I grew up going to public bathhouses in Korea. We didn't have a room for bathing at home, so about once a week, my mom would take us to the bathhouse and we would pay a couple of bucks per person to use the facilities. (We did have an outhouse type of "room." It was a square cemented closet like room with a deep hole in the ground.) The bathhouse was kind of like a spa inside... except it wasn't a luxurious thing for us to go there but just a necessity. There was a tub full of hot water and cold water. Bunch of showers everywhere. Little short stools (looked like step stools) with a hole in the middle for us to sit on. The hole was so that water wouldn't pool.
We would soak in the hot water and then my mom would use a scrubber that looks like this to scrub us clean. It hurt like hell. Especially when she scrubbed my armpits.
Just the other day, I was taking a bath and was scrubbing myself with the above scrubber (except it was yellow), and I had a thought that I've had many times before. I wondered if White people ever scrub off 때. 때 is a Korean word for dead skin and other dirt that accumulate on your skin that comes off when you scrub your skin very hard after soaking in hot water.
And then I wondered, do White people HAVE 때? I am pretty sure they do because, I mean, most of the dust in a house is actually dead skin cells. Right?
And then I thought, I must blog about this.
I once heard that there are actually tourists who come to Korea to get scrubbed by the ladies who work at a bath house and whose jobs it is to scrub 때 off of people. I remember seeing them in the bath houses that we used to go as a child. We never used them because they cost like ten bucks.
I also vaguely recall some Hollywood Celebrity talking about a Korean spa and how she loved getting scrubbed by the Korean ladies there.
Anyway, this curious mind wants to know... are you White? Do you have 때? Do you scrub it off?
(The romanized pronounciation of 때 would maybe be something like tdae. The sound doesn't really exist in Enligsh, as far as I can tell.)
My husband gives the boys their baths most of the time but I did scrub the older boy once and remember thinking that he was relatively "clean." Or maybe he just hadn't soaked in the water long enough... or the water might have been too lukewarm. I'm gonna try scrubbing them sometime in the near future.
- Mary, a 때 scrubber, is in a rather silly mood.