“I just realized that we have to be here for three more hours and my pulse began to race. I don’t think I can do it.” My husband, Jeff whispered to me.
We were sitting in the ‘Laconium’ room, (a special, mild steam bath) at the Panorama Resort and Spa in the hills overlooking Lake Zurich. We were there to ‘celebrate’ (??) my fortieth birthday. It was a spectacular surprise that the mister had been planning for months~ I was thrilled!
The Panorama is like Disney World for adults (who like pampering). All there is to do is gaze out of the massive, floor to ceiling windows at the countryside and lake further below, while lounging on gorgeous, posh waterbeds, or steam and sauna yourself in one of their seven Heavenly ’therme’ rooms, get a massage, eat and sleep. It is very much the way I imagine the Romans lived two thousand years ago.
Everyone was there to relax…except Jeff, who couldn’t because of all the nakedness.
Not everyone taking the baths was naked, some wore swimsuits, but a lot of people chose to wear just their birthday suits.
‘Come on, just don’t look and you won’t get so uptight. Try to relax -- this place is awesome!’ I tried to talk Jeff into putting his inhibitions aside for just a day or two, but this is the guy who, after hearing my stories about the naked people at my gym, won’t even go into the sauna with me there, as he might have to face nakedness on a local level.
I talked him down. We continued on trying the different ‘therme’ rooms. The cool, salt inhalation room was my favorite, followed closely by the amethyst hot steam bath. And Jeff slowly got into it. After a few hours testing the different temperatures and humidities of the rooms and about an hour spent dozing on the waterbeds, he was used to the nakedness.
At about 6pm we decided to head up to our suite for a glass of champagne, before we showered for 9pm dinner reservations. One glass turned into about two and a half and we thought it a smashing idea to go back to our favorite therme rooms for one last round, now feeling ever-so much more relaxed and open to the environment.
Standing just outside of the salt inhalation room in our swimming suits, the misters looked in and saw that it was empty. “Come on, lets go native,” he whispered. “Naked??” I asked in utter astonishment. “We‘ll have our towels on, we can just adjust them if we want to ” he reassured me.
We went into a shower and took off our suits, wrapped in towels and went into the salt inhalation room. We had the place to ourselves! We sat there giggling, thinking ourselves quite adventurous. We wore our towels tightly and properly tied for the first couple of minutes, then, maybe the salt (and champagne??) went to my head and I tied the towel around my waist. We both hooted! We were different people, daring people, not our true nudie-phobes.
We moved on to the ‘SwitzRaum’ or dry sauna, only this time when we entered, there was already a woman in there, lying naked, of course. The mister hopped up on a bench, whipped his towel off, laid down on it and shut his eyes. I did the same. As soon as the naked sauna lady left, we burst out laughing! Who were we to be so very publicly, unabashedly naked?!
We were on a roll. Tying our towels demurely around us, we walked back to the Laconium room. We went in and there was a couple sitting and relaxing- naked, of course. We stayed covered up for the time being and settled into the heated, mosaic, contoured thrones. We were really getting mellow now; should we take off our towels here, in front of two people?
We were pondering this when the naked woman said, “Is your name Jeff?” My husband looked up, shocked. “Yes,” he answered “And do you work for XYZ Company?” She said again. “Yea, I uh…” Was all he could manage. “I work there, too. In customer service! I thought I recognized you!”
We made it through ten minutes of small talk, then excused ourselves to get ready for dinner. Walking up to our room, the mister said that he didn’t think he would be able to greet that woman in the coffee room on Monday…or any day in the near future. Thank God we had decided not to go streaking into that Laconium room.
But for a few moments, we crossed over to the other side, the naked side. And just like Disney World, while I wouldn't want to live there, we sure had fun visiting.