I think they should be a thing again. I mean, other countries have them. The Romans used to have them. I think they’d be great. Why are we so puritanical that we have to bath, alone, in our homes? I mean, it’s gotten so weird that when I went to the gym (back when I was in college a few years ago), I couldn’t even dress from my gym clothes to my regular clothes in the locker room — which is the purpose of the locker room, (isn’t it?) — without other women looking at me cross-eyed. I mean, come on, there are showers there to wash the stink off, and one has to get naked to take a shower! And yes, I had a towel to wrap around myself, but one still has to get naked to take a shower! And the locker room, by its very nature, has lockers to hold my clothing and other paraphernalia whilst I put the stink on (exercise in the gym) and then take said shower. Where else was I supposed to change clothes? Well, during my time there, most of the young women either did not change at all — they probably went home to do so — or for those who did shower and change, they either changed in the shower stalls (blech, wet cloth and wet skin is grody IMHO), or they actually did so in the commode stalls. To which I say… “Ewwww! People shit in there! No thank you very much, I will continue to change in the locker room, which was designed for this very purpose.” And they could stare at me and comment all they want. I mean, we’re all women in there, what’s the problem? When did the human body become such a horrible thing? I must have missed the memo.
So anyway, communal baths. I’ve watched international movies set in contemporary times and it seems that other countries still have them. They, of course, are not as popular even in those countries as they used to be, but I think that it would be neat to have a public bath house in every city for people to go to and relax. Take a load off and get clean with their fellow citizens. Maybe if everyone got naked (or even mostly naked) with each other every once in a while, the human body wouldn’t be as taboo as it is today. I think it’s horrible, really, how people — especially here in the United States — perceive the human body as this thing that must be covered unless it’s beautiful and even then can only be shown off in certain circumstances. Bikinis at the beach are fine and good, but don’t wear them in your yard or to the store, and what’s good for the goose is definitely not good for the gander.
Anyway, communal baths… they can be fun. I remember the first time I lived in New Mexico when I was younger and healthier, I would go hiking up the mountains and hit the hot springs with my friends. We all got naked and jumped in the water. Ah, bliss. There are few things in this world, dear reader, more relaxing than a hot mountain spring and a cool beverage, when a light snow is falling. If strangers came up the mountain, well, they got naked and jumped in too. Because that’s what happened when we were there. Every time. I remember thinking the first time I went up — we did this about three times — that I’d stay in my underwear or something because as a society we have been raised to be body conscious and I’ve always been on the heavy side, even when I was younger and healthier. But then it felt weird being the only one in my underwear, so I folded up my clothes, put them in my sack, and jumped in nude with everyone else. And there we sat, all of us, chatting and drinking cool beverages in hot water with snow falling down on us and no one cared that there wasn’t a stitch of clothing between us. After about… an hour if I remember correctly, we got up, dried off, put our clothes back on (because snow is cold) and headed back down the mountain. Fun. I wish we as a society could do something like that more often. It’s nice, and if we did, I think we’d have way more of a connection to each other and fewer taboos about our body. I think. That’s my own, humble opinion, of course.