The last thing I expected to find myself doing last weekend was having a seaweed bath. I’m male. I have not embraced my feminine side. I never dallied with eye liner or wore my sisters clothes. Never the less, there I was lying in a bath full of seaweed in Co. Sligo.
Men do funny things when in new relationships. All our normal boundaries get weakened. Since meeting an absolutely amazing girl I have found myself making mince pies – an ulterior motive being that I love mince pies – on a Saturday night and now, much to my surprise, have had a seaweed bath.
I say I was surprised, but the thing that surprised me most was the realisation that I would be quite happy to do it again. It was quite an experience and now I “get” it.
Once inside the establishment my girlfriend and I were directed to a room with two baths in it. Seaweed stinks! An assault on my nasal passages was not what I would consider conducive to a relaxing experience. Before entering the room I had visions of scented candles and soft luxurious surroundings. This is not the case. A wooden slatted floor and cold tiles greeted us. Also in the room was one of those steam cupboards. I am sure they have an actual name but what I mean is a box that you sit into with your head sticking out the hole at the top.
I am a fan of seeing my girlfriend sans clothes, so I liked the idea of us having to take our clothes off to use the steamer. She went first while I waited. I now know what she may look like if she gets really angry. It looked as though the steam was coming out of her ears and only the smile on her face and the pleasant conversation kept me from taking a quick step back.
Then came my turn. I found it a bit cramped. I am over six feet tall and so I found myself somewhat contorted in order to fit my neck through the hole and close the door. I spent quite a bit of my five minutes slowly cooking wondering why nobody had thought to make these boxes adjustable. Resigning myself to it being just another heightist design like aircraft seats with no leg room I actually enjoyed it. At the end of my five minutes, with the exception of the crick in my neck I felt very relaxed and got into my bath.
Who thought it was a good idea to put seaweed into a bath? Apparently whoever was responsible for first dreaming it up was a bit of a genius. Once you get over the rather odd sensation of fronds of bladder wrack fondling your nether regions it is indeed a nice experience. The salt water is buoyant and the seaweed is oily. The thing I liked most initially was that the bath was huge. It was the first time since my early teens that I have experienced being able to lie down flat in a bath without my legs sticking over the end of it. What a contrast to the sweat box in the corner. I filled up my bath with roasting sea water and disappeared into a cloud of steam.
My better half had told me that one of her friends had got engaged in a seaweed bath. I couldn’t help but wonder if she was sure it was in fact the man that is now her husband who proposed to her that day. I could barely make out the shape of my beloved’s head through the steam, let alone any distinguishing features.
She suggested I rub the seaweed into my skin and I thought that since I’d come this far I may as well give it a try. While giving myself a good seaweed scrub I wondered to myself why her friends husband had chosen a place like this to propose. It was certainly relaxing but not what I would call romantic, in separate baths, where you can’t easily even see each other. Those thoughts faded as I became steadily more relaxed, the oil from the seaweed making my skin feel incredibly soft. I had grown used to the aroma and could easily have fallen asleep had I not been joined in my bath by my girlfriend.
Not being the sharpest knife in the block I wondered why she thought my bath would be any better than hers. Moments later I had a eureka moment. Aha, I thought, now I understand the proposal. I can honestly say that I have never experienced anything quite so romantic. Soft oily skin and being relaxed to the point of wondering if the steam actually contained narcotics added to an almost surreal tryst. Several days later it still feels as though it may have all been a dream.
I have never in my life before taken over an hour to have a bath. However, it is highly likely that I will do so again.
As we dressed to leave I noticed that the chair in the steam box was indeed adjustable.