On Dressing (and Undressing) at the Public Pool

Washington CoastAmericans are weird about nudity. Maybe because we associate it exclusively with sex. To be a nudist in America is not just eccentric—it’s deviant. So deviant, in fact, that it’s illegal. You must have private property, fences, and warning signs—at the very least—to go topless, let alone in the buff.

And I’m no exception to American puritanism.

So, stripping out of my bathing suit in the locker room is hard.

It isn’t all that different from jumping into the deep end and squeezing my eyes shut. The question, I guess, is essentially the same: Will it kill me?

Will it offend someone? Should I face the lockers—so they can’t see my breasts? Or is it worse to moon my fellow citizens?

And seriously–who wants to see that?

And what about the parents with children who wander in after the adult classes? Even if the parents are okay with their six-year-old witnessing the quivering, pock-marked buttocks and puckered nipples of adult nudity, I’m not sure that I am.

But then again, what if my discomfort communicates to them that they should be uncomfortable with their bodies? I don’t want that, either.

Today, a grade-school girl strode in for her swim lessons, stripped down naked next to me, changed into her swimsuit, and showered–all the while humming like it was nothing.

And shouldn’t it be?

I mean, what does nakedness really mean? Does it need to mean anything?

This is just my body. Or yours. We were born in it. We’ll die in it. It’s the permanent outfit, the one we can’t take off whether we like it or not. Deal with it.

Better yet, hum while dealing with it.

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