Sauna talk: Taking the bones

A pet hate: people who chatter in the sauna and/or steam room. You wouldn’t know it to look at us, (though you do if read this blog) but Katharine and I visit a gym three, maybe four times a week. Normally we go at seven am, which sounds mad. But on Fridays we go after work, when it’s more relaxed and finish off with a bit of a steam.

Anyway. Recently our Friday visits have coincided with those of an obnoxious fool with far too much energy and way too much confidence. He thinks the sauna is a place to hold court. I’ll call him Big Man Plonker. Last night he was talking to an older, thankfully quietly spoken, gentleman who’s recently retired and is loving it. Turns out the older guy sort of had to give it up, because he was driving a heavy goods vehicle without an HGV licence, but no matter. Big Man Plonker says, ‘If you change your mind I can line you up with work’. Not interested. ‘My father-in-law’s got a business, it would be welding and stuff’. Older guy’s never welded in his life. ‘He likes people I send his way and doesn’t have to train-up’. Older guy will bear it in mind. ‘Starts about seven, so you miss the rush hour traffic and there’re plenty of hours for you’. Older guy quite likes retirement. ‘If I put in a word, he might pay a little more than minimum wage; it’s chips and beer money ain’t it?’. Older guy looks suitably impressed at the new life on offer: early starts and long days capped off with a bag of chips and a pint. ‘Mull it over,’ says Big Man Plonker, looking round the sauna with nod.

This reminded me of a very different conversation overheard in our previous gym steam room. This guy was talking about his now dumped girlfriend’s visits to a house shared by several men. Yes, she’d been having sex, but he shouldn’t have been so upset, she’d told him, because it didn’t mean anything: she’d just been ‘taking the bones’.

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