Flotation baths are all the rage right now. For those of you who don't live in a bougie enough city, it's a place where you lay down in a giant egg-shaped pod filled with lukewarm water, naked and along in complete darkness… for an hour. Apparently the effect is supposed to be transcendental and borderline hallucinogenic and it's most often used as a form of stress therapy for wealthy people with nothing fucking better to spend their money on. Last weekend I went to one of these futuristic bath spas called Ovarium (which sounds more like a tampon store) just to test the waters and get scammed out of $80.
I chose the "Adventure" package which includes a 30-minute Pulsar session with flotation bath, because it sounded the most exciting. pulsar sessios are designed to stimulate the mind with specific patterns of light rhythms and sound frequencies that basically make you feel like you're dreaming when you're awake. It's like science, or something. But since Idon't know anything about actual science I kept relating everything to science fiction which is to say it reminded me of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Because that character Deckard uses that device to manipulate his emotions. The Pulsar is supposed to make you feel happy and motivated and bring all of this positive energy into your life. And your life totally sucks, right? Mine certainly does. Well thank goodness for goggles that flash lights!
When I got to Ovarium I was sort of worried that I was going to enter a new dimension and be stuck forever. They asked me if I wanted an insurance receipt but I thought they were asking me to sign an insurance waiver. I actually had to ask them to clarify just to make sure they'd be on the hook if I ended being stuck in an alternate universe. Luckily that didn't happen.
Inside there were spinning crystals and rocks and pictures of space, and all the room shad spacey names like "Neptune," "Solaris," and "Orion." For the first part of my session, I was lead into a room with a leather recliner in the middle of it. I sat down and put on the headphones and the Pulsar glasses. The music sounded like Vangelis, I was hoping to put the glasses on and be whisked away on a life-changing intergalactic soul-voyage but instead the glasses just fucking flashed my eyeballs with irritating blue lights, it was like being trapped in a really bad Christmas rave. I sat there for half an hour doing nothing. I don't know if I was just bored, or if I was doing it properly, but some visions did come to me in that dream-like state: a polar bear, Aunt Jemima, Inuits, fisting, and slave songs. At some point I fell asleep without realizing it and waking up was terrifying, because I had all of these wired and shit attached to my face in an unfamiliar room, on what resembled my father's beloved La-Z boy back in Windsor.
Next it was time for the much anticipated floatation bath. Look at this fucking thing. It looks like a rejected set-piece from that shitty Will Smith movie I, Robot.
The pod is in a private room with a shower next to it. I got all naked and clean and then slid right into the bath. I closed the door and turned off the lights. The water felt slimy because of the trillions of Epsom salts that they put in it to make you float. This also means that the water burns and tastes like poison. At first the paranoia was a bit exciting. I felt scared of being in a confied space, in silence, in darkness. But besides that, there wasn't much else going on. By default, since I was along with no other option, I ended up masturbating for the rest of the time just to appease my boredom and restlessness (honestly, I couldn't think of anything else to do). I was laying in the dark, with no sense of time or space and I just kept imagining an Ovarium employee opening the door from the outside and peeking in to say "what's up?" I also farted which made my asshole severely itch and burn, so that also kind of sucked.
Eventually the water was getting in my eyes, my mouth, my ears, and everything was just stinging. After a while I kept getting in and out of the pod to thoroughly rinse off all of my orifices in the shower. That got really annoying especially in a place that's supposed to be all stress-free.
Final verdict: The Ovarium sucks. The whole thing felt like Carl Sagan's super-contrived wet dream and I basically just fell asleep and jerked off all day, which is something I could have easily accomplished on my own without my butt-hole burning and spending $80. I think the only people who would benefit from this type of thing are people with a) a sci-fi fetish, b) insomnia, or c) too much money. If you fit any of the criteria, I would say go for it. Otherwise, keep finger-blastin' in the free world.