Hey Banya Men! So we all love hanging out with bros getting our sweat on and self inflicting pain by jumping into icy cold water. But how do we invite the uninitiated without coming across as creepy?
I invited my Dad to come once on a trip. He wasn’t bothered by being nekkid as so much as paying $20 for a shower. I tried to explain to him the cultural experience and the steam room, dry sauna, etc.
Other friends I’ve shared the idea with and they just can’t get past the idea of it somehow being kinky. Another friend was open to the idea and I may invite him to join me at a Jjimjilbang in San Diego when I go visit this weekend.
So how about it men? How do you invite the uninitiated? Have you ever had someone have a bad experience their first time?
I've heard of that place before... Reminds me of the Russian bathhouse in "Eastern Promises" (awesome flick, if you haven't seen it). I'll have to hit it up next time I'm in NY for sure!
I think it has a lot to do with a buddy's experience and comfort with group male nudity, to put it bluntly. If he's a workout partner or otherwise had experience with "gang showers" (e.g., military), ask if he would like to go to a place to kick back and relax. (I was going to say "chill out", ha ha.) Take into account his ancestral heritage, experience with, and/or interest in, other cultures. It is a bit sad that the only culture that seems deeply bothered by this sort of thing is the Western European/Anglo-American group. It's interesting that many other groups- Russian, Finnish/Swedish, Turkish/Muslim, Native (North and Central) American, Japanese, Korean, Chinese- has a tradition of group bathing that involves high heat.
There's a Korean spa in northern Virginia called Spa World (www.spaworldusa.com). Incredible place, several baths, steam, etc. The mandatory nudity is a surprise at first, and yes, other men do look, but you get over it quickly. I even took a nap (face up) on a towel for a while. All ages, and sometimes Korean patrons bring their sons. Strictly a family place, and very relaxing.
They also have body scrubs, which I tried. A bit off-putting lying completely naked in a semi-public area of the bade pool area with a washcloth over your face while a guy in a Speedo scrubs you raw. Fortunately, I'd read reviews that told about how the guy is all business, including rearranging your scrotum (!) as he works his way around. Felt great afterward, though.
Never had the nerve to ask a buddy along. Why the shame, I don't know. But it's a great place.
I'm planning on going to a banya for the first time early in the new year. Sounds great to me! I'll add my thoughts to this thread after I experience it for myself.