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Offline Danee

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LOWE: The naked truth about change rooms
« on: January 12, 2014, 04:11:49 am »

Columnist Lezlie Lowe has noticed lately that fewer people seem to be comfortable being naked in change rooms.

The world is once again safe from the au naturel wandering of the Naked Rambler.

The 54-year-old Brit (given name, Stephen Gough) prefers to spend his time without clothes. He backpacks Europe that way. He once undressed during a flight from Southampton to Edinburgh.

His latest jail term, handed down Monday, is 16 months. But it’s likely to last longer, given that the former Royal Marine has spent much of the last six years with his behind behind bars for his unflagging nakedness.

The cycle goes like this: Gough is sent to prison for being naked and is repeatedly re-arrested and imprisoned for leaving prison naked at the end of his sentence.

“We can either end up living a life that others expect of us,” Gough wrote to a reporter at the Guardian newspaper, “or lives based on our own truth.”

I’m no naked rambler, but let me verge into what may sound like extreme naturist territory to deliver a truth of my own.

It’s OK to be naked.

It is especially OK to be naked in the change room of your local gym or pool, where people are meant, as the name suggests, to change. From one set of clothes to another. Getting, necessarily, naked in between.

I have noticed, lately, fewer naked people in change rooms.

Folks wear their smelly gym gear home, or cloister themselves in toilet stalls to remove their drippy bikinis.

Women crawl into full-size lockers to put on bras. Parents hold up towels to cover their children’s little naked bodies in family change rooms, frequently at the behest of the kids, who’ve apparently learned that every adult is a potential pedophile, or, from their friends, that naked is weird.

Oh, my, but it’s convenient.

The women I see who clumsily hide for fear of slipping a nip sure are going to a lot of trouble. They add minutes and discomfort to their changing time and subject their clothes to whatever horrors lay on the bathroom floor.

You know, whatever floats your boat. But me? I’ll take the convenience of being nude any day.

Despite our Victorian-tinged memories, nakedness used to be more acceptable. I’m not going back to the first Olympics, either. I’ve had four men in their 60s who all grew up in different Maritime cities, one Halifax, tell me they used to swim naked at the YMCA. That was just what was done.

Will McBride Photograpahy




At risk of stating the obvious, naked is neither right nor wrong.
Naked is neutral. Naked is not a statement. Naked is neither boastful nor shameful.

Boastful is a common criticism of the comfortably naked. The online commenters on this column will, dollars-to-doughnuts, attack what they mistake to be vanity in the benign few who are really just without shame.

I certainly have no conceit. From my fleeting appreciation of the plebeian breasts I see in change rooms here and there, my boobs don’t look a heck of a lot different from anyone else’s. They are roundish; they are vaguely veiny; they are wilting without yet being completely despondent.

I’m not changing to put on a show. I’m changing because it’s a change room. It’s sense, not showboating.
As for the Naked Rambler, Stephen Gough, I can’t rightly say.

But the anti-social behaviour order that he’s contravened so very many times is clear.
Gough isn’t allowed to bare his buttocks or genitals in public, unless for a medical examination, on a nude beach or — wait for it — in a change room.
Surely we can all get behind that.


 :2345
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Offline ToneBender

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Re: LOWE: The naked truth about change rooms
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2014, 04:16:39 am »

Despite our Victorian-tinged memories, nakedness used to be more acceptable. I’m not going back to the first Olympics, either. I’ve had four men in their 60s who all grew up in different Maritime cities, one Halifax, tell me they used to swim naked at the YMCA. That was just what was done.


Yep... Halifax is awesome!

I noticed this when I first came to Alberta and thought it a silly side effect of the conservative nature of the people here. I haven't been in a locker room in Halifax in many years but I doubt people are that squeamish back home.
« Last Edit: January 12, 2014, 04:21:15 am by ToneBender »

Offline ToneBender

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Re: LOWE: The naked truth about change rooms
« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2014, 04:25:19 am »
Fuck - I just noticed that Leslie Lowe is a Halifax reporter so these locker rooms she's talking about may well be in Halifax.
Women crawling into lockers to put their bras on? Can't show their breasts even in a locker room? UGH Seriously?

NatureForever

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Re: LOWE: The naked truth about change rooms
« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2014, 04:28:51 am »
Non plus ergo ultris si veritus cognos.
(If I said that correctly, it means:
It is nothing more than a truth everyone knows of.)

lvxandlight

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Re: LOWE: The naked truth about change rooms
« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2014, 04:48:12 am »
I just recently started going to a gym and noticed some of the odd poses some of the guys in there would attempt when changing before going ( or not going ) to take a shower/change.

“We can either end up living a life that others expect of us,” Gough wrote to a reporter at the Guardian newspaper, “or lives based on our own truth.”

With logic like that I'm glad they keep throwing him back into jail. Call it the influence of lawyers I've worked for, or the fact that I read way too much Ayn Rand, but I take a huge issue with the idea of a "personal truth." Something either is or it isn't. In this case, no, nudity has no Judeo-Christian original sin guaranteed to it by the demands of some omnipresent ruler, but at the same time no judge is going to take the argument of a "personal" truth. Add some cultural context to your argument, hippy. Because of this I can't quite say I can stand behind his "rebelliousness" to the "System," albeit he and I may share the same end result in the context of values shared.

That aside, if the YMCA once allowed nude swimming (which is not to say it promoted FKK), I have to wonder where the origins of "body shame" come from in North America. If we were talking about Europe, I'd point to religious ideas, or "the Victorian era" if we were talking about the UK specifically.

Part of me wonders if, somehow, this body shame concept is a reversal of values against what the Nazis once stood for. From what I recall they promoted FKK in a very "Aryan-pagan" light. Am I hogging the spotlight of this wonderfully written and presented article? ; )


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Re: LOWE: The naked truth about change rooms
« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2014, 12:06:27 pm »
Don't blame the Victorian era - early in Victoria's reign the beaches of England, Australia and continental Europe where nude.  Then commercial interests came to bear with the creation of the resort and unsavoury types watching the the girls swim, the swimming enclosure was born and then swimwear.

It had nothing to do with Victorian morals rather sleazy guys ruined it for all.
I may be nude but at least my mind is open

Offline ToneBender

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Re: LOWE: The naked truth about change rooms
« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2014, 04:10:01 pm »
Don't blame the Victorian era - early in Victoria's reign the beaches of England, Australia and continental Europe where nude.  Then commercial interests came to bear with the creation of the resort and unsavoury types watching the the girls swim, the swimming enclosure was born and then swimwear.

It had nothing to do with Victorian morals rather sleazy guys ruined it for all.

That jives with what I've read. The Victorians were not prudes by any means - it's just a perception that somehow got linked to them.

beachpuppy

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Re: LOWE: The naked truth about change rooms
« Reply #7 on: January 16, 2014, 08:29:00 am »
I found this post on Askmen.com - what do you guys think of the advice given?

Locker Room Etiquette

The locker room: A steamy, sweaty powder keg of competitive pheromones, vaporized testosterone and Old Spice deodorant. One false step and the whole place could erupt into a frenzied and uncomfortably nude fistfight. Locker rooms dredge up the awkward anxiety of early puberty, which often includes the unsettling memories of childish ridicule, towel snapping, wedgies, and the inevitable comparing of various body parts. Distant memories of ill-executed locker room etiquette are enough to put anybody on edge and transform the most refined guy into a nervous dolt.

So, let’s review some basic locker room etiquette for the grown man. These simple rules will help you keep your cool after a workout or a game, and vanquish any lingering pubescent angst that could turn you into a total rube when the gym shorts come off and the showers start to flow.

1- Keep your eyes to yourself

Nothing makes a guy more uncomfortable than some other guy leering at his nether regions. It’s the No. 1 rule in locker room etiquette: Keep your eyes at eye level at all times. It’s just a matter of respecting a guy’s privacy. Failure to comply with this rule could leave you with a split lip.

 

2- Respect personal space

Unless the place is absolutely packed, there’s no reason you should be removing your skivvies on top of another guy. Take a few steps back and give everybody his space. Remember, everybody feels a little vulnerable and on edge when they’re naked (except maybe exhibitionists or nudists or porn stars) around strangers. Being up close and personal will only make things worse. If your locker is in a packed corner, you’ll just have to wait your turn.

3- Try not to be completely naked for too long

 If you’re going to hit the showers, which we hope you do, after a hard workout, getting naked is unavoidable. However, if you’re just changing from corporate wear to gym wear, try to change in stages; don’t just strip down and prance around the locker room like a jackass looking for your workout shirt. Have everything ready and change one article of clothing at a time. If you’re heading to the showers, make sure your towel is nearby and ready to do double duty as your manly terrycloth kilt. 

4- Don’t dally

Get in and get out. In the evening, the locker room at your gym is probably crammed with sweaty guys who are just trying to get in and get out on their way home from a long day at work. They won’t appreciate it if you’re taking up space, dawdling, chatting or, worse, talking on your cell phone.

 

We have more tips on locker room etiquette…

 

5- Dry off before you return to your locker

There’s nothing worse than slopping water across the locker room, leaving a trail of treacherous slime in your wake. Not only are puddles of water likely to cause some cracked skulls, but they also provide breeding grounds for fungi and other unwanted biohazards.

6- No muddy shoes

Some guys might be going barefoot and they don’t want to step in the mud, dog crap and mashed grass that rode in on the soles of your cross trainers. On the same note, wear shower shoes; nobody wants your  athlete’s foot.

7- Be tidy

Clean up after yourself. If you shave in the sink area (don’t shave in the shower, it takes too long), wipe up the debris. Don’t leave your stuff all over the bench when you head to the shower, toilet or sink. Put your used towel in the hamper; don’t just leave it on the floor.

 

8- Lock It Up

 

The locker room doesn’t have to be an uncomfortable place. The rules to good etiquette are really quite simple and if you follow them, you shouldn’t run into any trouble. Remember, the locker room is a place of utility, a place to scrub the sweat and grime of a good workout off your skin and don your workout wear. It really isn’t more complicated than that.

 

Offline MustardHo!

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Re: LOWE: The naked truth about change rooms
« Reply #8 on: January 16, 2014, 12:16:03 pm »
Wow, two incredible articles for completely different reasons!

The first, sure you can say Gough is stupid, or fighting an unwinnable war, but who really cares? He's clearly okay with what he's doing, it's not like he doesn't expect to get caught. I personally think he should keep his naturism private or in accepted areas, if only for the fact that it does make some people uncomfortable, but I can't help think that the amount of national (and, it seems, international) indignation about it is wildly OTT.

I've also noticed there's a definite cut-off age in changing rooms as well - probably more than half of guys over the age of 35-40ish are much less concerned about covering themselves. I can only assume this is because of the more general acceptance of nudity as they were growing up, or stemming from the experiences of their parents, as people have mentioned. Would you girls say there's normally any kind of cut-off age in women's rooms as well?

That second article though, WOW!?

The locker room: A steamy, sweaty powder keg of competitive pheromones, vaporized testosterone and Old Spice deodorant. One false step and the whole place could erupt into a frenzied and uncomfortably nude fistfight.

Failure to comply with this rule could leave you with a split lip.

Seriously?? Since when did mankind revert back to Neanderthalism?? I must have missed that - either every locker room I've ever visited has been the exception, or this author is living in a fantasy world! It's terrible, this willingness to stereotype all men into testosterone-blinded violence machines. It both excuses and normalises this kind of behaviour for the very few men who do think like that.

Quote
Remember, everybody feels a little vulnerable and on edge when they’re naked (except maybe exhibitionists or nudists or porn stars) around strangers.

Everybody? No exceptions apart from when it turns sexual? This is such a dangerous view - it's a changing room! It's a place specifically designed for changing from one set of clothes to another, which at some point necessarily means you'll be inbetween the two! If you found yourself naked in the middle of Starbucks, sure I'd be pretty uncomfortable with that, but to say that people who are comfortable being naked (for the short time they have to be, in a place designed to be naked in) are likely perverts? Jeez.

Thanks for posting both of these though Danee and beachpuppy, enjoyable (if anger-inducing) reads for sure  :laugh:

Edit: missed that they actually included nudists in their exceptions, still terrible to all be lumped in together though.
« Last Edit: January 16, 2014, 12:20:07 pm by MustardHo! »

Offline AElf

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Re: LOWE: The naked truth about change rooms
« Reply #9 on: January 16, 2014, 12:58:56 pm »
Fuck - I just noticed that Leslie Lowe is a Halifax reporter so these locker rooms she's talking about may well be in Halifax.
Women crawling into lockers to put their bras on? Can't show their breasts even in a locker room? UGH Seriously?

Sad but true.  A lot of the women who go to 'my' gym arrive wearing their workout kit and, after sweaty session of aerobics or whatever, put their coats & boots on and leave without showering or changing.  Eeuww!  So much for the delicate feminine flowers of the fields.  Of those who strip and shower, strip is a relative term.  Many head for the toilet stalls to perform this evolution . . . double Eeuww! . . . and emerge wrapped in a bath sheet.  Others . . . Omigod! . . . change in the shower stall, dry themselves in the shower stall, furtively reach out for dry unmentionables hanging outside the shower stall, and dress in the shower stall.  Gross!

I don't do any of these things except, sometimes, show up wearing my workout kit . . . but not at this season of the year.  Afterwards I strip all the sweaty stuff off, walk to the shower and head for the sauna.  I carry my towel rather than wearing it.  Why would I want to take a nice clean towel and get it sweaty before using it?  Completely counter-intuitive!

Do I get lustful looks from lascivious Lesbians lurking in the locker lobby?  (Alliterative, innit?)  No.  But I do sometimes get dirty looks from disapproving dimwits.  And on more than one occasion in the sauna (where I'm comfortably nekkid) some idiot has observed in disapproving tones "You're naked!"  I vary my answer depending on the age of the critic and the tone of the critique but my favourite is usually "Nope, I'm clothed in righteousness."  If I'm feeling especially mean that day I might then launch into some form of evangelism.  That usually clears them out.
« Last Edit: January 16, 2014, 06:10:30 pm by AElf »
"Mankind is a frigid and ashamed creature. If we cannot deal with the basics of nudity then how on earth are we to make it in the world?" Naked Imp

"Don't make me release my flying monkeys" Elphaba Thropp, the Wicked Witch of the West

Offline Fitz1980

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Re: LOWE: The naked truth about change rooms
« Reply #10 on: January 16, 2014, 02:26:09 pm »
Personally I think that increased awareness of homosexuality lead to much of the younger guy's shyness. During WWII, Korea and Vietnam homosexuality was seen as something rare. Once gay/bi people started coming out of the closet many guys didn't like the idea of getting naked infront of guys who might objectify them in the same way said guys objectify women.

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Re: LOWE: The naked truth about change rooms
« Reply #11 on: January 16, 2014, 03:33:22 pm »
Naked is neutral. Naked is not a statement. Naked is neither boastful nor shameful.
 :2345

Sounds like an anthem...  :323232
Nudity leads to true freedom!


Offline AElf

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Re: LOWE: The naked truth about change rooms
« Reply #12 on: January 16, 2014, 06:18:29 pm »
Naked is neutral. Naked is not a statement. Naked is neither boastful nor shameful.

Sounds like an anthem...

Everybody sing . . . to the tune of Every Sperm is Sacred

Nakedness is neutral
nakedness is great
it is not a statement
it's just nature's state

Naked isn't boastful
naked isn't crude
naked isn't shameful
so long as you're not lewd




"Mankind is a frigid and ashamed creature. If we cannot deal with the basics of nudity then how on earth are we to make it in the world?" Naked Imp

"Don't make me release my flying monkeys" Elphaba Thropp, the Wicked Witch of the West

Offline MustardHo!

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Re: LOWE: The naked truth about change rooms
« Reply #13 on: January 16, 2014, 08:43:17 pm »
Personally I think that increased awareness of homosexuality lead to much of the younger guy's shyness. During WWII, Korea and Vietnam homosexuality was seen as something rare. Once gay/bi people started coming out of the closet many guys didn't like the idea of getting naked infront of guys who might objectify them in the same way said guys objectify women.

That's a really interesting point, I hadn't considered it before. Look at how widespread the word "gay" is though, used interchangeably with "lame" or "weird" by the younger generations. There's definitely a huge fear and distrust of homosexuality amongst guys growing up, even if most of it only manifests subconsciously, I assumed it had always been the case.

Offline Delta

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Re: LOWE: The naked truth about change rooms
« Reply #14 on: January 16, 2014, 09:09:20 pm »
Look at how widespread the word "gay" is though, used interchangeably with "lame" or "weird" by the younger generations. There's definitely a huge fear and distrust of homosexuality amongst guys growing up, even if most of it only manifests subconsciously, I assumed it had always been the case.
Look at how widespread the word "lame" is though, used interchangeably with "bad" or "boring" by the younger generations. There's definitely a huge fear and distrust of paralysis amongst guys growing up, even if most of it only manifests subconsciously, I assumed it had always been the case.
Sorry, but with your use as "lame" as a better word for "gay as in bad" I just had to go there.
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