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  • Ann Zuccardy

How I Lost My Korean Spa Virginity


Two weeks ago I had the some of the most fun I’ve ever had with my clothes off.


And it was G-rated!


My friend Jen and I spent about 7 hours in a Korean spa in Centerville, Virginia. I was a Korean spa newbie so one would think Jen would show me how to conduct myself, but nooooooo, she let me stumble through it, laughing all the way.


Upon arrival, guests receive an ugly orange shirt and shorts. No shoes are allowed and you must wear the “prison uniform” in common areas.


First stop was the women’s locker room which lead to the bade pool area for women only. The men have their own pool area too. Did I mention this place is the size of a Wal Mart?


The bade pool area features all kinds of water fun - underwater jets and a multitude of temperatured small pools to target whatever body part needs it.


The only rule of the bade pool is you must be naked. My first mistake was walking in clothed in my orange jail garb. A tiny Korean lady yelled at me as she shooed me out. On my second attempt to enter the bade pool, I grabbed a towel the size of an iPad and tried again.


I overcame my modesty quickly when I saw women and small children of all shapes, ethnicities and sizes walking around in the buff like it was the most normal thing in the world. I learned to alternate the hot tub with the cold tub. Behind a 5-foot wall in the bade pool area, lines of naked women lay on rubber covered tables as Korean women in sports bras and panties, scrubbed them vigorously and dumped buckets of warm water on them. More about that later.


After that, we donned our hideous orange outfits and we shuffled to the 7 coed poultice rooms. Each room helps balance and heal different bodily functions. My favorite was the red clay ball room. You lay on the floor in a heated ball pit of tiny clay balls. Jen and I were surprised we didn’t get thrown out of the ice room, where the walls are permanently lined with frost. Think old freezer thats never been defrosted. It was cool. Literally. We wrote our names in the frost and laughed so loud, we expected a Korean lady to chase us out.


The amethyst room was in a structure that looked like a large outdoor pizza oven. Beautiful mosiacs of nature scenes made from amethyst, quartz and other colorful stones made me not notice the 150 degree heat.


If guests get tired, they can grab a mat in a large common area with a heated tile floor and have a snooze on the floor. But how could I nap when there was so much to explore?


I returned to the bade pool area for my scrub. Naked again, I was instructed in broken English to lay on the rubber covered table. My scrubber put a towel over my eyes which made me feel vulnerable because I was naked in a long line of other women having the same treatment and I had no idea what was coming next until…my practitioner dumped a bucket of water on me and commenced scrubbing with what I suspect was loofah and abrasive, stinky Comet like my mother used to clean the bathroom when I was a kid.


Let’s just say every part of my body received a good scrub. I’m glad I couldn’t see the crud that came off me.


My skin was as smooth as Frank Sinatra’s voice after an hour.


If you’re looking for a fluffy white robe, modest spa experience where you drink cucumber water and the locker room is full of wealthy white stressed out soccer moms, you probably shouldn’t visit a Korean spa. But if you’re anything like me you’ll love it.


After Jen and I went to a Korean Japanese fusion restaurant in the same strip mall as the spa. There was not a chain restaurant to be found, thankfully. Only Korean restaurants and an H Mart and a K Mart.


Jen patiently taught me how to do a sake bomb. The food was spicy and fragrant and the service friendly. And the sake bomb made me loopy.


I loved the Korean spa so much, we’re going back in March.


And I’ll get another violent scrub because I’m pretty sure that my skin is now softer than it was in 1962 when I was born.


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