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!