Friday, 1 March 2013

The Locker Room

Tho not really a nudist issue as much as its a body issue, I have noticed that there seems to be a vast number of men who I would assume have body issues or rather insecurities about their genitals. Why do I say this you may ask? Well its something I noticed when I went into locker/change rooms at the swimming pool or gym. From what I have been told and I'm only referencing from my experiences between Australia and a few Asian countries Ive been in, women tho its common for women to have body issues and hangups about thighs, bum, legs breasts or any number of things on their bodies when in the change room have very little hang up about nuding up showering and moving through the locker room for the purpose of getting changed to or from their sports gear/bathers etc. Men however, typically I have not heard of any such hangups about their bodies although men never talk about their genitals with other men, will almost in every occasion I have been in a locker room here in Australia shower with their undies on, dress with a towel on and hide themselves tho not from modesty but from who knows what. Is it because men never talk about body issues? Are they really that in secure about their bodies or is it they are insecure about their genitals? Or do they simply not want other men to see their dangly bits?

In my travels to Japan, Korea, and Singapore I have been in locker rooms in all these countries and have seen exactly the opposite. Why do men in these countries seem to not have any hang ups about being nude in front of other men? Only they will know. Perhaps its cultural. when you look at the lifestyle and things that these people do for relaxation we may find the answer there. Lets pick Japan for instance, I lived there for about a year and a half. My beautiful wife is Japanese and I have spent quite a number of hours in the hot springs and public baths over there. The public bathing culture is very rich and stems back many centuries, as it does in Korea and some parts of Europe and Greece in particular.

Going into these bath houses may not be every ones cup of tea however, there is a certain etiquette involved. When you get inside you strip off all your clothes, dump them into a basket on a pigeon hole style shelving and make your way to the bathing area. The first rule in the bathing area is that you are naked in the bathing area. Yes naked!!! What a big surprise!! think about it this way, would you shower with your bathers on at home? probably not. Second, you wash or rinse off before entering the bath. And third you wash/scrub after your soak and before you get ready to leave. As little as a couple of decades ago public bath houses were mixed gender and were frequented by families as many people could not afford their own bath in their homes. Only more recently have they become gender separated due to changes in the mentality in society. Because every one is naked and this has been common practice for such a long time, the generally nudity is much more accepted in context. Most of these Japanese Korean and Singaporean cultures are less open about social nudity and nudity in public spaces however, in the context of bathing in a public bath house there is an unspoken acceptance when a man or woman walks around the locker room naked after showering or while they shave or dry hair. It seems there is no need for these men or women to scramble to put their clothes on (with some exceptions tho not so common) after relaxing in the baths or finishing a workout in the gym.

It is interesting to observe the behavior of people in different situations in respect to nudity. We are told that being nude is wrong and offensive when nudity alone is not sexualized and lewd, when on the other side of the coin, the same people that tell us "oh no!!! I could never be naked around other people and strangers!!" are happy to go shopping for bikinis that are ultimately designed to draw attention to the person wearing them. All clothing in fact has the same design factors in mind. Women are constantly bombarded with images of how they should look, and now more than before men also. Constantly being told that we are fat, or over weight or not fashionable if we aren't wearing the latest style clothing. Don't get me wrong, I love good and nice looking clothes we we go out but it doesn't dictate the way I decide what I think of my body and personality.

Is  this the demise of our individuality? Is it the beginning of a social culture which takes us to the point of not even being comfortable enough to change in front of others of our own gender? Stripping away the layers of clothing can be like stripping away the layers of societies ill conceived values. If you are nude then no body knows what you do or how much money you have. They will have to talk to you to find out more about you. Oh but that would mean I have to interact with people!!! Funny, that's what people used to do. If you are willing to talk to somebody and have a conversation you may just find they don't care about your penis, boos, bum, belly or any other part of your body.

So here we go, trundling back into the locker room. If we all spoke to each other instead of hiding silently in the corner of the locker room we may find that we are all the same. We may find the atmosphere becomes less awkward and we forget that we are standing face to face all nuded up while we rummage for our socks in our bag.

People go to the gym to look good and feel good about them selves and to improve their health and fitness. Some do the same at the swimming pools, while others are there with their children and family or friends. We all have a good time doing what we do and feel good when we do it but I feel that subconsciously there are many that don't feel good about themselves, or parts of themselves. Surely this must be the result of the conditioning of society, schools media and religious orders telling us that we need to look or behave like a model or public figure. If we are to learn to accept ourselves then we must realize that what all these groups tell us, it is not the way we should think about our selves. We do not need to be super skinny, we do not need to have big breasts or large picture perfect genitals or rock hard abs. We do need to look after our health and with that will come better shaped bodies and flat tummies, we still wont look like an air brushed pin up model, but we will be happy and we wont have the hangups we do in our lives.

If there is one thing I have learned from being a nudist, its that we are all the same and all we need to do is talk with one another. Nudists are among the friendliest people I have met and generally do not care what you do or how much you are worth. They care about the value of your opinions and beliefs and how you conduct your life as a decent human being. They care not so for the way society dictates that we must all fit a certain mold. And yes, I do change full nude, shower nude and walk to and from my belongings in the nude inside the locker rooms. Give it a try...... its not that bad.

No comments: