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Pour Some Sugar on Me – my night at the Olympic Spa in Korea Town

December 8, 2010

i would have gone ahead and dunked the prosthetic leg...just for appearances

So last night, after months of cajoling, I joined my “crazy friend Inge” at the Olympic Spa in Korea Town. I call her my “crazy friend Inge” because of her interesting, alternative lifestyle, which demands an article or two of its’ own, but let’s just say, the first time I visited her in Malibu, she was living on the edge of a cliff in a yurt. More accurately, two yurts. One for the living area and one for the bedroom. There was no bathroom yurt; there was a bucket. Reacting to the look of horror on my face, Inge cheerily informed me that she grew up sharing a bathroom bucket with no less than 6 brothers and sisters, so therefore, having a bucket “all to herself” was QUITE the luxury. I felt better.

Anyhoo, Inge spends roughly 8 hours every Wednesday in this Korean spa and will spend at least half that amount of time extoling it’s many virtues to anyone within ear shot. The spa is not private, which means that there are all manners of naked women walking around….like, uh..mixing it up, all naked like. This idea grosses me out. I am extremely private almost to the point of Amish-Level Repression. At least, when I’m not drunk. Most spas don’t allow you to drink, so…I need privacy. I shut Inge down the minute this fact was brought up. But she kept on, and she happened to get me at a moment of weakness.  I had spent the night before at my friend Penn’s house, drinking Jim Beam, smoking, and experimenting with the Fry Daddy I had just bought. (he had a bad day. I am a good friend. this is all you need to know.) The very first thing we deep-fried were the Rice Krispie treats we had just made. The second victim were balls of macaroni and cheese. It just went down-hill from there. You get the idea. I needed detoxing. Like…from the inside out. I scheduled the “GODDESS TREATMENT”. One hour and 45 minutes of scrubbing and massage and moisturizing.

What could go wrong?

The place had free parking, which both invigorated and relaxed me at the same time. Just like a spa treatment should! This evening was starting out well! Especially considering I wasn’t in the mood to go wandering around the lovely borough of Korea Town, admiring it’s gas stations and nail salons looking for a parking space.

I walked in, checked in and of course, my fear was realized; there were naked women milling all over the damned place. Thankfully, they were mostly of the reasonably thin and youthful variety. There was so much effort put into diverting of the eyes that it seemed counter to the relaxation benefit. Inge was there, in a robe, although I think I could handle seeing her naked, because she just SEEMS like someone that should be prancing around without any clothes on, cradling a cornucopia of fruit or something.

There weren’t really any super odd characters except for this one short, portly Asian woman who was squatting over a water trough rinsing something…as if she were scrubbing her family’s laundry on a river rock in the Korean mountaintops.  She had her hair in a sort of babushka-ish kerchief, and I swear I saw a rooster darting around somewhere behind her.

The aesthetic of the spa isn’t bad, although the attention to detail drops off around…well…when you get to the detail. There are enough industrial size vats of liquid ingredients printed with ACME type labels sitting around, that if it weren’t for all the naked, glistening women lolling about, you’d suspect the occupants were building bombs. The towels sort of smelled like Fritos.

You’re supposed to take a shower and then wander around jumping into (okay well NO JUMPING the signs clearly state), rather enthusiastically getting in and out of various pool/tubby things at different temperatures, some of which no human should really consider if they want to bear children or ever digest food again. There is a HOT SAUNA and a WET SAUNA, although I was completely drenched inside both of them, so that was confusing. There is an “infrared” room, which is supposed to undo damage from electronic devices, such as cell phones, but I just felt like an unwanted pre-cooked chicken wasting away at a supermarket deli counter.

The really precious hallmark of the Olympic Spa is the staff. Roughly a dozen 50 year old Asian women (Korean I presume) dart purposefully around in nothing but black bras and very large panties, calling out your number and dragging you back to the treatment room without as much as a “Hello”.

The treatment rooms are REALLY not private. There are tables lined up, sort of how I imagine birthing rooms in communist era China, wrapped with vinyl type table cloths like the ones you picnicked on in the seventies. Truly, mine had little baskets of fruit on it.  I was instructed to lay face down and then the punishment started. I don’t know who named it the “Goddess Treatment” but something was lost in the translation. The “Goddamned Mother Fucking Treatment” might be more accurate because the only moderate bits of enjoyment I encountered were, well….the end.

Seriously, let’s remember…I’m naked. I’m lying down, on plastic, next to a bunch of other naked women. Then big buckets of hot water are poured on me, and she dons these brillo pad gloves, covers them in sugar and starts scrubbing. Now I’ve had body scrubs before, but I think she’s exposed parts of my anatomy to the air for the first time since conception. “TURN OVER” “SIDE” “FACE DOWN” she barks out, and I do it, man. I slip my naked ass around that wet table and flip over.

Then the massage starts. I hate massages. No one believes this about me, but in addition to my Amish-level repression, I am also one uptight bitch. The muscles in my neck could withstand any good swing of a samurai sword, so you start poking on those things and there is only one result; PAIN. She didn’t care, she loved it. “Ah. NECK TOO TIGHT”. She kept saying.  “MMPH” I responded. “YEP. NECK TOO TIGHT”

I kinda dug the facial, but some ingredient in the mask clogged my sinuses and I couldn’t breathe through my nose for the rest of the treatment, which caused me to have to open my mouth and I kept getting the splashed water and little bits of sugar and oil and god knows what else in there. A few more hot water splashes into the fresh abrasions of my precious parts and we reached the end. New victims had entered and occupied the tables next to me. I got a fun little kerchief tied on my own head, a new robe and a point out the door.

I met up with Inge and we poured ourselves some hot barley tea. Then we lied on the heated jade floor that was “very healing”. Thank god, ’cause my ass was broken.  My skin is really soft though. Less like a baby’s bottom…more like a fetal pig’s. I feel like a Goddamned Mother Fucking Goddess.

 

MOST BIZARRE GOOGLE IMAGE RESULTS FOR “KOREAN SPA”

this is actually a training exercise for the North Korean Special Forces. If they challenge us to chicken fights, i fear for the future of our country

this is from a blog entitled "The Happiness of Delicious Feeling". no kiddin'

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