Today, we inadvertently flashed the pool man at our villa. I swear it was completely accidental! I had hopped into the rain shower after a most satisfying workout at the gym. I had hiked up instead of taking a shuttle to our villa atop the mountain. I had indulged in an extra few minutes of rain-like downpour in the shower. So I emerged, squeaky clean and feeling quite arcadian.
My hubby was getting ready to get in the shower next. He did not see the bathroom door swing open from a sudden gust. I rushed to close the door. After all, we were both in our birthday suits. It wasn’t until the door was well on its swing to close that I noticed the silhouette beyond the terrace door sheers. The unmistakeable brown hat. The sudden turning away of the torso. He had seen us.
I went about getting dressed. I thought about the fleeting moment. Was he embarrassed by what he saw? I dared not go out to ascertain. My hubby came out of the shower. I mentioned it to him.
“We flashed the pool man, hon.” He looked at me blankly. “So?” His look said to me.
Have we become desensitized to nudity in general? After all, we’re from the San Francisco Bay Area, where nudity has been as mundane as street vendors in Cairo. Recently, after Sunday brunch at our daughter’s new Edge-of-the-Castro apartment, we were treated to a view of two very happy nudists out and about on the street across from us. They wore cowboy boots and hats. They did apply red socks to their members. My hubby and I looked at each other and smiled. To each his own, I suppose. Does this qualify as an alternative definition for the saying, “put a sock on it?”
Well, what about nudity anyway? American society has long been puritanical about their sexuality. Talk about a real hang-up! In Europe, it’s not unusual to see a life-size poster of a woman taking a shower in all her frontal resplendence, in a supermarket end cap where shower and shampoo products deck the display shelves. Contrast that with the prohibition of showing a woman’s face, let alone her ankles in some utlra-conservative and orthodox cultures in the Middle East to this day. In Manila, a movie is rated “R” if at any portion, two breasts instead of one, is shown. Maybe Miley Cyrus and Lady Gaga have the right idea to ruffle some evangelical feathers every now and then.
I remember when I was a teenager living in Manila, it was a social faux pas to allow anyone a peek up your skirt, nevermind if it was accidental, as in walking up the stairs or disembarking from a tall vehicle, in a skirt. That was considered a major affront on your purity. The nuns and the elders would shake their heads disapprovingly. It’s as though we have been rendered less pure, less chaste, less virginal, at having been peeked at. It also assumed that all men are nothing less than voyeuristic louts who live for nothing else but these little jollies.
The human body has, for centuries, been lauded by renowned artists. After all, were we not all supposed to have been made in the image of our maker? But we have proceeded to camouflage, drape, and conceal it, for fear of inviting lewd thoughts and lewd acts. Or so, the religious right and the holier than you and me have purported. Scantily clad people don’t do it to invite any kind of violation of their bodies anymore than athletes do when they dress for their sport, or dancers for their performances.
I say we celebrate our bodies (not inappropriately nor tastelessly of course!), regardless of age, regardless of what the old nuns or imams say. Or not say.