January 10, 2011

I'm no prude, but...

Germans, and Europeans in general, have a much different view on nudity than us 'conservative' North Americans. You regularly see naked bodies on advertisements, television shows, calendars in bookstore, and no one is phased by it at all. Well, not no one, I am still phased by it. I still think it is shocking/giggle-worth.

And it's not just the adults who are exposed to this 'let it all hang loose' mentality, all of these things are wide out in the open for kids to see. We had a friend who played here for years, and her and her oldest son had a saying for those times when you awkwardly see something in a store or flip the channel over to naked ladies. "Seen one, seen 'em all." I am sure it comforted her more than her 11 year old son. I can only imagine the stories he is telling back at his junior high in America...
Just a regular ol' souvenir you might find in any German shop. NBD! (Sorry, I tried to make it SFW)
I have never considered myself a prude, and don't think I would ever be considered one back in North America. I grew up playing every sport imaginable, and spent half of my life in a locker room changing from one uniform to the next. I was never one of the girls that changed in the restroom or waited until all everyone else was in the gym (BTW if this was you, that is totally ok too. I know how hard junior high and high school can be).

Even with my 'open' mindedness to nudity, I will never be as comfortable as some of the ladies at my current gym. They gab with friends, seductively lotion up, put on make-up and blow dry hair....butt naked. I think they think I am a prude, because heaven forbid I throw on a bra and wrap my booty up in a towel. I can almost hear them whisper "Sie muss eine Amerikanerin sein".

But, everyday I see more and more nudity advertised in public outlets and experience the naked free for all in the gym locker room - oh, some guy's fantasy must be coming true in their head at this very moment - I become a little less affected by it all. And especially after what happened to me at my gym last year....

There weren't too many people working out that day, so I decided to do something unusual. I had brought my towel along to sauna and shower at the gym, something that I usually waited to do at home (more so because then I didn't have to lug everything with me, but whatever). It was a co-ed sauna, so I had to make sure that the hubs was at practice to ensure none of his fellow teammates would come barging through and see the full monty. I don't know if I could look them in the eye if that were to happen

Nope, COMPLETE lie. No one has towels around their nether regions. It's a free for all

I walked into the sauna, and ahhhhh, sigh of relief, success. Only one other lady in there. Perfect. I settled into a nice little nook at the top of the wooden bleachers. Head leaned back, eyes closed, sweating buckets...pure German winter perfection. 

But then I shifted my place ever so slightly, and I heard the worst sound ever. Nooooo I didn't toot, that would have not be a very pleasant 'aromatic oil' for the other lady there. But instead, I heard the clanging of my locker key falling deep into the depths below. Oh Scheiße with a capital S.

There I was, stuck with a barely-cover-me-up towel, no locker key, so no clothes, and I can't find anyone who is working at the gym to help me out. The very nice lady in the sauna was trying to help me reach my key, but that would require taking the bleachers apart, which we both couldn't figure out.

So, I walked to the front door of the locker room and stuck my head out, trying to get any employee's attention. What was I supposed to do, walk out of there naked, leave my clothes and call it even?! No, I could do this.

One real bia of a lady who worked there refused to help me because she wasn't dressed properly to stick her head in the sauna for one second. Fine, screw you. Finally - no joke, 20 minutes later - one super sweet gal from the front desk came to my rescue. We walked back to the sauna together, all the while me explaining what had happened (thank the lord for all that time spent at my German lessons!). And OF COURSE the sauna was now filled, men and women jammed on benches.....with everything just hanging out and around.

Not the only sausages having a steam that day

We pushed through the crowd and the girl from the front desk helped me move the benches apart. But we still couldn't reach the key. F*ck it. I crouched down on my hands and knees, tried to drape the towel over me so I wasn't too exposed. Uh, hello, everything on my backside would have been exposed....ev-er-ry-thing!

Still couldn't quite reach the key. FML

So I stoop lower, sprawl all the way out and of course my towel completely slides off. I am utterly exposed and laid out on the ground of a steaming hot sauna. The ladies helping me start laughing, I start laughing, it is the funniest sight that anyone there could have seen all day. And the girl from the front desk goes "Oh, if only the hockey boys would walk in now!" Then THAT could have really topped off my sauna adventure.

Needless to say, I reach my key, mercifully thanked the two ladies that came to my rescue, and never sauna-ed there again. Never. Chalk it up to another weird, but endearing, German experience.

I want to give yet another shout out to a fellow blogger; Meri from MeriGoesRound, who has linked me up with her Stylish Award! I have seen these babies flying around like hot cakes, and I really feel honored that she thought to link the little ol' TexaGermaNadian. Meri is an avid traveler that has a unique and quirky eye when it comes to seeing cities in a new light. Her blog is very entertaining and a pleasure to read. Thanks again Meri :)
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  1. Hey Miss, I just tried to add your blog button and it said the image wasn't available

  2. hahahaha... I don't think anything will top that sauna story, ever. freakin hilarious (but I'm sure it wasn't at the time!) Saunas are a huge part of Finnish culture, but they are separate ones for men and women. I have yet to go in one, and can't even imagine the awkwardness of a co-ed one!

    I feel the exact same way about the gym locker room here (and the nudity in Europe in general). I grew up playing sports as well and am fairly comfortable in my skin, but the open-ness of it all still makes me blush!

  3. @ KY - that thing was giving me problems all night! I think it is all fixed now, thanks for the heads up :)

    @CMD - haha, thanks! It is definitely funnier now than it was then, lol. And I can only imagine the full body blush I had going on! And holy cow, I have heard how HOT those Finnish saunas are, don't know if I could handle them

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  5. Haha, that is an excellent story...although I can imagine at the time was not funny.

    As a European, I can say that not all of us embrace the Euro culture where we let it all hang out and have no problem with nudity.

    Like you I am no prude by any stretch of the imagination and happy with my body, but back at home if I am ever in a waiting room and there are newspapers on the table to read, there are some tabloid newspapers which still have the topless girl picture on one of the first few pages...and if thats the only thing to read...I will plan my turning of the pages so carefully to try and make it look natural but in a way that makes it look like I'm not staring and admiring some girls bare chest...I don't like the idea that others in waiting rooms are looking at me and thinking thats the thing I'm into haha...

    I definitely don't understand the women who do their hair and make up etc with everything on show...heck I'm 26 and I still get awkward watching "steamy" scenes on TV with my parents haha!

    Great story, great blog :-)

  6. You're better than me. I don't go in the sauna wearing a towel. I actually go in wearing gym clothes. Then hop in the shower with closed doors in a stall. I do have a plastic bag to for my wet clothes. LOL


  7. I adore this post! Toooo funny. You're a great story teller! :)

  8. @Hockey Girlfriend - I totally get sooo red faced if even passionate kissing comes on and my parents in the room. Too funny, and thanks for your European input

    @Brownbugz - I can't tell if you are joking or not, but either way is hilarious. You crack me up!

    @smr - Thanks for the visit and the very nice compliment :) That was really sweet of ya

  9. what a funny story! when i lived in germany, i was caught off guard by the nudity at first (i was 12 at the time), but my mom was quick to instill the difference between nakedness and nudity with a sexual context. in those instances, i totally agree with 'seen one, seen 'em all.'
    cute blog!
    <3 mode.

  10. haha great story!

    I suppose I'm a bit of a prude, but most people wouldn't know I'm dying to go to a nude/topless beach someday! Although maybe I'm not horribly prudish, because I'm not really shy about walking around topless.

    btw Hi! I found your blog via Meri!

  11. @mode - yeah, totally think it is important to make that distinction. But, growing up where there was no distinction between the two, don't know if I will ever not find it giggle-worthy, lol. I know, so mature!

    @prettylittlereckless - Thanks! If you ever wander over to Europe, the top-less beaches are not intimating if you ever wanted to live out your topless beach dream :) Its almost like you are awkward for HAVING clothes on, haha. And thanks for letting me know you found me through Meri! Too cool, love this bloggyland thing :)

  12. Yes it has been a bit of a culture shock for our children. Not for us though. Thanks for the giggle

  13. Very entertaining! you have a great way of telling stories! I look forward to reading more! I am your newest follower from Thirsty Thursday. I'd love for you to follow back at KylaKreates. Thanks!

  14. Newest follower from the Thirsty Thursday blog hop! Would love for you to stop by and follow back! Have a great day! (:


  15. Very good read! I couldn't imagine having to explain the excess nudity away to my kiddies lol. I'm a follower from thirsty thursdays and I like your blog.

    Come check mine out. I hope your day is going well.


  16. That was some experience! But it is good to hear that the key dilemma had a good ending! =) I do hope that this experience did not discourage from going to saunas. They’re a great place to relax your body and mind. Better yet, install one in your house so you can enjoy the heat without worrying of dropping your keys. :)


  17. “Oh Scheiße with a capital S.” Priceless.

    At least you’ll have that story to reminisce on in the future about your experience in Germany. And a lesson to keep your keys in a place where it won’t fall off. Heh.


  18. Only if you TEACH children that naked is "DIRTY" will they be offended by it. It's a lot like racism a learned behavior.


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