|A Steamy Interlude In Amsterdam
Walt C. Snedeker
There are some who say that the Fabled PC is somewhat modest and
shy. These people simply do not know what they are talking about.
Referring to PC's modesty quotient in normal human terms by saying
she is "shy" is about as much an understatement as saying
that snowbirds occasionally drive in less than exemplary manner.
So it was an amazing event when she agreed to go into the establishment
abutting our hotel in Amsterdam, Holland, last week.
SAUNA, the neatly-lettered sign touted to passersby (us).
"Hey! Let's go in and do the sauna-thing," I hyped enthusiastically,
"we can steam out a dozen Heinekens or so."
"Well..." PC was eyeing the group of photos behind the
glass window box which depicted a seated comely young lass leaning
casually against a wooden backdrop of cedar boards. The seated comely
young lass didn't happen to have any clothes on, but she also just
happened to be in a rather modest position that made it so that
it didn't really matter.
"It's wonderful," I added truthfully, for I had done the
sauna scene while traveling in China a few years back, and had come
out feeling absolutely grand.
"You go into the sauna first. That's the boardy-looking place
in this picture," I pointed to the casual maiden's lair, "and
pour some water on the rocks. That makes it really crazy in there."
I was warming to the description, aided by the fact that Amsterdam
was an absolutely Arctic 48o, and we were both shivering.
"Then, after about 15 minutes, when you look like a lobster,
you come out and jump in cold water." I had to hasten to the
next step, because PC's big blue eyes looked at me as if I had just
announced my arrival from Mars, and I could see that Step 2 had
very nearly upset the sauna-sales applecart.
"Then you go in the steam room. Note that they don't have a
picture of that, 'cause you can't see three feet in a steam room.
After a half hour in there, you go to the warm tubby," I pointed
to the maiden in the tubby, "and relax."
"Will we be alone?"
"I think so."
"I'm not sure I really want to do this..."
"Aw, c'mon! Hey: we're in Amsterdam!"
So in we went.
I should have sold tickets for the Titanic. (*sigh*)
We walked down a hallway to a bar. Really. A liquor bar. The young
blond guy behind the bar took our 29 guilders (about $19) and handed
us two dinky little towels, and went back to drawing a beer for
a guy sitting at the bar wearing a dinky little towel. Uh, oh.
"What do we do now?" PC's voice was tiny.
I turned around like I knew what I was doing, and pointed to a row
of lockers in plain sight of the bar (15 feet away).
"We go over there and put our clothes in the lockers, and then
we..." a quick glance showed the door to the sauna (on the
other side of the bar) "...go over there."
"But, but, but..." PC sounded like a small outboard as
we went to the lockers.
She opened a locker door, and tried to hide behind the six inch
piece of metal. And me.
Then she looked at the dinky little towel.
"I need a bigger towel." This, in a voice that brooked
no questions on anyone's part.
I went and got a bigger towel. One for each of us, I might as well
With me augmenting the door as a screen, the Fabled PC slipped out
of her laundry and into the bigger towel. I nonchalantly skinned
down and wrapped my towel around my magnificent torso, ignoring
the troupe of parochial-school children going through on a tour
with the nuns.
Onward past the bar, past the six or so easy-chair ensconced guys
lounging around in dinky towels.
PC's worried eyes made her look like a copper-topped tarsier. She
was distinctly nervous, if a crushing grip on the last three fingers
of my left hand was any indication.
There were hooks outside the sauna to hang up our towels.
Glancing at the bar (and loungers) to ensure that nobody was looking
thisaway, PC took a deep breath, and with the look that Marie Antoinette
must have worn, yanked the towel off hurriedly, and lunged for the
O, Titanic. You were a comparatively lucky ship.
When my very darling swung the sauna door wide, clad in Nature's
Garb, she beheld a sauna occupied by several strange men dressed
similarly to herself.
She shrieked once. She shrieked twice. The third shriek was a kind
of doppler as she disappeared in hasty towel-wrapping speed back
toward the lockers.
When I reached the lockers, my modest bride was pink enough that
she looked like she had at least 45 minutes in the sauna.
"You do the sauna thing, darling," she panted, dressing
fiercely, "I'll wait for you in the hotel room."
So I did. After all, somebody had to uphold the honor of American
tourism courage. (And besides -- I'd invested the 29 guilders.)
The nice part was that by the time I got back to the sauna, there
were two young ladies just entering, so the afternoon was not a
When I finally got done, and went back to the bar to get my locker
key, the blond giant looked at me and schnickered (that's "snickered"
"In Amerika, dey do not haf zaunaz mit mix-ed couples, no?"
"This they do not haf." I answered.
One last small trial occurred: as I was too-casually getting dressed
in the locker room amongst the ladies, I had to surreptitiously
pocket the Fabled PC's knickers. In her haste, she had somehow forgotten
to put them on.
The Dutch are very polite. But I swear I heard guttural feminine
giggles as I nonchalantly ambled out.