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No bathing suits allowed beyond this point. Really?? That was a curious sign. Dutch is the official language in Amsterdam, nonetheless majority of the citizens speak fluent English, so is this sign what I think it really is??
It was our wedding anniversary and Tubo and I had planned to stay some days at a luxury hotel on the outskirts of Amsterdam. It was a really beautiful hotel. While there, one night we went for a swim and then decided to use the Jacuzzi when I noticed the sign that read “No bathing suits allowed beyond this point”. This must be a twisted understanding of the English language. I’m sure no bathing suit means don’t wear your clothes beyond this point. Dah!! Of course we won’t. I mean, who would? It really can’t mean NO BATHING SUITS! Tubo and I were happily chatting away in the hot tub when I noticed this couple come in! No kidding! They were completely naked!! What the heck!! Seriously??!! In the same water space! People you are naked! You are taking this no bathing suits too far I thought. They really don’t mean it like that. They just mean don’t wear your clothes not take off your swim suits! But hey I thought, they are a young couple and probably really excited. I looked up at the time and it was gone past 10 pm and I thought maybe it’s adult’s time, you know, some kind of tradition they probably keep at the hotel.
So the next day we decided to go to the Jacuzzi earlier so that if there was some freak tradition that happened after 10pm we would be well gone before they started. And to be extra sure, I checked it wasn’t a nudist hotel, in case I’d missed that info and thankfully it wasn’t. So off I went and Tubo was to join me later. If I thought I was seeing things the night before, this night I definitely had lost my mind. I opened the spa door to a completely naked man with only the towel covering his ……. Dear Lord I thought. I’m the joke! This people really meant it when they stated no bathing suits allowed. Now I went from what the heck to blissful curiosity with a hint of shock. Now I was really itching to ask someone, why in the world do you guys not cover up? Or simply to talk to a naked person, so I can have a tick on ‘the craziest thing I’ve done checklist’. I contemplatively went into the Jacuzzi all the while looking for an opportunity to ask one of my naked companions why they do this and then my thoughts were suddenly interrupted by a group of senior citizens. And you won’t guess what! They were all walking up and down the spa room with everything “dangleable” (if that’s a word) dangling. This party just got crazier. These men and women were going around totally naked. I was the only one “fully clothed”. I bet they looked at me like I was totally destroying the mood and flanking the rules. I’m the outcast, the rebel, the arrogant lady and yes the crazy one. This was just too much! Now more than before I desperately wanted to ask someone what this hotel was about? Is there more to this hotel than meets the eyes? Are they going to suddenly turn into werewolves or something sinister?
I got out, took my thoughts with me and looked for a spot in the spa that had not yet been graced with some naked bodies and aha! The Sauna was empty. I took my “clothed self” there contemplating how I would go about talking to someone without feeling out of my depths. You’ve got to understand, even though by now I had a burning desire to find out why, I couldn’t bring myself to talk to a naked man or woman. Where would I begin to focus my eyes? If I try maintaining eye contact, my mind may well go into that dare devil game to try and get me to peek at some other parts of their bodies besides their eyes and even if I focus hard on what they are saying, I would have to try even harder not to suddenly burst into uncontrollable laughter or alarming shock at the thought of talking to a naked man/woman. While I was going back and forth with this madness of pure shock and inexpressible hilariousness, there he was. This fully naked man, walked into the sauna and sprawled himself across the bench. Just me and a naked man. No way! In that moment I realized that courage and vulnerability are not mutually exclusive. There are times you feel really scared of taking an action or a decision but you know you have to and in those moments you have to confront your insecurities, uncertainties, fear etc and simply do what’s in your heart. For me it was talking to a naked man, for you it may be something bigger but we will always find ourselves at those cross roads where we either take the leap and jump and be forever free or surrender to the vulnerability and hide and be forever bound. So for me, I chose to jump and I opened my mouth and began to speak to this graciously naked man and oh my I would love to tell you what we talked about, but if I do I’ll have to kill you :-)
So your turn. What area’s have you found yourself lacking in courage or what areas have you experienced vulnerability and courage and how did you find your way?
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