Wednesday, January 18, 2006

The Naked House

I did not grow up in a naked house (ref: Sex & the City episode 33). Although I probably saw my parents in their unmentionables one too many times, I never felt comfortable prancing around outside my bedroom in my underwear or less. I recall feeling so free when I was home alone and could walk down the hall to my bathroom in the nude, without worrying that my father might choose that exact moment to appear on the stairs. Even when I was 20 years old and asked my mom to change the bandage on my post-surgery breast, I was a tad anxious. (She was going to see my boobs?) Of course this was taken care of in the privacy of my own bedroom.

But when it comes to undressing at the gym, I am not bothered. Perhaps it stems from being on a swim team for eight years and having to strip in and out of my swimsuit in a small, humid locker room. I never took my bag and changed in the bathroom like a few other girls. From what I saw, we were all just trying to change clothes without anyone seeing. And since we were all preoccupied with ourselves, no one was sneaking peeks at anyone else. (I did have a few teammates who definitely lived in naked houses - they would get half-naked in the communal shower and that just wasn't cool).

When I was 15, locker room dressing was a bit intimidating. But I always assumed that when everyone was grown-up, there would be little fear in changing in front of a other women. Granted, my gym consists only of people working for my company, but even that shouldn't be a reason to hide. Yet morning after morning, I see my fellow exercisers dart into one of the two "dressing rooms" either to wrap themselves in a towel or to change into their workday attire (or both). One of these dressing room gals is a good friend of mine. I often wonder why she cannot just dress in front of her locker, especially since I know she's lived in a dorm and a sorority house where personal privacy was a luxury. Even when we stayed in a hotel room together a few months ago, she changed in the bathroom while I had no qualms about tugging off my sweater in the middle of the room. I'm not daring, nor am I an exhibitionist. But I have been one of those crazies at a Barney's sale trying on clothes in the middle of the store.

I'm continually baffled by the inhibitions of my fellow gym members, all of whom are at least 22 years old. What I have noticed is that this is a trend among mostly younger women. The older women in the locker room are usually the few that strut around sans towel, or bend over bare-assed in front of their gym bag. Is this something that happens as we get older? Do women begin feeling more at ease with their naked self? Or is it a generational difference? Are we more accustomed to privacy, so we expect it no matter where we are?


Anonymous said...

I know what your saying, it doesn't make any sense when some young women with great figures are so shy about being seen nude in the women's locker room!

On a side note however, my sister lives in Los Angeles and she worksout at the same gym as those two really cute actresses from that TV show "According To Jim," Courtney Thorne Smith and Kimberly Williams Paisley.

And my sister says that both Courtney and Kimberly are very comfortable walking around totally nude in the locker room, and that they do things like their makeup and blow-dry their hair standing nude in front of the mirrors, and are ok with it when women approach them for an autograph while their still nude.

So there are some young women who are comfortable with being nude in the locker room.


Anonymous said...

I was on my high school's girl's swim team in the 1980's, and most of us didn't have any problem with being seen nude by each other in the locker room.

Funny thing is that I new some girl's who wished they could wear a swimsuit in the communal showers after gym class but it would have looked silly, and those of us who were on the girl's swim team could have showered in our swimsuits after practice but we all showered nude anyway.

In fact I have noticed that a couple of the teen girl's who are lifeguards at the YWCA that I swim at usually rinse off in the nude in the locker room at the end of their shifts.

So maybe it is that by changing in and out of your swimsuit all of the time in front of each other does make you eventually have no problem being nude all the time in the locker room?