Friday, January 21, 2011

It's No Accident They're Called Private Parts

Living in Russia may be stripping me of my repressed American sensitivities. Maybe it isn't Russia. Maybe it is the people I am surrounded with, the constant cloud of Non-Americans. I am not even sure if I am being stripped of these sensitivities as much as I want to be stripped of them. Or do I just think I should be?

I am not modest by American standards. Certainly not by the standards of the Catholic school I attended for 13 years. I've worked in an anything-goes liberal environment for the 6 years prior to moving overseas. I have talked a bawdy talk, but I am not sure if I can walk a bawdy walk. Especially when it isn't considered vulgar.

Non-sexualized nudity. These Europeans love it. They don't love it actually. They don't think about it. Nudity is just another outfit. It isn't noticed or discussed. In America, however, is there such a thing? Does anyone not suppress a giggle even looking at nude art? In a country where the women dress less than modest, why are we so nervous to take off what little clothes we are left wearing? Do we value sexuality so much that we are we trying to preserve it in our nudity?

How does one invitation evoke this much debate in me? I was invited to participate in a real Russian staple. The Russian Banya. This is a widely practiced and enjoyed Russian event. That is not really an event, it is more likely the Russian equivalent of  "hey do you want to go get pedicures together after work?". Except I never had to get naked for a pedicure and I haven't been naked in front of anyone in a non-sexual way since I was a child. I am an American, we don't do that. We are free....but not THAT free, right?

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