Posted by: Jeremiah Graves | March 13, 2009

Lessons from the Gym: The Sauna


The Lesson: The sauna is the best and worst place in the entire world.

I’ve had many a post-workout sauna session in my six weeks at the gym; in fact, it has become my “treat” of sorts for working out.

What I’ve learned is that the sauna will either be awesome or it will be awful and nothing in between. Below I’ve listed the most common examples of an “awesome” sauna experience and the most common examples of an “awful” sauna experience.



a) You’re in there alone and can get your sweat on without any awkward naked conversation and you can dump as much water onto the faux coals as you see fit. It is peaceful and life is wonderful.

b) You’re in there enjoying the heat when Jennifer Aniston walks in with Amy Adams and you learn that it has just become a co-ed sauna. They bring beers, bacon and a big-screen TV that plays nothing but baseball games and baseball movies. Yet again, life is wonderful.


a) There will be at least one dude sprawled out totally naked—man parts hanging out for the entire world to see—whilst he takes up an entire bench forcing the three other dudes to essentially sit on each other’s laps…not cool.

b) Some dude or dudes will want to make small-talk. When you don’t reply, they’ll call you out on it…like you’re the weird one.

c) Some dude will stare at you…a lot.

d) There will be a sick guy. He will cough and sneeze and hack and wheeze. You’ll spend the entire time you’re in the sauna wondering if the heat kills the germs or makes them both stronger and angrier.

e) You’ll be in there alone and think things are all cool. Then like eight guys will come in and you’ll all have to sit uncomfortably close to one another and stare at the ceiling to avoid making eye contact.

f) You pass out and die.

g) You catch some odd STD as a result of all the naked butts. Your girlfriend does not believe you. She kills you in your sleep.

h) Some old man, who is either asleep or dead, is propped up in the corner, legs dangling ominously over the water bucket and ladle. You want to add more water, but do not want to be reaching between his legs for a ladle…there is no right way to explain that. Honesty sounds just as bad as any lie you could come up with.

i) Birds attack.

j) You enter the sauna and there are two people on one bench and one guy on the other. Logically you sit next to the lone dude. The other two get up and leave. You have to decide quickly if it is more awkward to stay sitting by the other guy when the other bench is open or if he’ll be insulted that you leave and move to the other bench. Note: both of these will be deemed as offensive and/or awkward…this is a lose/lose situation.

k) You end up in the sauna with a man who challenges you to see who can take the heat the longest. Your overly-competitive nature takes over and you accept the challenge. You then find out he is from Africa and enjoys the heat. You inform him that he doesn’t know what heat is until he spends a summer in Iowa. Over forty-five minutes and nearly five full buckets of water on the coals later, he bails and you win. You get home and tell your girlfriend and she informs you that you’re stupid and could have died. You scoff at her and wonder why she looks like a corn dog. You realize you’ve melted part of your brain. You curl up and sleep in the vegetable drawer of the your fridge.

l) Birds attack a second-time—after weakening you the first go’round.

m) You realize you’re in the women’s locker room and sauna. This is cool for about 17 seconds. Then you are beaten senseless by members of the field hockey team and never seen or heard from again.

n) You’re in there with a co-worker.

o) You’re in there with a blind man who just sorta keeps feeling his way around.

p) Someone farts. It has nowhere to go. The heat only makes the fart more aggressive. Everyone dies of asphyxiation. It becomes one of the most popular unsolved mysteries of all-time.

q) Oprah walks in. (note: Oprah walking in is awkward in any and all situations for people not named Obama)

r) Some dude’s crazy girlfriend comes in and stabs him to death…and then gives you her number by writing it on your towel in her now ex-boyfriend’s blood. Before leaving she tells you that she’ll be very upset if you do not call.

s) The light goes out and it’s pitch-black.

t) Some guy brings in an apple and starts eating it. (tell me that’s not awkward as all-hell)

u) There is a pig resting on the floor and no one else finds this weird.

v) You’re in the sauna with some sort of sports team. They are all quite friendly and used to spending lots of naked sauna time together. You are the only one still wearing a towel and you can tell it angers them. You are then pummeled to death by a naked men’s rowing team. Worst. Death. Ever.

w) Garden gnomes attack, riding on the backs of birds.

x) Someone comments you on your physique. You sit in stunned silence not sure if you should thank them, attack them or give them your number.

y) You get up to leave the sauna, trip and fall face first into the faux-coals, thus hideously disfiguring yourself…all because you thought you were fancy and deserved a little time in the sauna as a “treat.”

z) You come out all pruney.



  1. Awful:

    zz) You wander into the sauna wearing glasses, which instantly fog up. Not able to see anything, you try to feel your way to a bench and end up sitting directly on some guy’s lap. And if that’s not awkward enough, the guy whose lap you’re on turns out to be your girlfriend’s father who you’ve been desperately trying to impress lately.


    • …by golly that sounds awfully familiar!!!



  2. a1) You sit next to someone who’s quite overzealous about flatulence. Steamy farts rise and hang, lingering long enough to make you vomit. When you vomit, it’s all over the faux coals, and Sir Farts-a-Lot reports you to the front desk, where you’re membership is promptly ended for your “crude behavior.”

    (I worked at a YMCA. This seemed like a plausible scenario.)


    • Nice!! I can safely say that scenario would make me quite the unhappy camper.


  3. Wow. Male saunas sound quite troublesome!

    I am glad to say i have never had a bad experience in a sauna. But then i’m a girl so all we do is sit around complementing eachother on how good each others skin looks with that glow. 😉

    I love that you tagged this as being ‘violating the geneva convention’! classic!


  4. damned good article…


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: