post

Rolling Around Naked In The Snow

Couple in the sand

Like this, except in the snow

I’m headed off to Finland tomorrow for Christmas with family. Despite the fact that it’s cold and dark there, it’s a good time. Friends, family, great food, incredible pastries, and icy cold vodka. Oh, and there’s also an opportunity to get naked, plunge headfirst into a snowbank, and roll around like a dog in heat. It’s sauna time, baby!

Invented by the Finns thousands of years ago, saunas are as much a part of tradition there as watching football on Sunday is in the U.S. There are a bit over five million people in Finland, and over a million and a half saunas. Families take saunas together, as do friends. It’s not at all uncommon to have a sauna in one’s apartment. And despite the fact that everyone is naked, it’s not regarded as a place for sexy time. Rather, here’s the low-down on how it shakes out:  Step 1, get naked. Step 2, get your naked butt in the hot sauna. The temperature generally ranges from around 160 F. to 200 F, the latter (for me) being too damn hot. Find the place in the sauna where you like to sit. Finnish saunas often have more than one level, with the lower sections being a little cooler (’cause heat rises, yo!).

Step 3: as you’re sitting and sweat begins streaming from your pores, search your soul for strength to stay there as long as possible. Feel the heat. The burn. Throw water on the hot stones to get a cloud of hissing steam making the room even hotter. Do. Not. Leave. Open your mouth, breathe in the steam and heat. Start thinking about getting outta there, but don’t do it. Not yet. Man up and throw more water on the rocks. Grab twigs of birch leaves and begin flogging yourself with them. Open up those pores! Finally, when you can’t take the heat for even a second longer, get out of the sauna and run outdoors, screaming like a banshee, straight into a huge pile of snow. Feel the shocking jolt of your heart race like you’ve just been goosed with a giant cattle prod. Then return to the sauna and repeat the steps above.

He gets the heart racing.

George Clooney. Good for a healthy heart. 🙂

Once the above ritual has been completed, it’s time to shower and change into comfy clothes for phase 2, which is eating sausage and drinking copious amounts of cold beer. Now, to be fair, not everyone dives into a pile of snow. This is generally reserved for the countryside since it would cause something of a commotion for thousands of naked people to be frolicking about on the streets of Helsinki. In the city, people either just go into a cooler room located right outside of the sauna, or they plunge into a pool rather than a snowbank. Said pool plunge, however, does the trick of getting the ol’ ticker racing faster than an unexpected sighting of George Clooney.

As I mentioned, bump and grind interludes in the sauna itself just aren’t happening. Frankly, the extreme heat is a bit of a buzz kill right at that moment. But that’s not to say that one can’t have fun afterwards. After all, you’re relaxed, you’re clean, and alcohol is flowing through your veins. What’s not to love?

As we wrap up 2013 and look forward to the new year, I want to extend a very warm THANK YOU! to everyone for stopping by the website, reading my posts, and sharing your thoughts and comments. I promise you more delicious naughtiness in 2014 and beyond, so be sure to follow so you don’t miss a thing.

Warm holiday hugs,

Elizabeth

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with my webmaster, Alla. {photo credits: Alessandro Bologna}