When I was in Russia, I went to a bathhouse.
When Roman (my buddy who invited me) informed me we were going to a bathhouse, I politely said no thanks. No. Uh-uh. Nyet. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t give a rat’s ass what goes on in a bathhouse, but I’m not at a point in my life to go to one. Call it homophobic, call it what you will, but I wasn’t ready.
“It’s not what you think,” he told me.
Well, Roman had never given me a reason not to trust him, so I went.
The day we went, there were 6 of us. Roman, Deemka, Tasha, Tasha,Rouslan (the spelling on all these is undoubtedly fucked up, but I don’t speak Russian, much less spell it)and myself. We piled into a rented van with much beer and dried fish. As it was about an hour and 1/2 drive, by the time we got to the bathhouse, I was on my way to be pretty buzzed.
We arrived at the bathhouse office, signed in and were taking to the building. My first surprise was it was huge. The bottom floor had a sauna, a huge tub of cold water that sat right outside the sauna and a good size area to change. The second floor held a couch, tv, radio, pool table and a huge deck with a dining table.
It was weird because as soon as the manager left, everyone just stripped down to nothing and through a towel on. Having never been in the military, I faced the corner and delicately removed my clothes. Hell, I’m a stall guy by nature, so when I say weird, I mean it wasn’t something I was accustomed too.
The first thing we did was hit the sauna. We sat and sweated for awhile, then we jumped in the huge tub to cool off. Then we went upstairs for food (shrimp) and vodka.
Then we went and hit the sauna again, then the tub, then the vodka.
About the fourth time in the sauna, Roman told me to remove my towel, lay on the bench on my stomach, and turn my head to the wall. WHOA! Hold on tiger! No way!
Again, he laughed. “Trust me,” he said.
The trust came a little harder that time. But I did what he asked.
Something hit my back.
It felt leafy and damn if it didn’t feel good.
I turned my head to see what was happening and Deemka was beating the shit out of my back with two tree branches that had been dipped in hot water. And he was naked.
I turned back to the wall.
As mentally uncomfortable as I was, that shit felt good. Let me tell you something, you haven’t lived until a naked guy beats you with a branch. My only regret is it wasn’t a naked woman. Then it would have been perfect.
After our time was up in the bathhouse, we went to the restaurant located on the property for more good food and vodka. Nothing like drinking 2 bottles of great vodka, delicious appetizers and fantastic meal for 6 people for about 50 bucks.