September 30, 2015

Parents And The Taboos Of Touch

In the locker room of my upscale athletic club in Boca Raton, Florida, I was struck one day by two women standing outside the shower. Facing each other and standing close, they were casually conversing while washing their hair — both naked. Nudity with openness and ease is not generally seen in my locker room, where women walk around in towels, sit in the steam room in towels, and wear bathing suits to soak in the Jacuzzi, under a sign reading “Wear proper attire.” The two nude women must be foreign, I thought. They were Finnish.

cool-kidsIn the US, we equate nudity with sexuality and thus view it as forbidden fruit. And like seeds in the wind, we transmit these attitudes to our children. As I undress in the locker room to take a shower, a four year old walks by and glares at me, eyes open wide. “I can see her private parts,” he whispers to his mother. “I can see your ladies’ locker room days are over,” …