Archive for April 4th, 2007

Tales from the Gym – Proselytized in the Sauna

I overhear conversations about religion and spirituality on a daily basis in the sauna. While I don’t know what denominations the silent folk belong to, the vocal ones all seem to adhere to the same shared philosophy: a blend of new and ancient faiths, with a bit of dietary, economic, and sporting wisdom thrown in as well.

A typical exchange:

“…and anyway, you have to claim ownership of your own reality. What you put out comes back to you. If you’re living it, that’s because you created it. Denial gets you nowhere. You’ve got to put good out into the world. Got to put love out there.”

“And you know what else? It just makes sense. It’s easier to be nice than to be mean. Or if not, there’s something wrong with you.”

“You know what I always say? That’s why God gave you two hands. One to take care of yourself, and one to take care of the rest of the world.”

“Yeah. … … … I need to get back to fasting. I always start strong then fall off the wagon. But I think I’m due for another round. I read the other day that fasting leads to financial prosperity. Sounds good to me!”

“I think yoga is the best for emotional release; better than fasting. You know if your finances are in trouble, it’s because you aren’t dealing with your emotional issues.”

“Me, I ask God for everything I want. Who else am I going to ask? And anyway, you’ve got to ask if you want to receive…”

It’s not an active kind of proselytizing; no one has yet engaged me in such a conversation. But if you sit in the sauna long enough, you become convinced that the above is not a spirituality, it is simply a socially accepted fait accompli. It’s what normal people believe out loud while hanging out in public secular spaces. Which is a very subversive way of proselytizing indeed.

Meanwhile, as reported by Sam, there’s a very different kind of proselytizing going on in the men’s sauna.

Interlocuter – “Hey you. You drink and smoke, don’t you.”

Sam – “Me? Um… I no understand you English-speak”

Interlocuter – “DO YOU DRINK AND SMOKE? If you drink and smoke you’re ignorant.”

Sam (sighing) – “No sir. I neither drink nor smoke.”

Interlocuter – “Oh. Well, I drink and smoke. But it’s because I’m ignorant.”

Sam (arches eyebrow) - … … … … …?

Interlocuter – “Jesus Christ!!”

Sam – “Excuse me?”

Interlocuter – “Jesus Christ understands. Would you like him to understand you?”

Sam – “Oh! Um, thank you. Have a good day; bye!”

My sense is that many French people already believe that Americans are a socially conservative, extremely religious, Christianity-promulgating group. I protest, but I’m not sure my arguments are any competition for the evidentiary proof of the saunas.

Add comment April 4th, 2007

Tales from the Gym – Delelicte’s Spring/Summer Collection

The Zoolander models are back in the sauna! Last night The House of Derelicte revealed the centerpiece of their Spring/Summer 2007 collection. Audients were stunned and delighted to learn that Derelicte has given their classic “black plastic trash bag suit” a new twist. Now, sauna-philes who are both fashion savvy and into plastic pants have the option of choosing a tube-top jump-suit. Staying close to the twin design principles of urban decay and found refuse, the jumpsuit is constructed from cheap, crinkly, thin black plastic. The innovative new design, however, eliminates the sleeves and upper part of the blouse. Instead, an adjustable tube-top ends just beneath the arms, framing the sweat-moist arms, shoulders and collar-bone of the wearer. The tube-top’s adjustable closure reveals a hint of yellow plastic – a cheeky allusion to the cinch-sack ties familiar from 13-gallon kitchen trash cans.

Once again, Derelicte proves that we can all wear trash bags into the sauna without sacrificing sexy.

Add comment April 4th, 2007