Curious Pervert

Holly Randall
I find it totally impossible to relax; even when I'm not working my head is spinning with plans for the next day, or worries about yesterday's shoot. So, once a month or so, I check myself into an authentic Korean spa for a few hours. Now when I say authentic, I really mean authentic. The only English-speaking members of the staff work at the front desk, so if you don't specify what you want in your treatment beforehand, good luck playing charades with your massage therapist later. And there are no clothes allowed in the wet area — meaning that those with any modesty had better drop it, along with their robes, at the door. Slipping into a hot tub filled with some kind of tea-like liquid that is meant to flush out impurities and boost the immune system, I let my mind go blank and my worries drift away.

Well, at least that's what I'm supposed to do. I find that my eyelids continue to flutter open, stealing glances at the naked bodies that pass me by, on their way to the showers, the sauna or the body scrub service area. And perhaps because my eye is trained to evaluate the naked female form, or perhaps just because I'm a curious pervert, I find myself looking at these random women up and down. Young women, old women, fat women, skinny women — white, black and of course, Korean women. And for the most part, I'm repulsed by what I see.

For example, there's that middle-aged white woman over there by the cold pool. She must've lost a lot of weight because there is extra skin hanging down all over her body — her legs themselves look like poorly made Roman window shades. For God-sakes, has the Asian lady scrubbing herself in the corner ever shaved her pubic hair? Whoa, here comes fatty joining me in this little Jacuzzi, and there goes about half the water in here spilling over the top. And don't even get me started on the brunette who just came in and disrobed. Talk about stretch marks — her stomach looks like a page from the Thomas Guide! Disgusting, simply disgusting.

But you know what's even more disgusting? This dialogue prattling away in my head. When did I ever become so jaded, so judgmental? And don't get me wrong, I'm no perfect specimen myself — no female Adonis, if you will. The criticism that I project upon others is self-inflicted as well; when I look in the mirror I see an aging girl with short legs, big thighs, and fleshy arms.

This is one of the drawbacks of my job: surrounded by young 19-year-olds with perfect butts, perky boobs and long legs just isn't good for my sense of reality. What I see every day: These pretty little nymphs in cute outfits after two hours of hair and makeup should not qualify as a basis for what I would consider the norm among women today.

These physically "flawed" women that have come to this spa are, in fact, what most of us on this planet actually look like. They don't have the money for a yearly liposuction fix, or with three kids the time for two hours in the gym every day, or maybe they have a man who truly loves them for who they are, so there's no remorse in indulging in a pint of Haagen-Dazs a couple times a week. Whatever the reason is, they are here to relax (which is what I am supposed to be doing), not to be judged (which is really what I should not be doing).

It occurs to me that I'm living in a bubble within a bubble. It's well known that Los Angeles is the destination of the tan, the blond and the beautiful; this city is filled with gorgeous women. So when you take that microcosm, and go even deeper by choosing a career that selectively works only with this small percentage of physically ideal people, it's quite the jolt of reality when I venture out and actually see what normal women are supposed to look like.

Will I be less particular about the girls I book for modeling jobs? Will this ease my fears about my own imperfect figure? Maybe not so much — but the next time someone tries to tell me I'm beautiful, I'm going to actually accept the compliment.