool and full of equally gorgeous and cool folk. There is a pool on the roof and a sauna and steam room in the basement. It was pretty artic outside so proper use of the pool was out, instead we headed to the basement for some heat.
Greeted by the smiley receptionist he showed us where everything was, lockers, relaxation room and the doorway to the spa. We got changed out of our clothes, put our swimmers on and entered the wooden double doors. It was a huge area, the first part is a warm relaxation area with a large tiled seating bench the length of it. There were a couple of open showers on the right hand side, a water fountain in the middle and then two glass doors leading to the sauna and the steam. So far, so good.
Then, as we stood taking in our surroundings the glass sauna door open and out walked a young gentlemen… completely naked. As in no clothes. Naked. Willy out. NAKED. My jaw dropped on the floor. Turning to Jason I saw that his jaw had joined mine. We scooped them up and slowly sat down on the bench. Now I know that it shouldn’t be that shocking but to be honest its been a very very long time since I saw another man’s willy in the flesh. And there was a lot of flesh. This young, confident, attractive man very casually took himself to the open shower, turned it on, rinsed himself off, picked up the towel he must have left there earlier, dried himself off, put it back on a nearby hook and entered the steam room still naked. I was hilariously shocked. It was very, very quiet and therefore impossible to say to Jay “HE’S NAKED! What the off is going on? ” and nobody else seemed to be perturbed by the naked showering man. Then, as I took a closer look at the few other people around us, I saw there wasn’t a swim suit among them! Some were lying down on the bench with a towel covering their privates, but in some cases no towel at all. And it wasn’t just the men. On closer inspection through the steam room glass there was a lady lying on her back with her knees up, chatting away to a friend, with a clear view, for us on the other side of the glass, between her legs.
At this point I completely lost it. It was already hot, obviously, but the situation made my body temperature rise another couple of thousand of degrees. I was wearing my swimsuit, wrapped in towel, with a dressing gown, to complete my very British spa outfit. This it turns out in a German spa is completely overdressed. I have never felt so uncomfortable with my clothes ON in my my life. I laid down so that I no longer had any naked strangers in my eye-line and to give myself a moment to get together…. and thats when the laughter started. You know that horrific, corpsing laughing? The one that hurts and shakes your entire body, the more you try to stop that more intense it becomes. The more I thought about this ridiculous situation I was in the harder the laughing began and there I needed to hide it. I was soooooo embarrassed. My legs were resting on Jason and he could feel the vibrations, but he was refusing to catch my eye, knowing that if he did he would also dissolve into a pool of laughter. But then the intensity of the laughing got so bad that my body decided to completely betray me and began to release all the wind that I had stored up with the awful laughing. In this quiet, echoey naked tiled room I let out the loudest, longest fart of my life.
What is strange is that I was relieved, because at least it gave me something other than the nudity to laugh at.
So what to do now?
The more we sat there, the more people entered and exited the sauna and steams and the more we realised that we were the freaks. So a decision had to made. Do we leave and never speak of this moment again? Or do we join them. 5 mins of frantic whispering later we decided that we were going to be brave and free and see what all the fuss was about. If they didn’t care, then we wouldn’t.
The fact that this was clearly an everyday experience for the Germans made us feel there must be something in it. I was the first to go back to the changing area to remove my swimmers, followed by Jason two minutes later. We then sat wrapped in towels plucking up the courage to drop them, shower and then enter the steamy box. J was the bravest, he went first, and I was in awe as he rinsed himself off then opened the door with his gorgeous little butt out. I gave myself a massive talking to, and I joined him. I honestly feel it was one of the bravest things I’ve ever done!!!! I know it wasn’t jumping off a cliff, or out of a plane or anything but for me, it was a personal triumph.
Did it feel any different to sit with a bunch of strangers in a confined space and fully experience the heat on every part of my body? No it bloody didn’t. I hated it!!! I felt vulnerable and uncomfortable. Ha!!! But I did it. I don’t think I’ll do it again though. I’m really happy wearing a swimming costume, and I don’t feel the need to see everybody else bits and pieces. For me, mine and my husbands body’s are private, just for us. If that makes me a prude I’ll take it, I’ll wear the prude badge with pride. Jay on the other hand loved it and wanted to get back in there as soon as possible. Go figure.