I need to share something with you, here goes…….
I am unable to shower naked. Don’t be too alarmed by this, I don’t mean when I am alone in my own bathroom, in my own shower. I mean when other people are around. The only example I can offer of this is at the local swimming baths. Friday evenings are known as swimming and mexican night in our house or at least will be until my Son swaps the swimming for street dancing lessons (he watches one film where a bunch of kids learn to body pop and he wants to join a crew!) So every Friday evening off we go to spend an hour sharing an overgrown bath of freezing cold water with a bunch of strangers.
As you can probably tell I am not a big fan of swimming, I don’t like how my feet and hands shrivel up leaving soggy bumpy grooves in my skin, even the thought of it makes me feel a little queasy. I spend most of the time holding my hands in the air as not to get them wet. This looks a little silly but does the trick. But I go relentlessly every week to keep the lad happy.
The first time I entered the door of a Norwegian female changing room I nearly walked straight back out. There were bodies in every position, of every shape, size and age all completely butt naked. I’m guessing some of you are reading this and thinking “well, what does she expect it is a changing room”. I will tell you what I expect….. I expect a person to juggle holding a towel covering up every private part of their body while at the same time drying themselves. At no point is that towel allowed to drop and bare all, not until wearing at least underwear. I do not expect some unclad woman with her back to me bending over and drying her feet!!
After the initial shock of the amount of skin on show I walked towards the corner of the changing room and began to undress. I didn’t need to wrap my towel around me, I was prepared, I had my swimming costume underneath my clothing ready for this event. On my way to the pool I knew there would be more nakedness in the showers so I quickly diverted my eyes, but I couldn’t escape from the naked chatter around me. I was alarmed to see people taking their swim wear off to shower before entering the pool. I completely understand the importance of hygiene but really… is there any need to strip naked to do this?? At the far end of the room were two elderly women chatting away as if going for a stroll in the park, before entering the sauna forgetting to wrap a towel around their exposed selves.
I am not the only person who struggles with this. My Son aka ‘The Nevernude’ is exactly the same. He is the only child to put swimming shorts on before showering after gym at school. Every week he vocalises his disgust at his Dad for joining in with the norwegian naked shower ritual and when he bumped into his head teacher in the changing room he spent the whole time staring at the wall. We have also took family swimming when they have visited from England. My Daughter and her friend refused to shower and even went as far as saying that a sign should go up in the changing rooms and showers stating NO NUDITY. If someone would have been asked to spot the english folk when my in laws visited it wouldn’t have been too difficult… they were the costume wearing people standing in the showers offering no eye contact.
In the last 8 months of living here I have managed to shower naked once. This was with a little voice in my head repeatedly saying “oh my god, I’m showering naked… oh my god, I’m showering naked”. After, I was so proud of myself that I blurted out to my Husband at the top of my voice in the reception area, “I showered naked!!” Of course this only happened once, the week after my reservations returned and I went back to being the only person not strutting around with securities of a naturist.
So, I would like to know….. is this an english thing?