Archives for category: spa

IMG_2873Each winter, when it’s too cold outdoors for going topless, we round up our gang and head to our favorite spa for an evening of fun in the sauna, steam room, and lemon-filled soaking tubs.

IMG_2895IMG_2894Usually we wait until December, but this year we couldn’t because the spa is about to undergo extensive renovations — so we had to get in before the wrecking ball came.

It was hardly a hardship. Warm as September and October were this year, November has been, as people used to say, as cold as a witch’s tit. (Why did they say this, we wonder. Would witches have abnormally cold tits? We count some practicing witches among our membership, and haven’t noticed any particular mammary hypothermia.) In any event, it’s been cold, and the warmth of the spa was welcome indeed.

IMG_2889As was the excellent company. Twenty-one of us showed up, ranging from old friends to first-timers, and in addition to the wonderful facilities, we all enjoyed fabulous massages at the hands of the spa’s crack therapists. (Afterwards, a dozen of us commandeered a quiet room and treated ourselves to fabulous follow-up massages at our own hands, about which we will discreetly say no more, except that the MLTEK Bullet plus Trojan H20 is one powerful combination.)

IMG_2903But for all the physical pleasures (and they were many), the greatest satisfaction was just getting to relax with a group of thoughtful, smart, interesting women, and not being self-conscious about our bodies or anything else. “Just humans being human,” as one member put it.

IMG_2868IMG_2904IMG_2913If you’d like to try just being human with us sometime, we’d love to hear from you. Our email is toplesspulpfiction@gmail.com and all women are welcome.

No reason to spend the winter shivering when warmth is close at hand.

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img_6757There are no bigger fans of the Yuletide season than we — individually. Bright sparkly decorations on normally drab buildings, music everywhere, candy-striped leggings and floppy velvet hats…what’s not to love?

But as a group — as a group we require warmer temperatures to do what we do, namely go out without layers on (without even one layer on, specifically). Which leaves us hunting for warmer climes. And in New York City that means a spa.

img_6788img_6781It means soaking in a hundred-degree tub with whole lemons floating in the water.

img_6748img_6824img_6821It means breathing deep of the herb-infused steam in a glass-walled steam room, and enjoying the radiant heat beneath the mats of a wood-paneled relaxation room.

img_6874img_6878It means holing up in an igloo made of jade and stone and letting it bake us like a stromboli.

img_6851It means spending an evening blissfully naked with two dozen friends, enjoying warmth of another sort, remembering that even in 2016 there is kindness and love and people to share them with.

img_6743img_6912img_6943img_6931cimg_6833And because a few of us couldn’t make it to that spa evening, it means a trip to a second spa a few days later, for a more intimate do-over.

img_1529img_1549img_1560img_1586img_1575We’re very relaxed now.

Hoping you’re the same.

 

IMG_9497Normally we hit the spa in December because it’s too cold to get naked anywhere else — when it’s freezing outside, you need that hit of heat from the sauna and steam room just to prove you’re still human under your icy carapace. But this year it was 70 degrees in New York on Christmas Eve.

We met at the spa anyway.

Because, tradition. And really there’s no wrong time for a spa visit with friends.

IMG_9461IMG_9465IMG_9490You’ll notice the photos this time are somewhat grainier than usual. Low light conditions combined with steam and such are our excuse. Probably we were also lazy about the camera settings. But we thought you might enjoy joining us anyway. And it gives us an excuse to wish you a Merry Christmas if that’s what you celebrate or an early Happy New Year if it’s not.

Hope you got everything you were hoping for or dreaming about.

We did, at least for one evening. 🙂

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IMG_9397For most of the year, each person at one of our events reads whatever she wants, and though we share recommendations, we don’t generally swap books with one another. But once a year we do, at our annual Secret Santa book exchange. Last year, we held it at a science-fiction bookstore in Brooklyn (an excuse to get naked amid row upon row of wonderful, lurid covers); this year, we chose a spa in Koreatown called Juvenex. Which meant that in addition to a wildly eclectic and intriguing selection of books (see photo, below) we also got to enjoy soaking tubs filled with floating lemons, a sauna shaped like an igloo, a steam room so powerful none of us could take it for more than 5 minutes (but what minutes they were while they lasted!), and a variety of scrubs, massages, and facials. Oh, and tea and melon and pineapple. Yum.

We were joined by a journalist from Styleite.com who steadfastly remained clothed even in the steamy spa environs, despite being surrounded by 17 naked women (and one equally naked man). We felt bad for her! But who knows? Maybe next time she’ll feel confident enough to join in.

And now: on to the real Santa! Just a week away. We’ve been good, sir, we promise! In any event, we’re confident we won’t get lumps of coal in our stockings. Because, well, no stockings.

Merry and Happy, to all our fans and followers, and may 2015 be a glorious one, with nudity and justice for all. 🙂

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IMG_8745Ever since Athena closed over the summer, we’ve lacked for a spot to visit to warm up on cold days and dry off on rainy ones, a spa where management understands that saunas are best enjoyed in the nude and that women and men can share such facilities without there necessarily being anything sexual about it.

But today, at last, we christened a new favorite spa. We’re going to keep its identity to ourselves for the time being, but it’s lovely and well run, and if not quite as large as Athena or as roomily arranged, it has a charm all its own. As usual, a spa environment is not the very best for taking photos, so forgive, please, the grainy/fuzzy quality. But we wanted to share with you some of the joy of this oh-so-joyful afternoon.

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IMG_5704For the past four years, anytime we wanted to take a break from the great outdoors (whether it was too cold or too hot or too wet or whatever), we’ve retreated to Athena Spa, a two-story refuge in midtown near Madison, where they let us take over one of the floors and roam free. We’d hang out reading in the Hwangto dome sauna or inhaling the burning, herbaceous steam in the wet room or sipping drinks and nibbling tasties in the lounge or getting the kinks worked out of our backs and shoulders and butts and calves by their talented masseuses. All naked, of course. You haven’t lived until you’ve seen six or eight or a dozen New Yorkers, many of whom have never met before, walk in off the street, take off every stitch they’re wearing, and luxuriate in the combined bliss of pampering for the body and sparkling conversation for the soul.

Well…nothing lasts forever, alas, and after more than a decade of chasing winter chills and unlocking clenched trapeziuses, Athena is closing its doors at the end of July. It’s the classic Manhattan story: they lost their lease. The owners are directing customers to another spa further uptown, but…it’s not the same. Not even close.

So we returned this week for a farewell bash. Toasted the old place with champagne and SkinnyGirl…brought some Amy Tan, some Stephen King, some Hard Case Crime, some PREACHER…brought together members originally from the UK and Poland, from L.A. and Atlanta and Ozone Park, an NYU frosh and an MIT grad, a downtown artist and an upper west side novelist, and enjoyed four hours or so of unmitigated pleasure.

Goodbye, Athena. You were special, and will sorely be missed. (And we mean “sorely” literally.)

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IMG_4726Today was originally going to be a park day for us, but the morning dawned dreary and forbidding, so we hit our favorite spa instead, for an afternoon of massages and steaming and sauna-ing (and reading: today’s books included The Hunger GamesThis is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz, and our almost-finished copies of The Twelfth Planet and Hunt Through the Cradle of Fear).

Discussion topics included the death of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, how much we love the smell of books (sniffing of sample pages and bindings ensued), the pleasures of old-time radio shows, how many calories are in a red velvet cookie, and the pros and cons of clitoral hood piercings.

All in all, a decadent day of pampering, topped off by mimosas during and ramen after. Almost enough to make us not miss the park…


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