Friday, 10 January 2014

The Hot Seat...

Hello Friends.

I know I haven't seen some of you in awhile but (spoiler alert!) I'm in total disrepair. At Christmastime, I threw my back out somehow and hobbled around like a moron for a week. Once that got straightened out (ha ha HA!), I came down with a bad cold that I'm just now getting over.

Besides making me a lot of fun to be around, these two misfortunes have another commonality: both make me want to sit in a hot place. I love a hot place to sit when I'm sick or ache-y, cold or tired. What do I mean by a hot place to sit? Well, I love a sauna or a steam room, especially if they're not insufferably hot and more conducive to a long stay, and I love a hot tub. Those are definitely my top three hot places to sit. My bottom three? A car seat with one of those seat warmers where it feels like you're constantly wetting yourself, a toilet that was recently on fire, and the sun.

Anyway, I don't have easy access to a steam room or hot tub. The gym I go to has a sauna that I could have visited in my sorry states, but to go to a gym sauna without working out in the gym just seems perverse. ("Don't mind me, fellas! I'm just here to get naked and sit for awhile! Did y'all have a good workout, did you flex those little muscles?") And please don't suggest taking a bath. There's something so awful, so disgusting and wrong, about a six foot something man taking a bath. Something so "Hello Mother..."about it. Unless you've got a really big bathtub, maybe it's acceptable, but otherwise baths are like flip-flop sandals or cartoon movies in that they are intended for children.

What I'd like for my less-than-perfect days is a place I could go to that's like a spa, but there'd be no massages, or places to stretch, or opportunities to exercise. I just want a hot place to sit.

Dream: Create a business based around the idea that people just want to sit in warmth for a bit.

Goal: Achievable because such a place already exists in every major city in North America and it's called a bathhouse. I'm not sure how much I need to explain here, exactly. Straight people, do you know that bathhouses still exist? At some point, gay men are educated about such places, and I don't remember how I first heard about them, but from what I've been told, everything you're thinking about bathhouses is true. I, myself, have never been to one, but have spoken to others that have been, and apparently you show up, pay a small fee, put your clothes in a locker, and you're just in this big building that has some hot tubs, a steam room, a sauna, and a bunch of bedrooms. If you took creepy anonymous sex out of the equation here, doesn't this sound like paradise? I want to be there right now!

Plan: Design my version of a hot-place-to-sit emporium where folks with aching backs, chronic pain, a stuffy nose, or just a really stressful life, can go and unwind. This place would have to have:

1) No sex. Obviously. Jokes aside, I can't believe bathhouses actually exist in 2014. How disgusting the insides of these places must be! How desperate and surely disease-ridden! If men go there with the express intention of having anonymous sex, doesn't it stand to reason that there would be a lot of sexual assault going on, too? I can't imagine one has a great deal of sexual agency once they get into a hot tub with a dozen naked strangers all with one thing on their minds. Ugh, no more talk of this. There's no sex in my hot seat place.

2) Large print books, covered in plastic. Occasionally, I'll spring for a visit to a pool across town that has a hot tub which is kept warm, but not super hot. Alongside the hot tub, they have several outdated magazines that people read as they soak. My place would have this, but instead of crappy magazines, we'd have books, but they'd be covered in plastic so it'd be okay to accidentally get them wet. Also, they'd be in large print. Have you ever read a large print book? My grandmother owned a few that I would flip through, and there's something SO satisfying about reading a large print book. Not only is it incredibly easy on the old peepers, but it has the page-flippability of a children's book. Large print means only a few sentences per page, so you can be reading the densest of classical literature, and just fly through it. What a great feeling of accomplishment to accompany your soak.

3) Easy listening music. I know not everybody's into this genre, but it seems like a happy medium for my clientele. Also, I think I define easy listening a little differently than most people. I don't just mean bland, inoffensive pop, I mean the kind where the singer has an effortless voice. I can't abide a straining Micheal Bolton or a wailing Christina Aguilera. Give me a Norah Jones or a Mark Knopfler. Those people sound like they just woke up and starting humming along to the radio. Not the most impressive voices, but they're by no means straining themselves. Alternatively...

4) Total silence. Hot tubs and steam rooms and sauna are necessarily public, but this should not be an invitation to converse. Some days, I'm really grateful for my shock of messy long hair that keeps old people from talking to me. I think it scares them or something, but I don't care. Pleasantries are fine, but otherwise, we're sitting here in towels. We don't need to get to know each other, do we?

5) Dim lighting, no mirrors. As comfortable as these environments are, they require little or no clothing, and that can make some of us decidedly uncomfortable. I don't need to feel self-conscious about how I look while I'm enjoying the blissful pleasure that is a warm place to sit. Plus, no one ever looks good both naked and sitting. Think about the hottest person you know, picture them naked, then picture them sitting. EW, right? I don't mean lounging, I mean ass-in-a-chair-facing-forward-sitting. GROSS! It's like seeing somebody with a shirt and no pants or underwear. Yeah, it's some nudity, but eeeughhh.

For now, I'll spend the remainder of my convalescence at home in my jam-jams, wrapped in a blanket. I have lemon tea and honey for my throat, and some Fisherman's Friend (by the way, how gross are those? If these are Fisherman's Friend, I'd hate to think what a fisherman's enemy has to suck on). I guess the coziest, most comfortable place will always be home. This sauna/steam room/hot tub venture sounds promising, but also like too much work in my current condition.

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