The Melting Tub

Koreatown, New York

The States are hailed as a melting pot, as is Australia.  There’s a general stew of different nationalities, cultures, & races and it’s expected to blend together into this one culture. That may be generally true. We all live in the same space & time, but we’re aren’t necessarily interacting, sometimes we’re even repelling. It’s easy to see this in major cities, beyond the typical Chinatown, Greektown references.  If you drive through the neighborhoods just a little outside the main centers, store signs change.  They’re no longer in English, they’re Polish, Middle Eastern, Indian, Korean, most major languages,.  The old adage of like tends to like holds true.  However, there are places where these lines blur even further and I’m grateful to live close to one.

I wasn’t around for Carter, but I 100% agree.

A little over two years ago I was starting my long-term relationship with Korean skincare (future post)  Around that time my husband sent me a link for a video by Grace Neutral exploring the beauty culture in Korea.  In this part, she visits a Jimjilbang and I found the idea of that interesting.  I wasn’t all for it, I was 3/4 of my way through weight loss, I had loose skin, and you had to be naked! (gasp)  A few days passed and he sent me this, by Conan O’Brien.  I had to get a body scrub.  All of it looked wonderful, despite his whining in true comedian fashion.

I asked a friend if she wanted to go on this little adventure with me, and then we were set to go.  We entered, removed our shoes, and immediately signed up for a scrub & massage.  Then came… the naked part…   We both looked at each other, shrugged, & stripped down, took showers, and bliss!  There were multiple temperatures to partake of along with cold & steam.  We even learned how to use traditional Korean showers.  After lounging in the tubs we were called up for our scrubs and it was like nothing I’ve ever tried, including other spa scrubs  It was like a deep itch was relieved by being scratched everywhere, the amount of skin that came off was shameful.  After that came being sat on, oiled up, and rubbed to death.  A scrumptious, grounding, and very smooth death.   I’ll get into the whole experience another day.  I was officially addicted and a member within a week.

One of these people are snoring, guaranteed.

Since then I’ve come here, 2-5 times a week.  I’m actually here at this moment.  I work, read, meditate, do yoga, and now I blog when I’m not using the amenities.   I also people watch, and that’s where it gets good.  The human condition is accepted here.  All sorts of things, pretty much any biologic function is accepted, within reason and everyone is in matching, huge, uniforms.   These are good for the comfort of all, and the sense of community.  Wow, I never thought I’d say that farting was beneficial, but here we are.  If you’re someone who gives dirty looks & judges, you would be the odd man out.

The hot tubs are where I’ve seen the more interesting aspects of this unity, with the added benefit of all being the same physical gender(including a couple transgender women who are treated like everyone else).  This, what was my biggest concern at first is now it’s my joy.    And not because I developed a fascination with the female form, all the different types, sizes, etc. it’s so very interesting.  No, it’s that I can see a true melting pot (melting tub).  I’ve had the privilege to sit in the company of many women from different walks of life. all because we were naked in a hot tub.  There is something about being naked that makes us vulnerable.  There’s no more armor, no nice clothes, no street clothes, no makeup, no accessories; it’s wholly you.

MpdCloth’s Hot Tub Round Table

  Women who would never have spoken before are now sitting in a hot tub, chatting away with no cares.  My most recent favourite combo was a  C-Suite, a cleaning lady, & special needs, educator.  I can pretty much guarantee you that the COO wouldn’t have given the cleaning lady the time of day if they met in the halls of her building, or even on the street.  Not in so much a mean way, but it wouldn’t occur to her  Likewise, the special needs educator spends so much time at home that she would never have met either of them.  This place gave her the opportunity to converse with other people.  I’ve seen groups of women that came in in their own sub-groups of race join together in laughing when the cold pool was a bit colder than any of them anticipated.

Conan’s Harajuku and other Japan videos are funny
I will be posting on languages & culture, Jimjilbangs, and body confidence in the near future.

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