Saturday, August 06, 2005

Europe 2005 - Gymnophobia

A lot of people harassed me at work about going to Europe just for the topless beaches. Its true that for the first few uncomfortable minutes I didn't know where to put my eyes; but you soon realize that it is the culture and is no different then choosing bikinis vs. a "one piece" for our culture. The thing that soon surprised me was how many local women were wearing bikinis that were not topless. I wonder what the dividing cultural reason is. Nude beaches have also been next to our destined beach in England, France, Greece, and the Netherlands to the point that I think Leslie suspects me of planning it that way. No we have not gone to them.
Its not just the beaches that catch you off guard either. At the rest stops there is usually a lady that you tip to keep the restrooms clean. She has no qualms about cleaning while the urinals are in use. I guess this is better than many restrooms I have seen where the urinals are in clear view from the door. In France they just tack the urinals to the outside wall and I drew the line there, I couldn't use them. L. has been put off by the public urinating we have seen at least once a day while driving.
Its not just that though there are many more hints that the European culture has a lot less encumberments with nudity. I think it starts young in schools since many of the museums we have visited have field trips of kids at them and none of the kids are snickering at the naked paintings like I remember doing when I was their age. While at the comic museum we saw a lot of partially and nude women in the comics and they all can’t be for adults.
The advertising also does show more, but it seems that in culture here the breasts do not seem to be as sexy as close ups of the stomach when selling products. TV shows have shown both naked women and men but I would put it at a PG-13 where it is only a flash. Adult magazines are sold at newspaper stands displayed with all the other magazines.
The annoying part has been the over abundance of postcards that are nothing more then pictures of statues and penises. I blame this squarely on the tourists though since they wouldn't be sold if they weren't being bought.

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