Sunday, 8 June 2008

Sauna insights.

After the busy bit of Sunday, I like to go for a Sauna. I like saunas. I've often found them to be good places for unexpected revelations (BTW, for those of you whose knowledge of saunas is derived exclusively from reading 'Tales of the City' I'd just like to say: no, not that kind of sauna - I 'm talking about the respectable ones at your health club!). For example, it was in a sauna in Glasgow that I got talking to a Sikh and realised I had been a bit unconsciously racist for years. I first saw the planes going into the Twin Towers on 9/11 when I was in the sauna in Burntisland. And you never quite look at your fellow clergy or your Bishop in quite the same way once you've seen them in their swimming trunks at 90C! Tho' it probably was a mistake to say to the Moderator of Presbytery "Oh hello, Jim. I didn't recognise you with your trousers off". Maybe that isn't the best way to advance Christian Unity.

Tonight, I ran into one of the Vestry in the sauna. Neither of us recognised the other at first, due to strange garb and a mutual lack of spectacles. But we then fell to discussing business for Tuesday's vestry meeting. That's a first for me. But we do tend, don't we, to compartmentalise people and stereotype them? When we see them in a different setting, our view of them can change. Like the ideas I used to have about Sikhs. Coloured, dress funny, not like me :. not quite "right". But when the turban's off and you just chat normally in the sauna, you find we're all basically human. We're all pretty similar with our clothes off, really!


  1. I have a similar problem of recognition with the folk I regularly meet at the swimming pool of a morning. Sometimes they hail me in the supermarket or the town and I've no idea who they are until they speak, then of course, it's inevitable to say, "Sorry, didn't recognise you with your clothes on."

  2. Maybe this is linked to the laying on of hands at confirmation - an epsicopally transmitted affliction!