I belong to a gym chain which I quite enjoy going to. I recently went to the spa section as my knees had caused me some pain and I was unable to work out.
So I am all set up; bikini, flip flops on, towel and shower stuff hanging up and I head for the sauna clutching my water bottle.
It is about 9:30am on a Saturday morning, I am hoping that it will be nice and quiet before the hoards of older women start their water aerobics class.
I open the sauna door and I am faced with five men ranging from the ages 50 - 65. I felt like I had walked into a wetherspoons. Every single one of their voices getting louder and more animated as they struggled to all get a word in edge ways. I sat down hoping that they might start to lower the tone, after all, a spa to me is a place of relaxation and tranquillity not a public house! The shouting and gestures didn't ease up so I casually retreated and went into the steam room instead.
Peace! I had sat there for a good 5 minutes in a state of relaxation, feeling the sweat bead down my body in tiny droplets as I watched my bellybutton become a pool of water, no one was going to ruin my undisturbed haven.
Suddenly the door flung open and three of the men came in squelching and nattering at high volumes. Before they could sit their backsides down on the slippery surface I jumped up and spun around and decided to go for a cold shower. Dare I risk going back in?
At this point I decided to re try my luck in the sauna. I was hoping the remaining two men had left or would be at least a little quieter. As I walked in the two men were raising their voices, continuing to be very animated whilst shouting about one of the local football team games that would be played later that day.
Now I have no problem with football talk, I actually quite like football. But as I sat there getting more and more flushed, hot and drained by their excitable loud and somewhat annoying accents. I stared at them both and interrupted and asked very politely and diplomatically if they wouldn't mind talking a little quieter.
As you can imaging this went down exceedingly well and they chose to ignore my little voice and each sentence they spoke became louder and louder, one man's voice in particular.
I sat stunned by the arrogance by these men and thought I would try another way in. I decided to use light sarcastic humour. I looked at them and said in a polite yet assertive manner "Come on lads, there is a bar upstairs for that chatter, this is a spa, a place to relax"
Anyone would have thought I had stood up and thrown an entire bucket of ice cold water over them. They immediately shut up.
But after the shock of me saying what I said, within 20 seconds the abuse started....
The most irritating man piped up and said "I am sure if we were talking about rainbows and unicorns you wouldn't have a problem" "there are no rules for not being able to talk", "why don't you just shut up" " My wife puts up with me talking like this" I was flabbergasted! What an absolute ****************, well my profanity is not going to even appear on this page. This man was a chauvinist! His poor wife too!
Not that there is any thing wrong with talking about rainbows and butterflies and I am thinking it might well be quite a nice topic to discuss but the audacity to say that the content of his football speech is the reason why I asked him to lower the volume of his voice down.
I replied "It isn't the content of what you are talking about, its the level and tone of your voice, this is a spa. Chatting is fine but please keep it to a minimum out of respect for the other spa users"
It fell on deaf ears. The one man started to be a little quieter but the one who had piped up seemed to almost enjoy the confrontation aspect and got even louder as if to make a point.
I decided that this man was not going to spoil my harmonious experience and I left retreating out of the sauna door cutting my finest glare at the vile man. I returned to the steam room, where it was just a couple sat relaxing, fortunately the other men had left.
After my stint in the steam room I sat and indulged in some quiet time on a chair. The men had now all moved into the Jacuzzi, which is where my next move usually is before leaving the spa. That day I chose not to allow these selfish human beings effect my peace anymore. So sat drifting off blocking out the distant sounds of their vulgar voices.
"Not today" I thought. Why do so many of us allow people like that to cause us unpleasantness? Why cant people treat people the way we like to be treated? I guess that comes down to values and we don't all share the same ones, which as I am getting older I am actually finding more difficult to tolerate. Humans can have such poor behaviour towards one another. Lack of respect. Manners don't cost a thing, at least that was what I was taught growing up.
I still have to complain to the gym about the men's behaviour, perhaps the odd sign might not go a miss asking to keep noise to a minimum after all that is what bars are for isn't it, not spas?
Maybe I did the right thing by saying something, maybe I didn't. I guess I just know to avoid the spa at 9:30 on a Saturday morning from now on.
Spa etiquette needs to be taken seriously!