Journals from the World

サウナ美人

Sauna Beauties

 

冬がやって来るとドイツのサウナが恋しくなる。それは日本的な大衆浴場に併設されたタイプのものではなく、大人のためのラグジュアリーなスパ施設のこと。趣向を凝らした10種類以上のサウナ、温水プール、エステ、レストラン、リラクゼーションスペースを備えた高級リゾートホテルさながらのスパがドイツ国内各地にあり、日々の疲れを癒し、ストレスフルな日常からお手軽にエスケープするためのデスティネーションとして通年大人気だ。サウナで思い切り汗を流して芯まで温まり、プールでひと泳ぎしてからバスローブ姿で読書にふけったりうたた寝をしたりとバカンス気分上々。

Sauna Beauties

しかしこのリュクスな空間へは、ある種の勇気を持ってのぞまねばならない。サウナはすべて男女混浴で禁断の“フルヌード”で入るのがお約束だからだ。プールやその他共用スペースでは、バスローブ姿で過ごすのが一般的だが、全裸でスイミングも出来るしサウナ外でヌーディストと遭遇することも。湿度が高いサウナでは視界が悪くぼやけてほとんど見えないので良しとしても、人気の高いサウナともなると老若男女スシ詰めのフルヌード祭り。初めて経験した時は自分の身体をさらけ出す不安があり、目のやり場にも困ったものの、すぐに慣れてしまうと人生を語り尽くすような女性のボディの有り様に、ついつい見入ってしまう。さすが骨太ドイツ美女らしくグラマーなメリハリボディ、鍛え上げられた筋肉ビューティ、重力に完敗した残念なカラダも……。ああ、女性の数だけボディあり。サウナというリアリティショウを通して、理想のカラダに近づく努力をせねばと我が身を振り返る瞬間がやって来る。

サウナを訪れるたびにドイツ人女性に感嘆するのが、どんなカラダの持ち主であれ、ノーメイクどころか素っ裸なのに実に堂々としていること。見ず知らずの全裸男性が隣に寝転んでいても怖じ気づくことは一切なく、背筋をピンと伸ばして座りサウナに集中。初対面の全裸男女がいかにもリラックスして世間話を交わす姿もちらほら。タフなドイツ人女子の心意気にほとんど尊敬に近い念を抱き、むしろ「見られている」と意識することに妙な罪悪感を覚えてしまう。それにしても全員が全員、容姿偏差値70超えとは言い難い女性たちが、なぜこうも自信に満ちているのだろう。どれだけ歳をとろうとシワやシミが入ろうとウエストが消滅していようとバストが貧弱であろうと、他人の視線はお構いなしとばかり、マイペースにリラクゼーションに興じている。顔や身体を飾る術が何ひとつない、文字通り身ひとつで勝負の空間にいて、いたって自然体で凛としている彼女たちはカッコよくもチャーミングにも映る。超個人主義な国民性も影響してか、他人と自分を比べるよりも、自分らしくあることに重きを置いている女性たちなのだと思う。心まで温まったサウナ美人たちは、何だか輝いて見えるのだ。

さて、2014年サウナ初めは義母とケルン市内の*1 Claudius Thermeで女同士の裸の付き合いをするか、郊外にある地中海テイストのゴージャススパ*2 Mediteranaで夫と現実逃避デートするか……。サウナでは今年も意外な美の気づきに出会いそうだ。

Sauna Beauties

*1 Claudius Therme
http://www.claudius-therme.de
*2 Mediterana
http://www.mediterana.de

  • No.011
  • “Sauna Beauties”
  • WEDNESDAY, 22th JANUARY, 2014 by Etsuko Aiko

When winter rolls around in Germany, I feel a strong urge to visit one of the country’s many saunas. Saunas aren’t established public baths like in Japan, but rather luxurious spa resorts for adults. These spas, which seem like luxurious resort hotels and often feature more than 10 varieties of saunas, heated pools, beauty salons, restaurants, and relaxation spaces, are everywhere in Germany. They are popular year-round as destinations that allow people to escape easily from the stress of daily life and to relieve their fatigue. It’s a relaxing getaway for me to warm myself to the core while sweating my brains out, and to read a book or catnap in a bathrobe after a quick swim in the pool.

However, you need to muster a certain kind of courage to come to these magnificent spaces, because men and women bathe together in the sauna in “full nude mode”. In the shared spaces and pools, everyone wears a bathrobe, but you can swim nude and see lots of naked people walk around in the common spaces outside the actual saunas. Even though it’s no problem in the humid saunas where vision is poor and blurry so you can hardly see anything, the most popular of these saunas are virtual piles of men and women, young and old, all in their birthday suits, crammed together like canned sardines. Despite feeling uncomfortable initially about exposing my body and not knowing where to look, once I got used to it, eventually I couldn’t help but glance at these women’s bodies, which tell the tales of their lives. Glamorous and curvaceous bodies of big-boned beauties, others with toned bodies, some that have given in to the forces of gravity… There are as many bodies as there are women. Then, at some point during this sauna reality check came the moment of truth, when I looked at myself and suddenly realized I had to work for my ideal body.

What I admire about German women every time I go to the sauna is that not only do they not wear makeup (which in itself would make many Japanese women feel uncomfortable ), but that, no matter what kind of body they have, they are confident in displaying it for all to see. They are simply sitting in the sauna with their backs straight, not once feeling intimidated, even by a totally nude male stranger lying next to them. I’ve seen totally nude men and women casually having a chat in the nude despite just having met for the first time in a completely relaxed and natural way. I feel a sense of respect for the tough spirit of German women, while I myself still cannot fully relax about getting looked at, although I know nobody cares. How can these women, many of whom deviate far from what would generally be considered beautiful, be this confident? No matter how old or wrinkled, how unshapely their waist or how small their breasts, they hardly care if others are looking, and enjoy relaxing at their own pace. Nothing adorns their faces or bodies, they enter the aesthetic battle field with nothing but what they’ve been given by nature. Their bodies look dignified and pretty. I think they place more value on being themselves, rather than comparing themselves to others, possibly because of their more individualistic culture. These sauna beauties look like their glowing from the core of their very existence.

Now, for my first sauna trip in 2014, should I go to the nearby Claudius Therme *1 in Cologne with my mother-in-law, or make an escape from reality on a date with my husband at the gorgeous Mediterana *2 spa for a taste of the Mediterranean in the suburbs…? I have the feeling that I’ll come to discover my own beauty once again this year at the sauna.

*1 Claudius Therme
http://www.claudius-therme.de

*2 Mediterana
http://www.mediterana.de