Coed Naked Immaturity Insults My Intelligence

Cultures have layers that can be peeled off like clothes.

My regular readers may remember that I’ve written several posts about my time in Switzerland.  (Here’s the first, second, third, and fourth.)  Today, I will strip the culture even more bare by showing the naked landscape without its coat of snow.  So here’s the pic:

Relaxing for tourists, up to a point...

Relaxing for tourists, up to a point…

This photo comes to you from the resort village of Interlaken.  The mountains form the culture’s outermost layer, the one that gave the world Heidi and all those sports and scenic views people flock to the country for.  Then, if you look closely at the building’s perimeter, you’ll find the diving boards for a public pool as well as some tourists who the pool’s intended for.  But then on the inside, behind those large windows in the center of the building, you’ll find a cultural layer where few dare to tread.

I’ll give you a hint: there’s a reason I didn’t get closer to the windows to take this photograph.

Those windows shield the “wellness” facility.  It has saunas, a hot tub, a cold bucket of water (read: shower) and a torture device called a kneipp; you put your aching feet under the kneipp’s faucet and it alternates between boiling and frigid water.

You’ll be gravely disappointed if you clicked on this post hoping for adult content.  Men and women use these facilities together and there’s not much clothing to be seen.  You may wear a towel in the saunas (not a swimsuit) although some people lie naked on their towels.  The changing area is shielded from the windows but not from everyone’s view… although there is a restroom.  The facility prohibits underwear because that carries sexual connotations.

Few know about this layer of Switzerland and, among those who do, even fewer want to see it.  I had been in Europe long enough to not be uncomfortable with seeing the nudity, though I wasn’t quite willing to go inside.  After long and active days, I couldn’t let my squeamishness keep me from the accompanying relaxation.  The Swiss are used to it and it isn’t sexual for them, so I’m presumably not going to Hell for seeing all those body parts.

And the strangest thing happens if you visit often enough.  You learn to get annoyed when immature loudmouths come through or get uncomfortable with the tourist couple that cuddles suggestively in the hot tub.  The nudity becomes invisible and the interruptions become notable.

I eventually left this innermost layer of Switzerland and returned to the United States.  Somewhat surprisingly, I found myself having to learn how to respect my home culture’s norms.  It’s the “oh, wait… I ought to be looking away” reflex that evaporated during my foreign travels.  And of course, a lot of the old humor wasn’t still funny.  I went shopping with an old friend and she tried to get me riled up by showing me topless photos a store was selling.  I yawned and she hasn’t introduced me to any single women since then.

Life is funny sometimes.

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11 thoughts on “Coed Naked Immaturity Insults My Intelligence

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  2. It’s very odd how prudish Americans are compared to the rest of the world, isn’t it? I guess it’s that good Quaker/Puritan foundation of ours. Our kids would probably be much better behaved and more mature if we didn’t go to such great lengths to shelter them from everything. For example, in Europe, where children drink wine from a young age, you don’t seem to hear about kids going crazy and getting DUI’s on their 21st birthdays. But it’s hard to cross cultural boundaries, especially in the Bible belt.

    • Ain’t that the truth.

      Europe’s also kind of interesting because some countries allow kids to drink alcohol years before they’re permitted to drive. I think smoking is also permitted at a younger age but that doesn’t strike me as a positive.

      • Same goes for sex. In Sweden, for example, the age of consent is 15. In SA if two kids under 18 have sex they BOTH have criminal charges laid against them and there’s some people in government who’d be happy if that age was increased to 21. Drinking they just want to ban for everyone. Seriously, our government is trying to bring back prohibition. Cause it worked so well the first time.

        Interesting that underwear has sexual connotations but nudity is fine. I read a while back about a court in Europe somewhere (can’t remember the country) that ruled public masturbation is also okay, as long as you’re not doing it “at” someone. Don’t know if I’d be able to get comfortable with that.

        • For the first time ever, I’m glad most folks in the US are ignorant of African affairs. If they knew of the SA law, they’d want to pass it here.

          That European court is probably in the Netherlands. And the number 15 looks familiar. I think the wellness facility’s minimum age of entry was 14 or 15. I don’t want to get too judgmental on that because Swiss (and Swedish) teenagers may have been raised to be psychologically capable of handling themselves at such a young age. With the Swiss example, it does make me nervous because a trickle of foreigners passes through the facility and the teenagers could be harmed by creepy misbehaviors. (I know I just juxtaposed a sexual and non-sexual circumstance. No deep comparison was intended.)

        • That law is being challenged now, by the way, by several non-profits working with children. I happen to agree with them. Criminalising “normal” teen behaviour is not the way to stop it and ends up doing more harm than good. As the law currently stands if two teens are found guilty of having consensual intercourse they both land on the sex offenders register for life. You can also get fined for kissing if you’re under 16. Our guys are even better than yours at making idiotic laws I’m afraid.

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