Christmas 2017. I took my wife to Germany. I know, I know. I got the Husband of the Month Award for it. I’m a pretty great guy.
It was a business trip for me and a vacation for her. Or, as my wife said:
And it was. She dropped me off at our (then) local airport in North Carolina. She drove to Florida and dropped the girls off with her parents before boarding her plane.
If you came here for the nudity, hang on to your shorts. I’m getting to that. But first, the scene must be set.
Getting To Germany.
We met in Frankfurt. Even with all the traveling I do, it was surreal to be let out in one place and see my wife the next time a day later in another country.
We stayed in Landstuhl, a small town close to my work location, where we had the cutest hotel.
Typically, I would have worked the week and crashed at the hotel at night. On the weekend, I’d catch up on sleep and then go out exploring. But this was a vacation for my wife.
She LOVED it. I’d put in a full day while she enjoyed walking through town, hiking around the nearby castle, enjoying fantastic food, and conversing with the locals who spoke amazingly good English.
I’d get to the hotel, and then it was off to the train station.
No. No nudity yet. I’ll bare all in just a bit.
Trust me, if you‘re visiting Germany for the first time, go at Christmas. It delighted me to see the world through her eyes. Moreover, I’d have slept most of those early nights. Instead, I saw Christmas markets. Castles. My wife accompanying me led me to experience so much I wouldn’t have otherwise.
Aside from the sights and sounds and smells, oh my — was the culture shock.
Our hotel had a sauna.
Bathhouses, Saunas, and Nudity.
I’ve been to Japan, where my hotel had a bathhouse. I partook, content in the knowledge that I never saw anyone going in. And except for that last time, when 20 very naked Japanese men came in as I was getting out, my American sensibilities didn’t have to worry about… being exposed.
Besides, I’m secure in my nakedness. When I’m prepared.
But there are two things about this sauna in Germany.
- The sauna is co-ed.
- The sauna requires participants to be naked.
We realized the first, but not the second.
She visited the sauna more often than I did, usually while I was at work. Much like the Japanese bathhouse, we never saw anybody else there.
We did eventually notice the sign. It’s a terrible image, but I think the one in red is the one that says no clothes. I could be wrong, though.
We had a good laugh. At the same time, it was hard to imagine that’s what the sign meant. We chalked it up to translation issues.
In the steam room, we obeyed the rules, though. I might have pictures, but no, you can’t see them. Besides, as far as my wife knows, I destroyed the images.
What happened in the steam room? It’s not part of the story.
Besides, I didn’t get in trouble for being nude — quite the opposite.
The Clothed Incident
One evening, near the end of my wife’s stay (I had to remain a few days after her) she didn’t want to go. I’d had a rough day at work, so I ran in. I had my towel and my swimsuit on.
At this point, we’d still not seen anyone else in there. And I was having a hard time accepting that they REALLY meant no clothes.
It was near closing time. I was in that purple area. A worker came in; his face scrunched up his face like a crumpled piece of paper.
For $%^@’s sake, take off your clothes. — The angry German man.
He said this like he was disgusted. Even in the heavy German accent, the emotion was unmistakable.
I wanted to point out that he was wearing clothes, but I didn’t want to give the wrong impression.
He left, and as it was nearing closing time, I did too.
The Nude Incident
My wife left the next day. A few nights later, on my last evening there, I decided to brace the sauna again. This time, as is apparently right and proper, I stripped nude.
After a lovely time in the steam room, I came out and fixed myself a cup of tea. Then I sat in one of the lounge chairs, still appropriately nude.
That’s when they came in.
As is proper and right, they walked to the showers, which were also out in the open. They both stripped down, showered, and proceeded into the sauna with the purple light and, I should note, see-through glass.
I didn’t know what to do with my eyes. I’m not a prude, but I’m not used to being in public areas where both men and women walk around nude. Private areas? Sure. But this was different.
It seemed rude to look at them. I’m pretty sure it’s always rude to stare. It also, somehow, seemed rude not to look.
So I sat there as casually as I could, sipping my tea, looking but not looking.
Even though nothing indecent happened, aside from being dressed indecently, is it wrong to admit a part of me enjoyed the view? Does that make me a peeping Tom? Is Tom, in fact, a German name?
Should I describe the couple? Is it creepy to do so? I’ll put it this way. This is in the 50% of things I tell my wife. When I told her, she said, “They were probably one of those old, wrinkly couples, right?”
They were not. — Me.
Put another way, I was glad for the opportunity to see the woman. And I was glad for my wife’s non-opportunity to see the man.
I’m not allowed to go back to that hotel by myself. My wife is very specific.
Scott Hughey is aware there is no way the end of this article doesn’t come across a bit creepy. He promises he’s not overly obsessed with nudity and sex. He’d also like you to read his article about a woman using oral sex to stop crime.
Another travel tale by Scott:
I Ate Dinner With A Murderer
Traveling Is Adventure. You Meet All Kinds Of People. And Sometimes You Have To Stay Calm
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