Squint as You Approach

A sign hangs just outside the Women’s Locker Room at the gym I go to that forbids all but women over 18 from entering, with a second sign saying again no girls under 18 and no children over four. For more than a year I have wondered why this strongly worded rule but have finally decided it’s because the sight of an undraped woman is so stunning a thing as to sear a person’s very eyeballs.

It’s like when that voice from the clouds spoke to old Moses from the burning bush. “Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground” it said.

In the women’s locker room we’ve got naked ladies of every age and body type slowly toweling their hair and stepping into or strapping on the complicated silky hammocks of their underthings.

I myself am never naked in there I wouldn’t dream of being naked, I think because even in spite of all those flower-child years I spent in my early 20s I was more truly marked by my childhood years when every girl knew how to take off her bra without taking off her blouse  and could undress entirely ‘underneath’ while still remaining modestly draped. It’s just the way we were then. Most of us had never seen a naked woman in our lives which is pretty funny because we WERE naked women under all our clothes!

Well THOSE days are sure over. Today’s girls are happy to appear at their very graduation ceremonies with every inch of fat on display, peeking out of their camisoles and brimming up over tiny Barbie doll-size skirts.

The change took years to come but one day it was just…. complete. Example: When I was in 15, I spent most of my waking hours pantomiming a kind of extended apology to the whole male world for the fact that I wasn’t very pretty. When my daughter was 15, on the other hand, she proudly wore a T-shirt that said “Squint as You Approach Lest My Beauty Blind You.”

I like to think that’s the spirit behind these signs. “Stop right there,” they’re saying “for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” And can I get an Amen to that!


6 thoughts on “Squint as You Approach

  1. Amen and again, amen!! When they ask me, Lord,what is your name, what shall I tell them? I AM that I AM. Ye shall say, I AM!! Moses cowered and shivered in respect, bowing low and kissing the tops of his sandal-shed feet. Yeah!!!

  2. My mother never learned how to swim, and up until age 13 I didn’t know how to either, but I wanted to learn how to. So, my best friends mom started taking me to the YWCA with her twice a week to teach me how to swim.

    At the end of the first night there at the YWCA, my friends mom said that it was time for us to head to the locker room and shower-off and change and then head home. I was talking to a girl that I knew from school, so I didn’t walk into the locker room until a couple of minutes after my friends mom did. I knew that my friends mom would be in the shower-room, and I also knew that there were not any stalls for the showers, they were completely out in the open. So, I walked into the shower-room with my bathing suit still on. It did not occur to me that anyone would shower in the nude when they were in clear sight of everyone else in there.

    Much to my surprise, my friends mom was showering totally in the nude. We both kind of looked at each other surprised. I was shocked that she was nude, and I think she was shocked that I wasn’t.

    So after that I always showered nude after my swim lessons with my friends mom. It turned out to be a blessing, as the next year when I started high school, we were required to take group showers in gym class every day. It was not a shock to me in gym class since I had already gotten used to it at the YWCA. But I think that some of the girls that were faced with group showering for the first time were having some issues with it at first.

    1. Well that is a great thing Mary and you are ahead of me as far as that goes. I have never done a group shower and I’m quite sure I would be abashed, raised with a mother who shut the door between us kids when she went to remove her nightgown and don her clothes! Thanks for commenting! 🙂

  3. I was in junior high grades six through eight back in the early 1960s and high school grades nine through twelve in the mid to late 1960s. Back then group showering in gym class was mandatory in both junior high and high school. But to tell you the truth I think that most of us would have chosen to shower after getting all sweaty anyway. It was a more innocent time and being nude around only other females wasn’t really an issue. Many of us were already accustomed to showering with other girls at summer camp as well.
    Even though we were totally comfortable showering in a locker room, we always dressed conservatively in public and around males.

    I swim at a ymca a couple of days per week now. The older ladies like me always shower in the buff after a swim. Many of the young ladies choose to shower in a bathing suit and change in a filthy toilet stall.
    I’ve seen young ladies swim in those tiny bikini bottoms where their entire backside is on display to everyone in the pool area. I’ve then seen the same young ladies refuse to shower in the buff in the women’s locker room and change in a toilet stall.

    Call me crazy, but I think that those young ladies have their thinking all out of whack. In my opinion showering in a women’s locker room is totally normal and there’s zero reason to hide from other ladies. Wearing those backside reveling bikinis is the thing to be embarrassed about.

    1. Isn’t it so strange Carole what contradictions we see in these new ‘norms’! Young women are taught tp put themselves on display and yet see how modest they are, really. Also, I have to say you were lucky: showers were never available to girls at my high school!

  4. Yes, Terry. I am really baffled by the young ladies that feel it totally normal to be exposed like that in front of males, and yet are afraid to be nude in the presence of only other females. One of the ladies that is around my age that swims at the ymca at the same time of the day as I do once told me that she thinks that the ladies who hide their bodies from other ladies in the locker room are people who can’t separate nudity from sex.
    I don’t know if that’s true or not? However, it would be in line with the ladies who are showy in the pool but who hide in a toilet stall to change in the locker room. It’s not like anyone would be staring at them in the locker room. At the ymca that I am a member at you attract more attention to yourself by showering in a bathing suit and changing in a stall than if you just shower in your birthday suit and change at your locker. I always viewed it that if everyone is nude, no one is nude. In other words if everyone is the same there’s no reason for anyone to feel “naked” in an emotional way. If nine ladies are showering in their birthday suits and one lady is showering in a bathing suit, the lady in the bathing suit is the one who stands out to everyone else.

    As for the showers in gym class, I agree with you. I can’t imagine going through the whole day every day without showering after working up a sweat and having to sit through classes all day.

    I wonder why showers weren’t available to the girls at your high school?

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