2009-12-02 / Sandy Days, Salty Nights

Hot tub love makes for awkward situations

.. ArtisHENDERSON sandydays@floridaweekly.com

Hot tubs have an undeniable appeal. There’s something about the warm water, the streaming jets, and the urge to go au naturel that inspires couples to new levels of sloppy love.

Steve Almond, fearless writer, tells about his adolescent hot tub experience in his collection of rants, “Not That You Asked.”

“One evening I jump into the tub wearing only thin nylon shorts,” he writes. “My parents and brothers are gone for the night and I am feeling — I guess the proper word is naughty.” In a bold moment, he strips off his shorts and faces a jet. “My immediate suspicion is that I’ve done something very wrong. Then, somehow, I am facing the jet again.” He ends up defiling the family hot tub for months afterward.

The true joys of hot tub love, though, are best shared. For the couple needing inspiration (as if all that hot water isn’t enough), Drugstore.com offers the “Hot Tub Game for Lovers,” where floating plastic bubbles offer written romantic cues. Cosmo magazine, too, has ideas for hot tub fun. Its online site Cosmopolitan. com gives instructions and diagrams for something they call the “Hot-Tub Hug.” Not surprisingly, it involves a lot more than hugging. They even include an explanatory “Why you’ll love it” section.

But here’s what you won’t love: lowered sperm count for men and the chance of infection for women. Sadly, all that good time in the tub can reduce a man’s little man count, and the chemicals and bacteria can wreak havoc on a woman’s delicate system. And that’s not even talking about the potential for awkwardness.

Because anything that combines 1) the possibility of nooky, and 2) a semi-public place, has the potential for seriously awkward situations. Like this weekend.

The Captain, in his infinite kindness, whisked me away for a romantic bed and breakfast stay. During check-in, the manager pointed out the highlights of the place, including the hot tub out back.

“The tub’s open from 3 o’clock until 10 p.m.,” he said. He showed us how to remove the cover and adjust the temperature, and he told us where to find the towels.

The Captain and I spent the next hour lounging around the hotel and then stepped out for dinner. When we came back, the other couple staying at the B&B were on their way out. We had the place — and the hot tub — to ourselves. Naturally, we stripped down and stepped in.

We dozed with our faces in the cool night air as streams of hot water pummeled our bodies. The tips of our fingers turned to prunes. Just as we were thinking about getting out, a figure stepped from the darkness.

I raised my hand in a mortified little wave.

“I hate to make you get out,” the hotel manager said. “But it’s 10 o’clock.” He stepped to the edge of the tub. “Let me just show you how to adjust the controls, and you can turn it off on your own.”

He leaned over while the Captain watched. I hid in the foam, cursing buoyancy. If I had known the evening would turn out like that, I might not have opted for my birthday suit. But with hot tubs, the nakedness — and the awkwardness — is half the fun. 

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