February 10, 2011 by David Gillaspie
Walk into the sauna and survey the territory. Notice where the hairy fat man with open sores sits.
You can’t put a Haz-Mat warning on him, or string yellow crime tape around the area, but you remind yourself to never sit there.
In the intimate confines of a sweat-box, the big fella looks naked. Since it’s not a naked sauna, this means he’s wearing a Speedo swimsuit that disappears in the rolls and fur.
At least that’s what you hope.
Of course, all hope is lost when a pretty woman in her work-out tights comes in to warm-up before hitting the weights.
Because the health hazard on the top bench starts hustling her with his fool-proof lines of wit and wisdom.
The man with a gut so big he could use the wheel barrow for hauling elephantitis testicles starts giving the woman his ab routine.
The Speedo might be invisible, but his abs aren’t. The only ab he knows is ab-stain, as in “I abstain from effort because it’s too difficult.”
This babe magnet thinks he’s the reason anyone walks through the sauna door. He’s an attraction. He’s a difference maker.
“If you don’t have a strong core you could pull an ab muscle, which will put you way behind on your fitness goals,” he says.
When he says this he runs his hands over the glistening bag of fat hanging in front of him like a Mr. World bodybuilder drawing the judges’ attention to his most outstanding features before stiking a most muscular pose.
If the woman wears headphones, she pretends she can’t hear him; if she doesn’t have headphones, she pretends she’s a deaf-mute. If she’s a decent person, she points at the clock and says, “Oh my goodness look at the time. My class is starting,” and leaves.
If she’s a sauna girl, she stays. That’s the sauna difference.
This is when the scabby character begins explaining his problem with in-grown hair and how his skin condition is not contagious. You know, sauna talk you never want to hear.
And he’s a hairy guy.
These things happen. When you’ve had enough, hit the poolside shower and cool off. The only risk is watching the human sore leave the sauna and go directly into the pool.
Again, you can’t hang a Haz-Mat stamp, or string yellow caution tape. You will wait a week to get into the pool again, maybe bring in your own chemicals to shock the water into something less than infectious soup.
If you erp in your mouth a little, it’s time to go. Hit the dressing room shower, soap up, eyes straight ahead, rinse, dry, and fly.
Don’t look back. Don’t talk to anyone. You’ve had enough.
But you see a familiar face and wave goodbye on the way out.
Just beyond your fellow gym rat you see the sauna guy drying his butt with the wall-hung air hand dryer while he grooms himself with the same boar-bristle brush used to scrub barnacles off a boat hull.
He thinks you’re waving to him.
“Remember your core,” he says.
Your stomach lurches again. You dream of a home sauna.