Let’s face it, growing up can be challenging for many of us and high school was a place where many awkward moments came up. Gentlemen; where you ever on a date and all of a sudden, your voice cracked? And ladies; did it ever take you longer than expected to find a guy who was as tall as you were (due to a growth spurt)?
Each generation has their own stories of what was popular back then (dear god… bell-bottom jeans), and what was accepted (nude swimming for men). Yes, I just said “nude swimming for men”, no this is not something you need to worry about if you are entering high school; it has been taken away since the mid 1970’s.
OK, so while you now have this new piece of information that you can brag about with your friends, let me ask you another question…just for the men. Have you ever been at a swimming pool (public or private) that has a sauna? Or even a health club that has a sauna will be fine for this observation; you are in your towel and decide that it would be fun to go into the sauna to relax. As a young man in his 30’s (hi), I have grown up being used to clothing myself in front of people and I would hardly think about going au natural.
Due to my upbringing; I was confused and nervous the first time I went into a sauna and was wondering why I was one of the few men (I was 11 or 12 at the time) wearing my swim trunks and a towel wrapped around me like a mummy. Even my father still had his stuff on, so what was the deal with these other guys? It turns out that if my memory serves me correct (which it usually does), the men without towels or trunks were older than my father and that is what was considered normal to them.
Now, the last thing I want you to do is go to the nearest sauna and scope it out and search for this (that’s weird, and you should just take my word for it). Also understand that this was not a choice that older men thought would be fun, it was society and their beliefs of things that made this a normal situation. I’m sure many of you have heard of the Y.M.C.A (not the song) and probably understand that for a very long time it was only for young men traveling into cities. Y.M.C.A stands for Young Men Christian Association in case you didn’t know.
So what gives with all the nudity, and why am I writing an article about a bunch of older nude men? Society and technology played a role in the nude swimming at facilities like the Y.M.C.A because the swim trunks at the time were made from material which would clog up the filters in the pool (pools were not as advanced as they are today). Society was also segregated with allowing women to partake in activities that men did. Because there were no women around, the men were required to be nude while swimming and thus not mess up the pool.
Speeding up to today’s time, when I see a nude body part hit the wooden seat in a sauna; I cringe at the thought that I have probably touched a spot on the bench that a bare bottom touched. Please don’t think that I’m bashing these individuals because I’m not, I actually have an uncle who swam nude. I’m writing this article because I feel that each generation has its own version of what is normal and accepted in society and that perhaps older generations of men don’t think about germs and bacteria the same way as myself and newer generations.
Think about it this way; you are in a sauna and you have a book and water bottle that you placed next to you while relaxing. While this is happening, your item on the bench has now made contact with wood that just had a man’s nude body on it. So if the sauna did not make you feel weird, like it did when I was younger, then it probably does now.