#61-62. Visit a Bathhouse (& Plunge in an Ice Cold Pool).

As I obnoxiously keep mentioning, I got engaged last month. Josh surprised me in NYC with a [plastic] ring… and an extra two days in the city. There is a reason I am marrying this guy, and it is because he’s just awesome and thoughtful like that. He’d looked into the two of us spending some QT at a spa & at the urging of our hotel concierge (which can be dicey; who knows what businesses give them kickbacks), he selected Aire Ancient Baths. Good choice, Joshua. Good choice.

Now, in theory, I love the idea of checking out a cool bath house experience. It sounds so luxe and relaxing, not to mention sexxxy. But then I started thinking about it. So, would we be naked? Are there other people in there? Is it coed? And what if we, like, saw some gross couple conceiving a baby or something? I mean, people get it on in some bathhouses, right? And then there was the fact that even if we DID have to wear a swimsuit, I hadn’t packed one with me. So…

Turns out, swim suits were mandatory (phew… one scary thing at a time, please). “Lucky” for me, they had loaner suits available (ick!).  I was envisioning a skimpy two piece like I saw on their website; instead, a locker room attendant handed me a black one-piece cut very, very low on the hip (read: almost like a boy short, which made for stumpy looking legs). The back dipped about eight inches below my shoulders, meaning 86 percent of my back was covered in rental spandex. They topped it off with mandatory white aqua socks, which had me feeling a bit like this:

Let's party!
Let’s party!

I could not have felt less attractive, but then they gave me a robe to wear and led me to the pools where I met up with Josh. The lights were dim, everything was candle lit, and I forgot about my ridiculous get up in about three seconds flat. Check out how cool this place is:

There were something like six different pools and a big steam room. About 16 other people, mostly couples, but also a few groups of friends, populated the space. We all had plenty of breathing room. A soft-spoken woman led Josh and I on an orientation– here’s the salt pool, the whirl pool, a hot pool, two freezing cold plunge pools and one last warm pool that, with all its nooks and crannies, looked like a make-out session just waiting to happen. We were instructed to slowly move our way through the pools.

There’s no particular rhyme or reason to the order, just whatever works best for you. We decided what worked best for us, initially, was secretly spying on this other pair for a bit until we could figure out their relationship status. I’d bet Josh that they were “girl & her gay best friend”; he thought they were just an oddly matched couple. Josh won about 20 minutes in when they started smooching in the hot tub. Ah, rats! For the record, there was some PDA action, but nothing crazy. And I mean, we’d just gotten engaged 12 hours earlier, so it’s not like we left room for the Holy Spirit the entire time.

We spent about 90 minutes lounging in the different pools, taking short breaks in the steam room or relaxation area, where the served excellent tea. My favorite part was the salt water pool– which is configured to be the same saltiness as the Dead Sea and locked in at a 97 degrees. You float effortlessly. I fell asleep at one point. It was awesome.

You want to get in that pool , dontcha?
You want to get in that pool , dontcha?
The hot pool... 102 degrees of awesomeness.
The hot pool… 102 degrees of awesomeness.

My least favorite pool was the ice bath (50 degrees!). You’d think after spending an hour or so in hot water, you’d be game for a taste of the arctic. Not me– I can barely brave an 80 degree swimming pool. Josh double-dog-dared me to get in, so after five attempts throughout our session, I finally made it all the way under (#61). I guess it was refreshing.

The ice bath (50 degrees) and cold pool (57 degrees).
The ice bath (50 degrees) and cold pool (57 degrees).

We wrapped up the experience with 30 minute massages. I fell asleep five minutes into the experience and woke up around minute 29, so I think it was good. Afterward, Josh and I headed back to our respective locker rooms & cleaned up & went to John’s of Bleeker Street for pizza. It was the perfect day, even if I had to wear an ugly swimsuit. In fact, maybe next time I’m at a bath house, I might secretly wish it was swim suit optional.

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