Full-body scrub at the jjimjilbang

One other first on this trip was getting a full, body scrub at the jjimjilbang. My mom and I went earlier this week, and god, I really need to open one of these in Raleigh. I want to go to the jjimjilbang every day. Maybe it’s different for men. But for me, I love the liberation of getting naked and going into the sauna area. Women of all shapes and sizes and ages are getting are walking around just as butt-assed naked as me, going from steam room to sauna to ice-cold bath to hot-ass pool to shower and back and forth. I don’t know why if I am undressing in the same room as a friend, I will turn my back to her out of modesty, but in a room full of women at the jjimjilbang, I feel totally comfortable walking around naked with other women, even my mom, who has paid too much attention to my body all my life. “You need to lose weight so you can model…you need to take aerobics” yadda yadda is what I heard in 8th grade. These days, she says I am bony, which is true, but mostly, doesn’t comment.

The point of the jjimjilbang is relaxation, well, one point is relaxation. The other point is to scrub the hell out of your skin until you are pink. You will see grandmothers do this for their granddaughters or women do this to themselves. Today, I splurged and got the ddae treatment for the first time ever, even though I lived in Korea for two years. God, I would move back just for the saunas.

When you get the ddae treatment, you pay some cash–at this sauna, 20,000KRW or ~$18, to a woman, who is dressed in panties and a bra. I don’t know why she has to be modest; maybe so her boobs don’t rub up on you when she is scrubbing you to death. You lay on a massage table, and the woman has scrubbing mitts and scrubs your whole body several times. I mean, every part of your body, from those dry spots on the bottom of your butt cheeks that come from sitting in your desk chair to long, to your bikini area, to your arm pits, to the nape of your neck.


CNN, October 3, 2013 Secrets of a Korean scrub mistress

The first time, I believe she just scrubbed me with water. The second time, she used a scrub. The third time, I don’t remember, maybe my balled-up epidermis turned into exfoliant. I’m sure I lost several layers of skin. The woman alternately asks you to lay on your side, on your back, on your stomach, and she scrubs every bit of you. I am not kidding. The entire scrub took about 25 minutes, and it was as amazing as it sounds. Next, she soaped me up and washed me with those scrubbing mitts, and finally, unfortunately, she squirted warm baby oil all over my body and gave me a quick, but painful message, which included lots of slapping with cupped hands. Ow!

My skin so so smooth! I tried to get my mom to do the ddae, but she wasn’t having it. At least she came and enjoyed the sauna. Today was a fun, beauty day in Seoul. I am looking forward to doing recon on opening a jjimjilbang in Raleigh or Cary. I think it would be a roaring success. I would need to hire some strong-armed, Korean ladies for the ddae.

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