Elwood 5566

Bathhouse Basics 5. A 'Handbag' or 'Shopping Basket?'

Posted in bathhouse and jjimjilbang culture, bathhouse Basics by 노강호 on July 14, 2010

Bathhouse floors are always slippery and a danger to move over quickly unless you’re under 10 years of age and impervious to falling over on hard surfaces. Hence, besides being naked, you’re compelled to walk in a manner looking like you’ve just been buggered; don’t worry, having been forced into wearing open back sandals, bath slippers and flip-flops for most of their lives, the geisha gait, that nancy little shuffle of a walk, is how many Korean men and boys walk both in and out of the bathhouse.

A typical bathhouse bag

To increase your incredulity even more, why not adorn yourself with a bathhouse ‘handbag’ or a bathhouse ‘shopping basket.’ Both are used to hold you shampoo, hair conditioner and shaving kit etc, and are ideal tan ideal accoutrement to take into the bathhouse complex with you.

The bathhouse ‘handbag,’ which is waterproof, comes in various designs and colours, mine is pink and has never raised an eyebrow. The ‘handbag’ can be carried openly, adorning your mincy walk, or carried  discreetly in a larger sports bag. In the monsoon season and summer months the bag can sometimes get moldy so it is necessary to dry it out occasionally and a regular session in the washing machine will give it an additional clean.

A camper version

"Hello Sailor!"

The bathhouse 'basket'

The bathhouse ‘shopping basket’ seems to be more popular among women and is  frequently seen being carried to or from the bathhouse. I can’t recall seeing a man carrying one. Likewise, they are not all that common in the male bathhouse but being open, they are easily aired and if you own a separate small locker in a bathhouse, they will easily fit inside.

I keep deodorant, pumice stone, shampoo, mouthwash, toothbrush, shaving gel and razor in mine and as I hire a small locker in my jjimjilbang-bathhouse, (3000 won a month), I leave this permanently on the premises. Though I’ve rarely seen men using ‘baskets,’ most either having ‘handbags’ or simply carry items individually, no one has paid it any attention. I use a deodorizer in my locker during summer just to remove any damp odours. If I visit another bathhouse I use my pink ‘handbag.’

If you feel self-conscious during the ‘walk-of-shame,’ that is the transition from where you undress to the bathhouse complex,  both ‘baskets’ and ‘handbags’ are ideal to faff about in which helps take your mind off the fact you’re naked and the center of attention.

Creative Commons License
© Nick Elwood 2010 Creative Commons Licence.