Is nude rude?

Standard

nudity

nu·di·ty

[noo-di-tee, nyoo-]

noun, plural nu·di·ties for 2.

1.the state or fact of being nude; nakedness.
2.something nude or naked.

Being nude or naked (because they really do mean the same thing) is something that all people can say hand on heart that they do on a daily basis. Not only that, we all came into this world naked, legs akimbo. Growing up, nakedness is a regular occurrence for children; bath time, when it’s too hot for clothes, when you tip an entire carton of juice down yourself, when you get told “for gods sake, just put your pants on”…and that is just the start.  I don’t have children but I have been a parent. A step parent to be exact, many years ago now and I remember nakedness being a massive feature in our house. Little Legs was 2 when I met her and was still in the nappy stage. She was also very keen on whipping off all her clothes at a moments notice and prancing around in the buff – thankfully only when it was at home…the Devon winter makes it easy to keep clothes on.

As her parents, we were also naked for the crucial times of showering, sleeping and going from unclothed to dressed twice a day. The getting dressed (and sometimes showered) was often a family affair with all three of us getting dressed in our bedroom – more for speed than anything. The amount of times we thought she could dress herself as she got a bit older only to be met with a small girl with trousers on back to front, knickers on the head and no top on meant that the morning routine could easily double in time.

With two female parents, it was only normal to get the questions about the body from a very curious child. We had the body discussion fairly early on account of questions such as “why have you got furry bits and I haven’t?” and “what are those (boobs) for?” The furry bits question cracked us up and then we answered her in an honest, age appropriate way and she was happy with that – nudity was normal for her.

When we took her swimming, the changing rooms were communal, a playpen in the corner for the more mobile babies to enable their mothers to get dressed without worrying about their child crawling off and the majority of the women in the changing room would be getting changed without paying too much notice to anyone else’s state of undress.

On occasion children would point out that the assembled parents and children were naked, but then they would also point out about a million other things too. Clearly it wasn’t a case of a mass orgy, nor was there any uncomfortable moments; it was a changing room - a room to change from outdoor clothes into swimsuits and back again. The showers were curtained off and people were free to shower with their own kids and were not mandated to wear a swim suit or underwear. As is the nature of swimming pool changing rooms, they are damp…no one wants to add to the dampness by wearing additional undies in the shower and surely that is no way to get clean?

Last weekend, Tom was taking part in an off-road triathlon – canoe, mountain bike and trail run. It was muddy beyond belief and helpfully, the venue had allowed the participants to use the showers after the event to sluice off the mud and get warm again when they had finished. The showers were located within the toilet areas and a sign was on the door of the shower room. I had to read it twice to make sure I was reading it correctly.

Polite notice or prude?

Polite notice or prude?

This was in both the men’s and women’s changing areas on the shower room door. This was in the Manvers Waterfront Boat Club, where the website says that “Activities based at the club so far include canoeing & kayaking, triathlon, running, open water swimming, windsurfing,  sailing, fishing, model boating, sub-aqua, biking and wildlife conservation”.Most people that I know who are runners, divers, swimmers etc are more than happy to shower and indeed get changed in front of other people after doing whatever they were doing if it means getting dry and warm as quick as possible. Dithering about trying not to reveal too much only wastes time, while whipping everything off, sluicing off in the warm shower and getting dry and dressed as quick as possible sometimes means flashing a bit of bum and boob (that goes for the blokes too – only slightly less boob).

Children are also allowed to take part in the activities at Manvers and why ever should they not be? However, the message that they are being sent by the management of the club is one that says without question that the human body should be covered at all times and at no point should a nude human body be visible at the point where it is most likely and appropriate…in a changing room. The human body is ubiquitous yet unique. Most women will have breasts of various shapes and sizes. Men will have a penis of individual shape and size. Pubic hair is a sign of adulthood and physical maturity and sets adults apart from children. Why do these completely normal body parts present an issue of rudeness to others sharing the changing/showering space?

Have body parts that everyone has become taboo? Why would it be considered rude to be nude in a changing room or shower? Clearly, people should be respectful when in communal showering and changing areas. I’m in no way suggesting that it is the place for an intimate shower á deux, nor am I suggesting young children be left unsupervised in a communal area with strangers.  Nudity is not rude unless it is inappropriate in time or place or audience. However, banning it will only serve to make it more secretive and “wrong” and this is never a good thing.

13 responses »

  1. How absolutely stupid of the manvers club, has simple nudity ever harmed anyone at my municipal swimpool everyone of any age showered together naturally nakedly,dear oh dear -prudishness taken to it’s limits!

  2. That’s really weird. If people really feel worried about showering naked then they can pop their swimsuit on but otherwise it is a free for all! At the gym there is a definate changing room protocol though. Showering in private cubicles is usually done naked I think (from what I do and from what I have glimpsed through the frosted panels). However, drying off and getting dressed is usually done using a bit of modesty. Obviously there has to be some brief nudity involved but not prolonged nudity and intimate drying like I have seen. We all know of this one lady who stands naked with her foot on a stool to dry and powder her areas…. Really? Then she bends over to get something out of her locker…..which is always one of the low level locker. Whoa! I am a sexual health nurse practitioner and I go to the gym to get away from work , not to be reminded of it!

    Great post by the way. nursekate1.blogspot.co.uk. @lifesluxuriesblog

  3. OMG! stop the world now!… I want to get off this bent/twisted planet where some mindless inbreds think like this!!!! I can just hear the crys if someone dared to shower naked “WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN???”

  4. What a great article! So, what’s described is a perfectly ordinary social occasion other than the participants are nude. Yeah, that’s pretty much what social nudism is about. Easy concept, hard to grasp for most of us raised to see the human body as ‘obscene’ in any form. Or ugly.

    Some of us have grown past that and found that it feels good to be naked, that’s all! It’s not complicated, it’s not ‘dirty’, it’s just that it feels good to be naked! And oddly, no one cares about appearance. Very odd.

    This may be a shameless promo, but if you want to get the real skinny (SO trite!) on nudism/naturism, just go to our website, recognized worldwide as among, well, um, the best? Everything you want or need to know, with links to only good stuff. (Don’t expect nudie galleries; WRONG place!).

    Nudism/naturism is most likely not to be what you think. Take a look, then decide!

    • I have a sinking feeling that our previous comment was misdirected! Apparently the ‘paste’ function got involved and applied a previous comment made elsewhere. Feel free to remove it!

      But I meant to say is this article is very good and thoroughly enjoyable, other than the unpleasant circumstances at that club. If only they knew what they were missing! We’ve seen some other weird shower room articles, all sharing an inordinate loathing of a natural, human body.

      ‘Flaunting’ is a common term used by someone who ‘isn’t a prude’ to describe anyone who doesn’t keep as much of their body out of sight as much as possible when changing clothes. Certain parts of the body are disgusting and mustn’t be ‘displayed’, of course. You know, like we ‘display’ our fingers and ‘flaunt’ the inside of our elbows.

      Nudists don’t flaunt or display; we just ARE. Maybe some of those locker room folks are too!

  5. In this world of health and safety regulations, self preservation is almost compulsory. I see this as the club protecting itself from the possibility of someone saying they were assaulted or offended by something they saw. The easiest way to prevent a law suit is to put signs like that up. Like a disclaimer or something. They are just “covering their own ass” from possible litigation. Sad day when the fear of prosecution exists in absolutely everything now…even harmless nudity. So many in this world don’t see it they way we do, and are more than happy to voice disapproval, and ruin an event for years to come from their misguided comments…and secure a large pay out for their “emotional harm and psychological damage” from having seen an exposed penis or breast . The world has gone mad…and this is just a case of having to do something in order to protect ones back from the silliness that surrounds us these days

  6. Sadly, the situation with nudity in “changing rooms” has changed over the past few decades — and NOT for the better. I’m a guy from the (former) colonies across the pond, and when I was young (under 20, let’s say) nudity in changing rooms was absolutely the norm, at least for guys. In high school, everyone was expected to shower naked after gym class. When YMCAs were still single-sex, nudity was typically expected in the swimming pool. Swinning “suits” were discouraged or even forbidden, on the grounds that lint from the suits might “clog the filters”. There was little patience to be had for people who didn’t want to be naked. Now, alas, all that seems to have changed.

    This is not a trivial matter, either. Although many things have improved in recent decades (alternatives to heterosexuality are now widely accepted, for example), the situation with nudity is a glaring indication that lots of people still have plenty of bugs in their thinking machinery. And that has consequences everywhere.

  7. Pingback: Sticky Staring. | Michael Forman. Author of Naughty, Evil Little Thriller Novels

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