Becoming a Kween in a Spa Palace / by Casey Whitaker

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A few weeks ago I bought a Groupon for one general admission to the Spa Palace. I thought it would be relaxing and fun to go for my birthday but after multiple gal pals expressed disdain for having to be naked in front of each other I opted for nails instead and saved the Groupon for a rainy day.

Well when it rains it pours and in this case weeks later my cousin and I headed to the spa palace where much to the patriarchy’s disgust we plunged head first into some naked hot tubs and even allowed strangers to scrub our naked bodies.  But let’s back up a bit because I want to explain all the feelings.

After being handed our uniforms and locker keys we headed into the lion’s den which was having to take off our clothes around water in front of others. We were instructed to shower before our scrub massage package ($60 for 70 minutes of vulnerable butt naked bliss LA gals go!). Immediately we were uncomfortable when we realized the showers were just out in the open, no doors. This actually made me feel better for a second because last year I had a close call in a gym shower when I got trapped inside cause the door broke and I apparently hadn’t been working out hard enough to fit through the 4 inch sliver to freedom. But that wasn’t the only memory that came flooding back, I remembered being called cute chubby by a co-worker or being 12 and someone asking if I really needed those chips or reminiscing about how my pepperoni nip flapjack titties rarely fit into my gym clothes in high school. The card catalog of magazine covers and friend’s bikini pictures at spring break burst out with a vengeance followed by shapewear ads on instagram all pointing to this ideal beauty that I don’t think I was ever truly a part of. Being curvy has never felt in style. What if someone sees my stretch marks that are not warranted from bearing children but from really liking bourbon? Or what if they catch a peek of my thick thighs dimpled with cellulite and spider veins?! And there’s no way I can strap in my back boobs if I’M NAKED!!

Society has taught me that women's bodies (that aren’t photoshopped) are not ok. Putting aside my own body shaming I must also admit that throughout my 31 years of life I have subconsciously body shamed other women's bodies too. I know I have. I have been so ashamed and scared in my own temple that comparing it to others who were bigger or shorter or softer than me made me feel superior because we are meant to compete with other woman right? Hold on, I need to ask a Straight White Male real quick to double check but I think that’s right. Actually I think I’ll just send him a pic so that he can tell me if I’m beautiful or not because his opinion is really the only one that actually counts.

We have been brainwashed into believing that our worth stems from our sex appeal in the eyes of a person with a dick. We obsess about our appearance and it seems like we are never truly satisfied.

But let’s get back to the Spa Palace. Did I mention there is free parking?!

Eventually we are led into more doorless rooms by women who’s uniform consisted of a thin bra and underwear. (See there! I did it again! Judging!) We are then motioned to take off our clothes and just birthday suit that bitch. The massage table was covered in a plastic that I can only describe as a slip and slide which became apparent later when I was covered in oil. I started face down thank god cause at least I could hide my ugly vagina. Then came literal buckets of water bouncing off my bare ass and making me feel like a featured extra in The Handmaid’s Tale. Then this wonderful woman scrubbed every inch of my body. She went places I have never introduced to my loofah. I was so clean that I am truly considering taint play for the first time in my life.

Next came an open shower but this time I was a little more relaxed and when another naked woman passed or stood next to me I didn’t stare at the ceiling and cover my bits. I felt so smooth and powerful and yet still sure that I wasn’t supposed to be so free.

Round two was just me ,a gallon of oil, and the hands of an angel. I honestly don’t know how or what or why but Jesus might be real. Again I went to shower and this time I took my hands away from my bits and let the water roll over me like Jo Dee Messina’s music video Bring on the Rain. It was liberating but I still wasn’t sold.

Round three was a facial and SHE. WASHED. MY. HAIR. What?! I literally laid there in such a relaxed state I could have farted and another human being shined, oiled, masked, and fucking washed my hair. Damn! I don’t think I can ever wash myself without assistance from now on, mainly because I don’t think I’ve been doing it right.

Final shower. I was reborn. For the first time in forever I let my hands go over every inch of me. I caught myself smiling and when I went back into the fateful open room I didn’t even flinch when she toweled me off.