undress casually around each other, after a swim in the public pool,
without concern for nudity, but in the South being nude in the locker
room is considered a social offense.
Who would have thought that
being naked in the women’s locker room would cause consternation. But it
did. I had just finished showering, and stood in the nude while getting
my clothes together. What a little furor it caused.
difference I wouldn’t have expected. Politely I was informed that if I
wanted privacy I could use the men’s room because men seldom visited the
little spa where I was taking my bath. Dressing and undressing in a
private cubicle would be better, I was politely told.
This was a
reminder that customs differ sharply when it comes to what is
considered appropriate and what is not, including whether or not a woman
should be nude in front of other women in a public place.
spa where the incident took place is in Natchitoches, Louisiana, right
near the heart of the downtown area and adjunct to a medical clinic. It
is well-lit and lovely, with a view of the Cane river, and has all the
amenites to make one feel special, including massage, special showers,
nail treatments and makeup demonstrations. Hot tea and fresh fruit along
with soft music round out a delightful experience.
stark naked in front of other women is unique enough for conversation
and a reminder that modesty is defined differently by women depending
upon where they live.
In Oregon women of all ages comfortably
walk around nude in the women’s locker room. In Hawaii the only garment
worn while moving from locker to shower might be a wrap for the head.
Some women find a private cubicle, but no one looks sideways at anyone
nude in the shower.
“It’s important to be modest,” I was told by
the receptionist at the spa in Natchitoches, who scarcely could believe I
didn’t know the rules. But the end result was a great, big laugh at
the differences in style between the South and other parts of the United
States when it comes to what is appropriate attire, or no attire at
all, in public places.
The moral is: look before stripping and
don’t run naked in the locker room unless you have cultural permission
to avoid being thought offensive.