12.13.2011

7 Things You Didn't Know About Me: #5

5.) I only became friends with my sister a few years ago. Which sounds weird because now she’s one of my best friends and I was just her maid of honor, but it’s true. I think five years is a hard age gap between siblings. You get stuck in these roles where one of you is the obnoxious little sister who desperately wants to hang all the time, and the other is the bitchy older sister who doesn’t want to hang because you’re nine and hi, I’m in high school. It’s hard to shake that mindset.

This is going to make both of us sound like raging alcoholics, but I think the catalyst for us becoming friends was my turning 21. Being able to go out to bars and drink together changed things because suddenly we weren’t being forced to interact with each other in a family setting anymore—we were electing to hang out in a bar. With our friends. Like normal people. It was kind of the push we needed to realize that “HEY, IDIOTS—you guys aren’t five and 10 anymore. You’re grown-ass adults. Get to know each other.” And we did. Specifically on our family vacation to Napa Valley the summer after my Junior year. There was this extremely important moment between us in a hot tub (emotions were involved—where else?) one night when I was like, “You know what, guy? I like you,” and she was like, “Shit—I like you right back!” and we’ve been friends ever since. Mind you this was also the vacation when we shared “The Most Naked Experience of Our Lives.” That may have had something to do with our bonding. Allow me to explain…
So, a few days into our vacation in Napa, my sister found a write-up for the Calistoga Day Spa in my dad’s travel book. Intrigued by the spa’s hot springs and mud bath treatment, she suggested we take a drive up and treat ourselves to a little spa day. Considering the last time we had a spa day together it ended up being the Gift of the Magi explosive diarrhea/sun poisoning spa treatment swap debacle that was Scottsdale, Arizona, I was in. This spa had large, farcical shoes to fill…and fill them they did.

Now, I don’t think of either Becca or myself as prudes. Because nudity? Fine by me. I, personally, hate to wear clothes. Pants and I specifically have had a long, tumultuous history together. As I’ve mentioned, at any given moment I’m typically wearing a white wife beater with no bra and booty shorts and accidentally flashing my bits to whoever happens to be in the room. And am I embarrassed? No. It’s your fault for being in the room. But as we drove up to Calistoga that day, I started to get a little nervous about just how naked I would have to be in front of my sister. Because remember, we weren’t really friends at this point. She was my big sister whom I both adored and feared. God forbid see my big ‘ole hooters.

“So…I get the concept of a mud bath,” I said to her, “But how exactly is this going to work? Like, will we be in separate rooms? Are you completely naked in the bath? Should I wear my bathing suite?”

“I’m sure it’s up to you. Just do whatever you feel more comfortable with. And we may be in the same room, but I’m sure there’s a little divider or a sheet or something.” OK. I could handle that.

We got to the spa, checked in and were told to go to the locker room and change into the sheets waiting for us. Once we saw how big the sheets were, we decided to skip the bathing suites figuring this would be like any other spa treatment where the masseuse/technician (?) works with you to discreetly move the sheet to continually cover what needs to be covered. We wrapped up and headed for the door marked “Spa Room”.

As I pushed open the door, I expected to walk into another dimly lit, zen room with private little alcoves where we’d individually receive our treatments. Instead, I opened the door to reveal what was essentially a large, sterile garage with two mud-filled tubs manned by what can only be described as a pair of sturdy-looking Eastern European women. Moreover, the tubs were situated directly next to each other. And when I say directly next to each other, I do mean directly next to each other:
In fact, as I looked around the room, it occurred to me that everything was set up in two's and located just a romantic handhold away from each other. And spoiler alert: that is because we had accidentally scheduled the romantic “Golden Haven Baths for Couples” treatment, which according to the spa’s website allows you to “share this wonderful Napa Valley spa experience in privacy with your companion only a few inches away.” We had no idea that’s what had happened, mind you. At this point, all I could think was, “This feels oddly………….intimate.” Suddenly, one of the spa technicians barreled towards us.

“TAKE SHEETS OFF,” she barked at us. We, in turn, stood frozen.

Seconds passed.

“Wait…………like off off?”

“OFF!”

It took me a few seconds, but I finally realized that this woman wasn’t going to discreetly move our sheets around anything; she was going to take them and discard them. Like, for the rest of the day. I was going to spend the rest of the day naked, getting in and out of a series of tubs in a small room missing a fourth wall with my sister and two large, and to the best of my knowledge, Hungarian women who very thought we were lesbian lovers.

My sister and I then turned to each other and exchanged this look that so beautifully conveyed, “SHIT’S ABOUT TO GET REAL NAKED—LET’S GO WITH IT,” without either of us having to say anything. And thank god for that because just then the spa technician, sensing our hesitation, reached out, grabbed both of our sheets and yanked them off for us. Again, up until that point I hadn’t really considered myself to be that big of a prude, but there I was clutching my pearls all, “WELL, I NEVER!”  My hands briefly floundered north and south in a desperate attempt to give myself some coverage, but I ultimately decided to fuck it, suck in, stand up straight and walk over to the damn mud.

The hot mud treatment was actually pretty cool. You basically just float in hot, heavy mud up to your neck while the Hungarian women apply a steady flow of fresh, cold washcloths to your forehead. It was incredibly relaxing and probably would have been sensual had I not been a pubic hair away from an equally naked relative at the time.

As the bath went on, however, my relaxation slowly turned into anxiety as I became increasingly more concerned about how we were going to get the mud off of ourselves. Or out of us, frankly. Because the mud was heavy. And the mud was hot. And the mud was settling. Everywhere.

My concerns were quickly addressed when the Hungarian women reached into our tubs and pulled us out. After they got done removing some of the excess mud by giving us one helluva standing rubdown (which, again, probably would have been sensual had it been done by anyone other than a well-rooted Hungarian woman convinced I was gayer than a chestnut), they motioned towards the wall behind us and said, “SHOWER.”

The so-called “shower” area in question was actually just a tiled wall with two hoses dangling from the ceiling and nary a piece of nylon to separate as far as the eye could see. And let me tell you people something: you haven’t experienced pure embarrassment until you’ve stood an elbow jab away from your sister and shot hose water up your ass while the Lucy and Ethel of the Eastern Bloc leer on disapprovingly. That is embarrassment. That is something that can never be undone. That is something that can one-up any story about tripping up a few stairs at the bank, thank you.

After The Traumatic Showering it was time for our mineral water baths, so Tweedle Dee and Tweedle OOF led us to a pair of old timey Victorian bathtubs separated by the distance of a sweet whispered secret. It was at this point that Becca finally acknowledged the elephant in the room and was like, “Dude. Your boobs are really big.” “Yeah, I know. But your boobs are really nice. Big, but not unmanageable. I think if I ever got a breast reduction, I’d want to make ‘em your size.” I mention this conversation because I love imagining what the spa technicians must have been thinking about the state of our relationship if that was our romantic tub conversation. Talking about each other’s breast size in the most clinical way possible and referring to each other as dude.

Finally, it was time for our last treatment: a schvitz in the steam room. I hate steam rooms. Primarily because I hate heat, sweating, and small spaces. So, pretty much everything about a steam room. This steam room, however, was like a steam room on crack. First of all, they handed us each a meager washcloth when we walked in which was laughably unhelpful. I sat down and held mine up in front of me for a long time trying to decide which direction I should go in until Becca finally said, “Dude. Lower.” Even worse, the steam came in from the sulfur springs so it smelled overwhelmingly like rotten eggs, and it was hot in a way that would make Hades ask for a Dasani. I felt like I couldn’t breathe and I have never been so uncomfortable in my entire life. After a few minutes I couldn’t take it anymore, so I stuck my head out the little porthole in the glass door, turned my head to the left, and started gasping for air. Which is exactly when I locked eyes with the incredibly nude woman standing across the room, waiting to start her spa treatment.  “SHIT!” I ducked my head back into the steam room. “BECCA, I JUST LOCKED EYES WITH A NAKED WOMAN ACROSS THE ROOM WHILE I WAS GASPING FOR AIR AND I THINK SHE THINKS I’M A PERVERT SO WE CAN’T LEAVE UNTIL SHE’S IN THE MUD BUT I THINK I’M GOING TO DIE IF I HAVE TO STAY IN HERE ANY LONGER AND I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO.”

“…Want my washcloth?”

After we got back into the car, we drove in silence for a bit as we both tried to process the sheer absurdity of what just happened. Becca finally broke the silence with one of the most astute observations I think I’ve ever heard: “That……………was the most naked experience of my entire life.” Because it was. It was the most naked experience of my entire life. It made getting a full-body mole check at the dermatologist’s feel like standing in an empty cornfield in a three-piece suit and a chastity belt. I’ve had sex with strangers and felt more modest than that. It was just really, really…naked. But also really bonding, in a weird way. I think all great friendships should start out with a wacky misadventure. I just don’t think they should all be so…naked.

(Sidenote: Every time I write that it was just so…naked, I can’t not automatically say it in my head in the “I THINK THEY WERE…ASIAN” voice from Cable Guy.
So goddamn underrated.)

16 comments:

Thaddeus said...

Glorious posts the past two days Meg. Can't wait for the finale tomorrow.

Lauren said...

this is one of the greatest stories ever. i agree that once you can drink with your siblings, everything gets better. my brother and i weren't good friends until we both started drinking in high school and bonded over hiding it from our parents.

Mike K said...

Oh to be a fly on that wall....

Rachel said...

hahahahaha such a funny story. hahaha. It never gets old. And you know how I feel about "naked hours" only being at night. hahaha

Lexi said...

My abs hurt from holding in my laughter. I should have known better than to read this at work. Well played, Meggles. Well. Played.

Amy said...

This is some great stuff. Awesome stories. Laughed out loud at clutching your pearls. Oh, funny stuff. But mainly I'm writing to say "Have you SEEN this narwhal clock????" http://www.cqwalldecals.com/collections/clocks/products/narwhal-clock

Lindsay said...

Google Reader is eating up half of the spaces between your words. I was going to be an asshole and offer to buy you a new spacebar for Christmas, but then I clicked on through to make sure it wasn't just the Googles acting up. Now my Christmas wish is for Google to fix their gee dee Blog tool for the holidays. Love you, Meggles. xoxo.

taylor said...

I"ve totally accidentally had a couples massage with my sister on vacation. weirdest thing ever.

toppe said...

oh my goodness i love you. i havent had internet in about a month, so am catching up on old posts while stealing internet at a starbucks, and i cant stop laughing in public. its a tad be awkward. so thanks for that.

Bybee said...

My friend and I went for a massage in Seoul and when we got to the spa, they insisted we put on shorts and t-shirts with the spa logo. We were in this garb for all of 5 minutes and lying on the massage tables when one of the female workers came in and yanked them off of us and covered us with sheets. Then these two masseurs came in and totally yanked the sheets off and our massages began. Very naked experience, but I was able to shut my eyes most of the time.

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