I was on my way to the spa when I halted on the sunny sidewalk to grope around the inside of my canvas rucksack. I confirmed that my fear was warranted. I had forgotten my optional clothing.
Never before would I have called this buns-out little number a modest garment. However, when you’re wearing a bikini at a clothing optional spa, you’re pretty much wearing a nun’s habit.
Why partake in a clothing optional spa if you’re uncomfortable with being naked? Great question.
For selfish reasons…I wanted to use the spa facilities, a sauna and a soaking pool, that I knew would rock my wellness world—especially when combined with a 60-minute deep tissue massage. Aaaah.
After collecting my optional clothing, I sorta forgot I was heading to a “naked spa.” During my newbie tour, I was quickly reminded of my bare ass surroundings while receiving instructions for securing personal belongings in the co-ed locker room. In walked a man from the soaking pool, diplomatically covering his bits with the rented spa towel.
I admired the locker room wall with a sudden burst of energy, much the way I would behave after sighting a gorgeous pair of shoes on a display shelf. Avoidance seemed like the right thing to do, but I couldn’t exactly pull off the “act natural” thing this way. So, I focused past any naked people as if I was searching for my exit sign on the freeway.
There we go. That seems way more natural, Britt. Nice work.
My eyes widened. What if I ran into someone I knew here? A client? A friend’s husband? A former boss?
A good friend of mine went to a clothing optional spa with her boyfriend once. They’re comfortable with the whole naked thing, so they opted out of the clothing option. So did her boyfriend’s boss.
That was the first time my friend met her boyfriend’s boss. Although she isn’t the kind you can make blush, she was mortified they were all shaking hands, buck naked.
These things happen. Still, I prayed to be surrounded by naked strangers, something I can’t recall ever praying for until that fateful moment.
When I spotted the doors on the bathroom (that locked!), I wondered if it was all a mirage. I turned the handle, dashed inside, locked the door, and took a moment to catch my breath with my back against the door.
In record time, I changed into my nun’s habit bikini and wrapped my crusty orange towel around my body to serve as my introverted shield. I hurried into the safety of the soaking pool and had the place to myself for approximately two minutes. Until a boisterous naked couple barreled out of the sauna, carefree…and well, carefree.
I admired the sky with a sudden burst of energy, much the way I would behave after sighting an unexpected rainbow. It was a pleasant summer day—the birds waxed poetic in their feathery ensembles and the trees moved in the wind like elegant women in flowy dresses. Even nature’s creatures seemed to be wearing clothes that day. Except here.
“You want the jets on?”
I made eye contact with the naked couple and said…nothing. I was an introverted mute in a foreign, naked land. I managed a nod.
They smiled at me, unfazed by my habit bikini and muteness. They strolled over to the switch, set the timer, and joined me in the soaking pool. A young woman sauntered out of the locker rooms and posted up on a towel to lay out. An older man strolled out of the locker rooms, whistling a jaunty tune as he entered the sauna.
Clothing optional spas suggest that you won’t be the only one running around in your nun’s habit. On this particular day, my first clothing optional spa experience in life, wouldn’t you know it? I was the only prude tip-toeing around, blushing profusely until I blended in with the accent colors on my floral bikini.
“Britt?” My massage therapist came to the rescue. In an interesting twist, she was fully clothed. Thank God!
During my massage—which was fantastic—I had some introspective moments about my nakedness discomfort. I thought I was comfortable with bodies, having been around my fair share of naked dancers backstage for ballet performances. And, er…I’ve seen my fair share of naked men in more intimate settings. I’m 37, okay? I’ve seen lots of human parts.
Visiting a co-ed clothing optional spa isn’t something you typically do in American cities, unless you’re in a more liberal city like I am. It’s common for people to strip down and enjoy naked liberation around here. And apparently, meet your significant other’s boss for the first time.
Am I ever going to be that liberated? Nah, and that’s okay. I do have an appreciation for those who are cool with it—the establishments who truly offer a “come as you are” space and the people who benefit from relaxing in those spaces.
I’ll just keep rocking my nun’s habit bikini around others and keep my birthday suit celebrations inside the house.