I was not raised in a closed-door household when it came to my body. Not that we're nudists or anything, but it was never drilled into me that, "Being naked is something for the bathroom or bedroom," like I hear so many parents strictly tell their little kids these days. The four of us always just changed our clothes with our doors wide open - still do, for that matter - and I never had any qualms about running into the living room in my altogether to ask my parents a last-minute question before I got in the shower. All four of us barged in on each other in the bathrooms without a second thought, and my sister and I didn't start shutting the door when we were on the toilet until puberty, when feminine biology intervened. And up to this day, when Mom goes along on a bra-shopping trip, she comes into the dressing room with me. I was not by any means taught to go around flashing perfect strangers or dropping trou in the front yard, but I was also never reprimanded for the odd streak through the house (beyond an occasional good-natured, ‘Put some clothes on!’ from Mom as I got older). Personally, I think this was a good system; although I went through the normal teenage insecurities like everyone else, I never got the message that my body was something to hide or be ashamed of. And it never really occurred to me that other people’s families might have done things differently.
Nowadays, however, I’ve been wondering about that. As most of you know, I swim nine times a week. Four of those times are with a college class, first thing in the morning, which means I have to change into normal clothes afterwards and go to the rest of my classes. Being in that locker room, however, is really making me wonder how some of those girls were raised. There are five tiny, cramped bathroom stalls, and many of the girls stand in line, dripping and shivering, to change in them. The few brave souls who do change in the open do it stealthily, draping towels in artful manners and perfecting lightning-fast bra maneuvers. I don’t see the point. Not only are we all girls, all with the same basic parts, but we see each other in bathing suits every day. What does it matter?
Not only have I changed in enough locker rooms in my time that the excitement is gone, but I’ve also lived in Europe and been to a European (read: naked) spa, twice. I have better things to do than stand in line for a bathroom stall, where I’d knock my elbows on the walls, drop my socks in the toilet (I know me!) and drag my jeans through the water on the floor. I couldn’t care less if people are looking at me. I just do my thing and get out. 99% of the class, however, apparently feels otherwise. The only three people I can think of who have even a remotely similar attitude are E and M from high school and my current roommate R. She’s been in even more locker rooms than I have and is in training to be a physical/massage therapist, so this sort of thing doesn’t bother her, either. I mean, last night she came running into my room in her bra and thong to show off her cute new “88-cents-at-Wal-Mart” underwear, then walked naked to the bathroom for a shower, and neither of us blinked. It’s refreshing to know at least one other person who thinks like that, and it’s very freeing not to ‘have to’ care about that type of thing. But I just wonder why we’re the exception? It almost feels like arrogance – I mean, are those locker-room girls just self-conscious? Worried about being imperfect? Do they think all eyes will be on them the instant they reach for the first bathing suit strap? News flash: everyone is too busy worrying about themselves to even look at you. So what is the deal?
Hence comes the ending question: How were you raised when it came to your body, and how do you feel about this sort of thing today? Any insight would be appreciated.
Perhaps an even better question… if you had to change in a locker room, would you be a stall-waiter, a towel-draper, or a who-cares-er? :) Why?
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