as a treat to myself for breaking down my art installation, “elderly in america” that was up for 3 days at intersection for the arts; and hauling 12 rusty metal gears and wheel-like things, 4 old chairs, a vintage slide projector, 4 glass vases, 2 bags of gilded avocado leaves, a red rope, a bunch of feathers, and a variety of lighting options down 2 flights of stairs by myself (decided to give my usual art roadie partner a break) and across Valencia St to pack into my car – I decided to go to osento.

osento.jpg everyone and their sister has been telling me about this place and after coming to valencia st (in the mission in san francisco) for the past 3 weeks (40 minutes from HMB), I finally got up the courage to go. I figured since I was sweaty and was going to pepe’s party at the Artaud, I might as well go take a shower and sit in a hot tub – that wasn’t so hard was it?

osento bathhouse for women, 955 valencia street, was the perfect place to pamper myself for not very much money. I got the grand tour of the place when I said I it was my first time. the place was filled with women of all ages, sizes, and shapes, a group of 20 year olds, older women friends, solos, latin, black, white, asian, redheads, blondes, and brunettes.

Osento’s policy is, “all other females 14 years and older of all races, colors, sizes, abilities, religions, affectional persuasions, pierced, tattooed, or other body modifications are also welcome here. Lesbians, straights, bisexuals, stone butches, spiked hair, no hair, blue or pink hair, grandmothers, granddaughters, professionals in business suits, strippers, blue collar, white collar, no collar, union, non-union, and all other females are welcome at Osento.” Guess I fit some of those categories!

after paying, I put all my stuff in the locker which was in the front room resting area where were women relaxed on cots. then I took a shower outside before I slipped into the hot tub and my body melted into the luxurious hot liquid. after a bit I wandered out to the cold plunge and braced myself for the tinglies, but the water was not icy cold, just pleasantly cool. I could hear the voices of women laughing and chatting above me, on the benches on the upstairs deck. It felt so comfortable and pleasant to be in a women only zone.

the two saunas were built in large wooden barrels with hot lava rocks and ladles of water to steam up the spaces. two women were enjoying the steam while talking about the green tortoise bus trips which I guess still exist, going out to alaska and mexico. they mentioned they had been coming to osento for 20 years!

on a whim I decided to take the 8:15pm thirty minute massage. I haven’t had a massage in years. I don’t know why but after I got into a relationship, taking care of myself with bodywork went out the window. well, i have to say, I had forgotten what a heavenly experience it is to just give your body over to some one and have them work their magic. julia was terrific. she said she had 30 minutes to get me relaxed and my shoulders needed real work. she did a terrific job, including a major machine gun fast tapping or should I say beating on my back. I felt like I was meat tenderized. my partner could not figure out why I looked so terrific when I got to the party and I only smiled and decided to keep it my secret since it was torturing him so much.

from now on I am putting a new routine into my life now – osento once a month and hopefully I will drag some other girlfriends along, or not!


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