So today at the conference there was a two point five hour session that had nothing to do, even tangentially, with anything I have anything to do with, so I got my first Turkish bath. I made the mistake of reading about them on Wikipedia right before I went in an effort to not commit any massive nude-y faux pas, which left me agonizing while I lay naked on the hot marble slab about using an institution with so many historical associations with the most exploitative kind of sex slavery. I won't say the agony stopped once the attendant came in, took off her clothes, and started exfoliating me all over; in fact in a certain moral sense it got worse when I realized halfway through that I was 75% passively ready for the dirtiest possible scenario in which the situation could go. But it was still a really lovely experience, particularly getting covered with bubbles and massaged.
But do I reccommend it? I don't know. It's causing me the same level, if not the same brand of moral confusion and disturbance the Berlin Zoo did the last time I skipped out of a conference to enjoy myself. In a certain sense I don't think you should be in a position where you should be able to pay someone to wash you for pleasure; it offends my communist sensibilities. And yet my hard-nosed capitalist side says it's my economic duty as a monied person to hire less monied people to do things for me, even things that my cultural upbringing informs me are actually my job, or possibly the F-word's, except our bathroom is too unromantic.
And then the psychoanalyzed side of me informs me it's fucking weird, though obviously completely predictable, that it's such a pleasurable and relaxing experience to be so infantilized by a woman my age (the attendant) taking a role no-one has taken since my mother when I was about three years old. My psychoanalyzed side is also informing me it's wierd I'm caring about being cleaned off by a professional when I've got undressed and massaged by a kajillion different professional therapists without ever questioning anything about anything except that it was awesome.
I don't know. My guess is I'll probably do it again, though not at a five-star hotel, because the stale atmosphere of bourgeois decadence and entitlement is probably what's killing my buzz. The thing is in view of my nut allergy my pleasures are a little limited here - about 3/4 of the food is off limits - so I'm looking for other ways to spoil myself - I guess this is why I've never travelled in Asia. Oh well, there are enough other nice things, I'll just keep eating bananas and watermelon. Maybe it can turn into some awesome new fad diet.