For The Record: A Hammam Bath is Way Too Goddamn Hot

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Today, I had an hour Thai massage with a thirty minute hammam bath. Now, I did this mainly because I saw a LivingSocial coupon for it and thought, “Hey, that’s a good way to spend an afternoon.” Except, I didn’t really research what a “hammam bath” actually is because I (mistakenly) thought it was very relaxing and, well, bath-like. As in, I soak in water that is warm, sort of like a hot tub, but with less chlorine and semen. Oh, but why wouldn’t what should be a relaxing afternoon turn into another installment of the hilarity that is my life? That would just be like screwing with the general order of nature and we wouldn’t want to do that, would we?

Our story begins in a little Thai massage parlor in the deuxieme arrondisement. The first thing they gave me were plastic flip flops, extremely small “panties”, and a robe to wear while I walked to my “bath.” We walk downstairs and she leads me into a room that has a shower in the right corner and what looks to be a steam room ahead of me. She hands me a glass of water and then tells me she’ll be back in thirty minutes.

??

What the hell do I do now?

I undress and then take a shower, unsure of the order in which I’m meant to do things. Shower first? After steam room? Shower in between steams? Shower after? SOMEONE GUIDE ME.

After my shower, I grab the towel and seat cushion they provided me and head into THE HOTTEST ROOM EVER IN THE HISTORY OF HOT ROOMS NOT JOKING YOU THINK I’M JOKING AND BEING DRAMATIC? YOU’RE WRONG. SO HOT.

I sit there on my seat cushion that is made of leather (leather! too hot for leather!) and start toweling myself off, because I’m already sweating out my entire body’s supply of water after just two minutes. Wait, I’ve only been in here for two minutes? Holy shit. What do I do in here for thirty minutes? I’m going to die. Do people die in here? Is it possible? I can’t breathe. Why can’t I breathe? Is it getting hotter? THIS IS TOO MUCH STEAM.Β 

As I sit there contemplating my imminent death, I think back to when I thought this was going to be a relaxing mineral bath of some sort. I wonder how naive I could be to believe such lies. Hammam BATH? Did you mean, bathing in your own sweat? Because, yeah, that’s more accurate.

Like, I’ve been in steam rooms and saunas before, but this one takes the hot, steamy cake. I was sweating within seconds. And, after five minutes, I wondered why the hell I had this seat cushion only to realize it was probably a pillow. So, I laid down, hoping that maybe I would be less hot in a more horizontal position, but quickly realized that all the sweat pooling on my face was now going into my eyes and so I quickly sat up, hoping that there was not a security camera that was watching me sit my ass on a pillow and then, upon realizing my mistake, then blinding myself with my own sweat.

Nothing about this blog post is attractive. I WAS SUPPOSED TO BE RELAXING.

To be fair though, when I eventually exited the death steam trap, my skin felt like the softest, most exfoliated version of whatever the fuck my skin was before. I then took a very cold shower, sending my body into, I’m sure, some sort of shock, exfoliated even further with the shower salts, and then put my robe back on and waited for the next installment of this very interesting experience.

I was then escorted into my massage area, where I was given what was actually one of the best massages I’ve ever had. Right up until I turned face up and the woman took off the towel from my chest and started to massage both my stomach and boobs while she was hovering over me, positioned not beside the massage table, but actually on top of it. I couldn’t open my eyes for fear that if I caught her eyes while she’s massaging my breasts, I may actually die from awkwardness and embarrassment. It was sort of like a time when you were having sex with someone you didn’t want to be having sex with and all you’re thinking is, “DON’T MAKE EYE CONTACT. WAIT FOR IT TO BE OVER.”

Not that that’s ever happened to me.

Never.

Uh.

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13 people added their two cents. Add yours.

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jenn August 23, 2011 at 10:37 am

Okay so, two things. One, you can take comfort in your solo hammam bath because when I was in Morocco, our professor insisted that these baths were so good for you and explained that there were three rooms at different temperatures and there were lovely Moroccan women who would exfoliate your skin for you and oh how glorious it was.

And then he took us to the YMCA of bathhouses. It was basically a public locker room with old, hairy Moroccan women all over the place and we went into the hottest room and had to sit on the floor and of course everyone around us is, you know, bathing, meaning that dirty, soapy water and hair was rushing past us as it drained out.

YEP.

The second, much more sexy and uplifting thing, is that I had a massage on Thursday as part of a company outing and an incredibly attractive, tall and muscly Swedish or German or SOMETHING GORGEOUS man massaged my naked body for an hour with his magically strong hands. I wished the entire time that he would rip off my blanket and massage my boobs. Sadly, I was not in an exciting porno and he didn’t. What a bummer.

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2 Nikki August 23, 2011 at 10:51 am

If you ever have the opportunity to get an ayurvedic massage, do it! It’s more awkward naked massaging than this (at least the pieces you described) and less heat. They do use oil, and a lot of it, so there is a shower after. SO worth the awkward!

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3 Lindsey August 23, 2011 at 11:15 am

hahahahh this is exactly why I have avoided the hammam, I can’t take that kind of heat either! The thai massage IS incredible but I was confronted with the same realization – she IS going to feel me up and straddle me. Not sure how I feel about this. Eyes-closed policy, for sure.

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4 Meghan August 23, 2011 at 12:19 pm

Could. not. stop. laughing. I would have passed out in the heat for sure. Love foreign beauty treatments. Do not love breast exams at the spa.

I went to a floatation spa once and you got put in this huge egg with like 2 inches of salt water in the bottom (good tip: remember to put Vaseline on any cuts because it stings like a mother) and you’re floating around naked like a crazy person with so many random things going through your head. Like “she’s a maniac, maniac, that’s for sure…” or “MVENSNUP…Mars, Venus, Mercury..” and then you like zone out/hallucinate and it’s an hour later.

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5 prettylittlereckless August 23, 2011 at 4:03 pm

That is seriously hilarious. I literally laughed out loud. People should really explain stuff sometimes. My first professional massage- it was “eh” and at the end she just left me there. I had no idea if I should get dressed or what. Eventually I decided to just get dressed. She must’ve thought I’d left, because she opened the door and I was standing in my bra and underwear while she dropped a crock pot full of hot rocks all over the floor. Oops. :) Can’t say my experience comes anywhere near yours. Wow.

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6 Luda August 23, 2011 at 6:21 pm

And this is exactly why I refuse to pay for a massage of any sort.

But thank you for making me laugh with your traumatic experience! (Silver lining?)

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7 theresa August 23, 2011 at 9:09 pm

OMG!!!! This made me laugh so hard Steven heard me from outside!!! You are so hilarious!!! So funny of you not to check bath houses and descriptions….But I too have never heard of a Hammam bath. I would have thought it was a bath too!! But foreign spa’s are very different than American Health Spa’s, as you know. Some health spa’s you go to they barely massage your legs for fear of too much exposure to the body!! They wrap you up like you are in a cocoon!!! But to have your breast and stomach massaged now that does takes the cake of awkwardness and to a new level of AWKWARD!!! YIKES!!!

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8 Courtney August 24, 2011 at 3:11 am

Hahaha!!! That’s all I have to say. Hilarious post! Thank you :)

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9 Barbara August 24, 2011 at 4:51 am

If the lady was rubbing on your boobs, I could only imagine what she does to men! Yikes!

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10 emmysuh August 26, 2011 at 4:09 pm

BOOB MASSAGE?!?! That sounds awkward and also painful?!

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11 nova August 30, 2011 at 8:38 pm

Yeah I think what we all want to know is DID THE BOOB MASSAGE FEEL GOOD OR BAD?

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12 Shannon September 24, 2011 at 11:18 am

I don’t think I would need my boobs massaged. EVER. Hilarious

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13 Jodie Cory October 28, 2011 at 12:37 am

This was hilarious!

But I was distracted by the uneven CAPS. YOU’RE SCREWING WITH MY OCD!
WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS TO MEEEEEE?
..

Sorry,it just caught my attention…a lot…

Anyway,awesome post! I wouldn’t fallen asleep in the hammam. I’ve fallen asleep in a hot bath before…

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