The Sauna Effect

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The Hot Box

There are several misnomers and stereotypes about life in a fitness center sauna. It is my duty to dispel those rumors.

First and foremost, the sauna at my local gym is not overrun by former-KGB, towel-wearing, Russian oligarchs, with white chest hair and scary accents. In fact, that couldn’t be farther from the truth. These intimidating men are from Uzbekistan, and it’s best not to lavish them with praise of “Mother Russia.” They hate that.

Second, despite a campaign of misinformation, you can enter the sauna wearing clothes. In fact, one guy at my gym insists on remaining fully clothed the entire time he is in there, long pants and all. Everyone else in the sauna stares at this handsome young man, while their own tallywackers hang about in broad daylight.

Okay, I admit it. I am the fully clothed individual in the above-mentioned true story. Tallywackers should not be free to hang about in the public sauna, and I therefore consider myself an anti-public-tallywacker–displaying individual.

The health benefits of life in a sauna are immense. In scientific terms, saunas are hot, which produces sweat, which in turn causes blood vessels to dilate and increase blood flow. Now, many of you are drawing logical conclusions about increased blood flow and erections lasting longer than four hours. Your assumptions are not wrong. In fact, I have witnessed tallywackers that were not hanging about. It was horrific. This is yet another reason to wear pants while in a sauna.

Assuming you aren’t the conversing type, how do you keep yourself busy in a sauna? You have several options. One guy—we’ll call him Stan—enjoys singing songs from Pit Bull, presumably as Pit Bull is singing the songs to Stan through his ear buds. Now, Stan doesn’t have a particularly appealing voice, so one-man karaoke in a sauna is not recommended. Don’t be like Stan.

My preferred method of passing the time is to text everyone I know while pretending that I am a rogue CIA operative on the run from several bad guys and navigating the thick and humid climes of a jungle. I rarely get caught by the bad guys because of my guile and ability to think on my feet. I’ve never asked, but I suspect that the recipients of my texts find my stories highly entertaining, even if they ask me to stop.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t warn you of what I like to refer to as the Prisoner–Sauna Effect. The way my fitness center sauna is configured, it allows you to peer out into the men’s locker room through the window on the door. There, you can see and hear the non-sauna participants laughing and carrying on, while you stew in your own puddle of sweat, yearning to be free and eager to inhale clean, cool oxygen.

While you are free to leave the sauna at any time, it can be fun to pretend that you cannot. Fully engulfed in my role of sauna prisoner, I even shouted over to Stan once, “What are you in here for?”

He removed his ear buds, turned to me slightly (but enough that I could see his tallywacker), and said, “Public nudity.”

Well played, Stan, I thought to myself. Gross, but well played.

2 thoughts on “The Sauna Effect”

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