As an American, I recognize that we are a little more reserved when it comes to nudity. It's taboo in a sense though I'm not 100% sure why that is. After having lived in Europe for just over 2 years now, and more specifically Spain which I think is less reserved than most European countries, I've learned that by taking away the taboo, takes away a bit of the mystery in a sense and makes nudity less of a big deal.
For instance, at home, I would never wear a bikini, or rarely. Unless you are a model, you'd see most women beyond the age of 25 in a more sensible tankini or even a one piece. At least in New England, I can't vouch for other parts of the US. If you are a woman wearing a bikini, you stand out, for sure. Here, it's quite the opposite, if I were to wear a tankini, I'd stand out more than those wearing bikinis, or god forbid, are topless! Yes, topless. It's big here and quite honestly it doesn't really phase me at all, nor the kids. Josh appreciates it, however ;) That's not to say you'll see me romping about on the beach with no bikini top, but you will at least see me in a bikini here.
I think in part that this is related to a different mindset about body image here. Old, young, skinny or fat, these women are confident in who they are and it does not matter that their bodies may not be model perfect - they are proud of who they are and will flaunt it as they see appropriate.
Let's move from the beach to the women's locker room at my gym. It's FULL of naked women. And not just women changing for a shower, but women who are just putting on their makeup...naked. Rubbing on lotion....naked. You name it, they are doing it...naked. It doesn't bother me but more just kind of feels a bit overwhelming, it's a lot of nakedness in one room. At home, in the locker room most women wear a towel and ease on their clothes by somehow manipulating said towel so no extra skin shows... I'm pretty sure I've never seen anyone at home putting on their makeup in the buff.
I tend to shower at home though... but not because of the nakedness... I'm no prude. But because I live barely a block from the gym and why wouldn't I choose my luxurious shower over the gym one? Right? Anyways, I do keep my jacket in a locker with my keys, phone, etc so everyday I walk in and out of the locker room to and from my workout. And it's the same old same old each time... lots of naked women just minding their own business.
So fast forward to my workout yesterday. Just a regular workout, my daily routine, though I was joined by my friend, Ed. So we were chatting it up as we worked out - in English. After finishing up, I went to the locker room to grab my jacket and as I spun the combination to my lock, was approached by a NAKED WOMAN whom we shall henceforth call Naked Rosa.
She started to talk to me in rapid fire Spanish (while NAKED), but even if she had spoken to me in plain old English, I think it would have taken me a moment to get my bearings. Who was this woman who was standing in front of me NAKED asking me, something? I understood her saying something about me speaking in English in the gym. At first I thought, ok, is she upset that I was speaking in English at the gym? Is she so upset that she has to confront me naked? But no, it turns out she was actually happy to hear me speaking in English and apparently was quite comfortable chatting about it in the nude.
You see, Naked Rosa was looking for an English tutor for her two children who are 8 and 6... yes, I learned that much from her while she was STANDING IN FRONT OF ME COMPLETELY NAKED (have I mentioned yet that she was naked?). I'm not 100% sure if she was asking if I taught English, but regardless, she was looking for someone. So while trying not to focus on the fact that we were having this conversation while she was naked, I gave her the phone number of my friend Maria, who does in fact teach English. We parted ways and I couldn't help but laugh at the entire situation.
Yes, I'm sure you could have imagined my face during that entire conversation or picture the things that were going thru my mind. One of them being, "how in the world do I find myself in these situations??" and of course, "ahhh Spain". But it also made me realize that while I thought I had de-Americanized myself in a sense from being uptight about nudity, apparently I haven't done it completely because it was just a weird weird weird situation.
She ended up calling Maria who called me to ask about this woman who claimed to be a close friend of mine. So of course, I had to tell Maria the story and this is why this woman is now known as Naked Rosa. I'm curious about running into Naked Rosa again at the gym... will I even recognize her if she has her clothes on????
Hope you enjoyed your morning laugh :)