I went to the spa in my apartment building. Mind you, this was after hours of summoning up the courage to do so.
I walk in and all seems well. I go to the damp room--because I am convinced in a dry sauna you will catch on fire. My rationale is brilliant-- I KNOW.
Of course, the door will not open. NOT AT ALL. But do not worry, a man from the infrared sauna came over to help me. IN THE NUDE.
But he couldn't get the door to open. So his other (naked) friend came over and they push and pull with all their might together. Meanwhile, letting it all loose. I stand there, of course, in a swimming suit. Covered by a towel. Mortified.
After a good THREE SOLID MINUTES of fussing with the door from hell, they get it open. Of course they both had to squat down together to pull from the bottom... but don't worry, they sure weren't.
How do you enjoy a spa when you have just witnessed such a thing. HOW?
So then I think, hmm. They are about my age--I've seen them naked unfortunately--how much more awkward could it be if I asked them what they do in the town for fun, or you know, WHERE ARE THE PEOPLE THAT AREN'T 100?!
Surely, I thought, they'd put on their towels if I politely started a conversation while wearing MY towel up to my chin.
I bravely wander over and ask. And of course they are neither from here, nor do they take the social cue about the towel. INSTEAD, they decided to stretch out, sit with their knees to their chest or, I KID YOU NOT, SIT CRISS-CROSS-APPLESAUCE STYLE.
For the next hour, we talked about Tupac. Because my sitting there with my glasses fogged up, a towel clutched to my chin, I exude the idea that I would be a "TUPAC AFICIONADO." (Lucky for them, I am.)
I stayed. And I memorized the ceiling tiles. (There were 150 of them to be exact.)
And then I braved the whirlpool.
...and by "braved" I mean I went over to it, saw that it said NO SWIMMING SUITS!!!!!!!!!!!!! and was really put off. Because that's a bit forward. and I had my fill of nudity for the day.
I almost just did it anyway, swimsuit and all, because who is really going to come up and be like TAKE OFF YOUR SUIT---but then I remembered this is Germany, and they SO WOULD DO THAT (because they keep it real, and I admire them for their ability to do so.).
And I reinforced the common stereotype that the Americans are incredibly uncomfortable with nudity, really even probably to an extreme extent. But that's ok. Because I clearly represent the rest of my country... (no, I don't.).
But here's the thing: I'm determined to walk through that sauna in my birthday suit like a boss before my time here is over.
Next week I plan to try it only in a towel -- sans swimming suit underneath. But no promises.
Because these people have the self confidence I dream of.
I believe when someone first said, "You do you, Haters gon' hate" they were German.