I’m a swimmer. So in a good week, I make my way to a community pool a couple of times. And while I love love love an empty pool, where no one clips my heels (pretending to be faster than me), I kind of love a crowded change room.
I don’t like the clumps of hair in the drain or the wet benches that I sit on in my jeans but I love seeing all the variations in bodies as women dress and undress. It’s not pervy, it’s just a fabulous fascination with bodies in all their forms.
Yesterday I finished my swim just as a kids swim lesson ended. The shower area is one big room, with about 8 shower heads, and so I was in it with 3 girls, probably all 8-10 years old.
I immediately stripped off my bathing suit to wash while the triad of gals kept theirs on for the moment. I wondered if they were sneaking peeks at my nakedness – surreptitiously checking out the shape and movement of my breasts as my hands go up to my hair to rub in the shampoo or whether they cast their gaze downward to see where my pubes begin and (don’t) end. I hope they did.
For some girls this age this might be the only place where they get a healthy and varied perspective on women’s bodies without distraction. Fashion magazines, music videos and advertisements portray and sell a very limited kind of physical form. Nothing jiggles, hair is contained, and the formulaic notion of beauty is seldom asymmetrical or anything other than extraordinarily lean and taut.
No one should be shamed for having a peek – perhaps girls (and boys in their respective change rooms) ought to hear explicitly that there is nothing at all wrong with having a cast about and seeing all the ways bodies can look. It is a veritable feast for the eyes.