What Stace had to say on Friday, January 14th, 2011
Are you naked?

Two quick things before I start:

1. I anticipate opening the neato new revamped much bigger Downside Market on Monday. It will be at Spreadshirt, and I’m really excited; I’ve got a ton of new designs and I’m really hoping everyone thinks they’re as much fun as I do. So make sure to stop in on Monday to get the link!

2. I’ve done a new spiffy print version of the Strumpet series, on Createspace! For only $4.99!! I’m really, really excited about being able to offer it at that price, and it was tons of fun to do. So I’m quite pleased. It’s a 130-page paperback, and you can get it on Amazon here or on Createspace here. And as always, if anyone who’s read and enjoyed the series–either here on the blog or through purchasing it–would take a few minutes to write a little review somewhere that would be much appreciated.

SO. Last night the hubs and I were hanging out in the living room, and for whatever reason the conversation turned to nudity. Specifically, how long does it take a couple to be totally comfortable being naked in front of each other–not in an intimate situation, but in a “I’m just going to sit here naked and talk to you for twenty minutes” kind of way. And of course that’s different for everyone, but it was just an abstract talk.

In the course of it, I mentioned that I think men are in general more comfortable being naked. They don’t seem as shy as women about their nudity. And my speculation was that A) That’s because men have less to hide, by which I mean that a shirtless man is something you see all the time in the summer, but a shirtless woman…not so much. When men get hot they can be bare-chested. Not so with women. and B) That men are more accustomed to being naked in front of people because of showers after gym etc., whereas women didn’t have that.

The hubs was frankly astounded. It had never occurred to him that girls in school weren’t forced to strip down and shower in a communal shower just as much as guys were, and it shocked him to hear that no, we were never forced to do that. We weren’t even encouraged to do that. When we did our two-week swimming segment, we generally rinsed off while still wearing our swimsuits, then wrapping a towel around ourselves, drying off, then stripping and re-dressing under the towel. Or at least waiting to release the towel until we had bra and panties on.

Perhaps it was just my school or school system. But I can’t be the only girl who was essentially raised to keep hidden, you know? Being in underwear around other girls wasn’t necessarily a big deal–although for us late bloomers it was a whole different, and very painful, set of problems–but naked? Not something I ever did, or do. (But then, I read something a few years back where a girl mentioned that she and her friends had compared ladyparts one night. I can’t imagine doing that. I once knew a girl who was very open–literally–about being naked. Certainly were there a problem I wouldn’t be uncomfortable asking the BFF for help with something, or with helping her, but I can’t see us sitting around just thinking it would be fun to look.)

Anyway. I think it does change as you age. I think adult women in locker rooms are probably not as self-conscious. But I don’t think young girls are taught to be as comfortable with their naked bodies as boys are, and I wonder if that’s still the case, or how it’s changed, or how it might have been/might be different elsewhere.

13 comments to “Are you naked?”

  1. Synde
    · January 14th, 2011 at 9:29 pm · Link

    Oddly in high school we did have comunal shower for the girls.. I think that is why we all hated PE..
    but I do agree with the idea that men are more comfortable being naked… Interesting!
    Oh and yeah for new Downside Market!!!

  2. Kellie
    · January 14th, 2011 at 11:01 pm · Link

    I’m normally not a ‘commenter’ but I am reading this great book about being A SEX-WRITING STRUMPET and this is the part where I am becoming comfortable writing about sex. 😆

    (End shameless and unsolicited plug for great book.)

    Thankfully, my school did not even have showers so it wasn’t an issue. But we did change for PE, and no one seemed self-conscious about being seen in panties and bra. Personally I have never been one to “bare all” to anyone but my husband and I would be quite uncomfortable with it in a “group” setting.

    Jeff Foxworthy did a very funny bit about how women want the bedroom lights off before they’ll get out of bed, and they sidestep to the bathroom because they don’t want the man to see their behind. Likewise, men don’t care about the lights when they get up. Which leads me to theorize that men are naturally more comfortable being naked because unlike us, they aren’t usually concerned about whatever havoc Mr Gravity has wrought upon them.

    Along the same lines, darling Betty White delivered a hilarious piece of advice to Wendy Malick in “Hot In Cleveland” about how “the jockey sits straight up on the horse.” Cracked me up!

  3. Marie
    · January 15th, 2011 at 5:00 am · Link

    I think this might be one of those things that are different depending on country. Here in Sweden we always have communal showers in the schools, both girls and boys (but separate of course). I showered with the other girls in my class all through school. That’s not to say that I always felt comfortable doing it, and I think for a lot of us, we tried to do it as quickly as possible.

    The gym teachers always talked to us about the importance of showering after gym, for health and hygiene purposes, to make sure that our shyness didn’t prevent us from it.

    So showering after gym was the norm at our school, to the point that, when a muslim girl transfered to our class in the fifth grade (I think), we thought it was really weird that she wouldn’t even get undressed for us. We understood that she wanted to cover up in gym class, but what did she have to hide from us?

    So, yes, I think this might be one of those cultural differences when it comes to the US and Europe (or at least Sweden), but I can only speak for my school and my generation.

  4. shannon
    · January 15th, 2011 at 6:59 am · Link

    We had a communal shower at our school, but no one ever used it unless absolutely necessary. I played volleyball for 4 years and even after a game, no one would shower unless we had to go somewhere afterward. I figured my mom could deal with me stinking on the way home and then I would take a shower.

    • Marie
      · January 15th, 2011 at 11:17 am · Link

      I’m wondering, do you usually have PE as the last class of the day in the US? Because up to high school we often had it first thing in the morning, or before lunch, and it felt weird not to shower when we had several classes after that. (Although, the teachers that had the class 15 minutes after our PE ended didn’t particularly like the fact that we were always late to her class.)

      In high school we generally had PE at the end of the day, and in that case I mostly didn’t shower, even if I had to take the bus home. I just wanted to get home as soon as possible, with the bus taking over an hour to get home.

  5. BernardL
    · January 15th, 2011 at 9:42 am · Link

    I’m glad you’re selling the series. It helped me garner my first contract with a real writing credit.

    I dated a girl who went to a catholic high school and she filled me in on exactly what you wrote about it. She even told me she had been uncomfortable with the way other girls looked at her in a more than curious fashion. I was as shocked as your husband. I had always assumed girls had the same locker room attitudes as guys.

  6. Jill Sorenson
    · January 15th, 2011 at 11:40 am · Link

    Ha, I’m way more comfortable than my husband.

    I took swimming in college and was kind of shocked by the actual nakedness in the locker room. Then I got used to it and it was like, whatever. I suppose adult women aren’t as self-conscious as teenagers.

  7. Stephanie D
    · January 15th, 2011 at 1:24 pm · Link

    We had the same talk in our house and came to realize that even though we came from 2 different schools the shower rules seemed to be the same, boys get showers and girls don’t. My 13yr old daughter is the same as me quick change under a towel and get the hell out. Just to be honest, I am still not comfortable in my own body so nudity here!

  8. Karen
    · January 15th, 2011 at 7:21 pm · Link

    We not only had a communal shower – it was this long alley of shower heads and you basically marched thru it with soap in hand & too bad if you weren’t washed and rinsed by the end because we had a gym teacher who was some kind of evil gym nazi. She made sure each and every girl went thru at the appropriate speed & sniffed you at the end. If you weren’t clean to her satisfaction, you had to loop back & do it again.

    I can tell you it was … unpleasant.

    Now, on another note, I was also in band. When we marched in parades we would take buses (sometimes a 3-4 hour drive each way). After we were done, everyone – boys and girls – would strip down on the bus to their underwear to change into regular clothes. And no, we were not segregated boys/girls. It was a free for all with lots of peeking. That was much more entertaining.

  9. JimmyV
    · January 16th, 2011 at 2:52 pm · Link

    This reminds me of a recent trip my wife and I took to the beach this past summer with our daughter and two of her friends (11 years old). The bath house had communal showers – two polls with four shower heads around each. My wife said the girls were shocked when they walked into the bath house and saw 15+ naked girls/women in the showers. They were even more shocked when my wife removed her swim suit to take her shower. I think all three eventually took their showers to.

  10. Elishia
    · January 17th, 2011 at 10:15 am · Link

    We had communal showers in my middle and high school, but no one took them. In fact no one ever got naked. I was extra sensitive in this area since some of my “friends” always teased me for being a little bit more chunky than them. So I was a pro at lining the new shit on my arms while the old shirt was coming off, that way no one could see anything. Teenagers are so mean.

    But now that I am in my 20’s, I have no problem stripping down and showering after a workout.

  11. Lauren
    · April 3rd, 2011 at 7:57 am · Link

    Could be due to the boys doing barechested pe they feel more comfortable showing their chests.

  12. Jennifer H
    · April 8th, 2011 at 10:41 pm · Link

    I guess we were the polar opposite at my high school?

    At my high school no one was made to shower, but it was strongly recommended by the gym teachers. The biggest majority of the girls did chose to shower after every gym class. From what we heard, none of the guys ever showered. We would tell the boys that they were being gross by not showering. But they were freaked out by the thought of being naked in front of each other.


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