Once upon a time, some man in Berkeley made a fortune and built a hot tub in his backyard. Not wanting to keep it to himself, he and his wife decided to share it with everyone. If you wrote to this man, he would give you a code to his back gate and you could go and use the hot tub anytime, day or night, except on Mondays, when it was cleaned. The hot tub could seat about 10 people, and it was very very hot (like 113 degrees). Men could only go if they were the guest of a woman. And you had to be naked, since detergents from your bathing suit could contaminate the water. Everyone had her own code, instead of just using the same one, so if someone gave her code out to too many people, or if some creepy guy got a code, the man could disable it. When people asked the man for donations, he just said "if some people gave, then others would feel like they had to, and it's not what it's about." His backyard was very dark, and since the hot tub was so hot, there were several platforms where people could sit or do yoga in between soaks. Because he had neighbors, everyone had to be completely silent from the time they walked in the gate to the time they left.
If you don't live in the Bay Area, you probably think this guy is a creep. But I know better, because I went there last night.
My inner Pollyanna was a nervous about being naked in front of men. I've been to Osento, the women's only naked spa in San Francisco, but I was sure that there would be some dude there checking out my boobs and I'd feel disgusted. Or I thought there'd be nothing but hot hippy girls and I'd be embarassed, but I was wrong. It was just a bunch of people and we were all naked and nobody had a boner. Plus, there were old and fat people, which makes everyone happy. Cause when there's some pudgy middle-aged guy standing naked in the changing room with you and he's both perfectly comfortable with himself and not looking at your tits, then something good is happening here.
Last night there was a woman off in the corner doing leg lifts. I thought there was a dog beside her, but it was hard to see. Then, it climbed a tree and we could see that it was a giant racoon!! It was bigger than my giant Maine Coon cat, with a big fat raccoon head and tail. Plus, it was NOT AFRAID OF PEOPLE. It started chasing the lady in the corner doing leg lifts. She got away (she didn't even scream, she was silent and she wasn't scared), but we all got back into the water. I felt like we were a bunch of nymphs in the river with the wild animals around us. It was so dark.
When I came home, I felt so blissed out. My friend Stephanie told me I would feel like I was drunk. I suspect they put drugs in the water, which I fully support*. I kept petting my cat and thinking, "he's SOOOO beautiful" and "I can't believe he's ALIVE!"
So I guess I've crossed over to the other side, to hippy-land, with naked hot tubs and reveling in my cat's existence. I like it over here, but a full conversion could never happen: I like Paris Hilton and cigarettes and a good dose of cynicism. But it's all about balance, right?
*This is a joke, just in case you didn't get that.