Nudity in Europe is like Taco Bell in America: it's cheap, it's everywhere, and it's somehow a combination of awesome and gross at the very same time. The spas, the pools, the art museums. Switzerland even has "drive-in" prostitution sex boxes (pretty ironic for a country who can't seem to master the McDonald's drive thru). I kid you not. Google it.
People and their nakedness are just accepted here. France gave Fifty Shades of Grey a PG12 rating, meaning thirteen-year-olds can see it! Nothing says bondage and whips like a giggling eighth-grader sitting next to you.
Coming from a more clothed US, I cannot quite understand the acceptance of the birthday suit but the outright rejection of the frosted birthday cake. See, I'm the girl at the spa who wraps the XL beach towel over her one-piece bathing suit. I will never feel quite right about jiggling my lady bits in public places.
Once, when I was a young sixteen, very self-conscious yet in awe of myself and my new female curves, a very unfortunate occurrence happened to me that perhaps paved the way to my current state of mind. Alone in the locker room at the local YMCA one evening, I found myself solo in the showers. I wrapped a towel tightly around my naked body and ventured into the changing area, slowing down a bit when I saw my reflection on the tinted glass door of the sauna room. I liked the way the shaded glass portrayed me---sort of like a filter in the pre-Instagram days. I glanced at my darkened reflection and decided to see if my hard work on the treadmill was paying off. I opened the towel with a little shimmy and I posed for myself. I then turned around to get a good view of my rear. I may or may not have even done a little jiggle/sexy pout combo. When I turned back around to admire my front side once again, I stopped dead in my tracks as the sauna door opened. As it would turn out, I was not alone in that locker room. A shell-shocked, elderly woman stepped out of the sauna and glared at me. I had given her a private show through that glass door, and she not likey it. She not likey it one bit.
I think that old bitty forever turned me off from nude beaches. To this day, I can't walk around a locker room in anything other than a spacesuit.
And yet I find myself here in Europe, where the boobs and the balls come buffet style. Life has a funny sense of humor, does it not?
I walked past the undergarment section at the Manor the other day. To you non-Swissies, the Manor is a respectable, upscale department store, comparable to a Neiman Marcus or Nordstroms. There, hanging from the ceilings, were plastic chains connected to French copies of Fifty Shades of Grey, baskets of silk blindfolds, beaded whips, and fancy sex toys. I blushed, then chuckled, then stared in horror as my three-year-old daughter grabbed onto a pearl G-string and said "this one's pretty, mama."
I need to get back to the USA. I need some Taco Bell.