Europe has it’s own set of rules when it comes to nudity, and I find myself in a bit of a conundrum when trying to explain this to my kids. I am all for modesty. I am also all for my kids growing up without a sense of shame about their own or other people’s bodies. We’re relaxed about it at home, but haven’t had to tackle the subject of public nudity yet.
At this point in my life I am absolutely beyond being shocked. Nursing school and a rather unfortunate encounter with a fully naked man riding a moped has cured me of that. There was also the topless grandma playing badminton on the beach directly in front of me, and the Marine posing near the water’s edge wearing nothing but a wristwatch. Yes, I have seen much and, dare I say, entirely too much on the part of the Marine.
However, my kids…my sweet, innocent, know no shame yet kids, have not been privy to any of this. Until “Badi” season. The local swimbad has given them their first experience living in a culture that does not immediately equate nudity with sexuality. Women go topless, men change their swim trunks in the open, kids strip down and dry off on the grass. It’s a tricky thing to explain, and I find myself with few words and frequent shoulder shrugs. Because really, what can one tell a kid when the sixty year old flashing his backside is simply trying to change quickly and head home for dinner? Or when the kid on the next blanket over gets his swim trunks in a bunch and takes them off in frustration?
It’s strange and freeing and a bit uncomfortable all at the same time, and so I am left to ponder explaining without shaming. Yes, a conundrum indeed.