And another one on neeeked swimming way back when

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    May 01, 2014 7:01 PM GMT
    http://www.vocativ.com/culture/fun/fairly-recently-ymca-actually-required-swimmers-nude/
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    May 01, 2014 7:20 PM GMT
    My older brother learned to swim at the Y, and at the time, all the boys had to swim naked. I always wondered what happened to this practice - I probably would have come out as gay earlier if I had gone through this, swimming at the Y.

    (And what is FOF hiding from today?)
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    May 01, 2014 7:32 PM GMT
    “One of the things that’s fascinating about it as a story is that we tend to assume back then was more puritanical than we are now,” notes Beam. “That’s not necessarily the case. It’s a pretty interesting little narrative about American culture and body image and masculinity.”
    In some respects yes, in others, no.

    I lived during during the suitless era in male swimming pools, as well as at outdoor camps. Aside from the very real filtration issues with wool and cotton suits (have you ever see a clothes dryer filter when you run a load of cotton towels?), the unspoken issue in this article is that men didn't NEED swimsuits. So why should we wear them?

    They're really a bother. In the absence of females at an all-male YMCA or high-school pool, who were we hiding from? Each other?

    We had already taken a mandatory nude shower together in a gang shower room, and we'd likely take another group nude shower when we were done. So why exactly did we need to wear a swimsuit in between, while also all wet?

    There were no women there, so what was the purpose? From whom were we shielding ourselves? The same guys who had just seen us naked in the shower room?

    Nude swimming meant a guy could come into the Y on his lunch hour or after work, and be issued a towel and go for a swim. He didn't have to bring a thing with him, nor leave with a wet swimsuit. Even the lock on his locker would be issued for the day. It was simplicity itself.

    In schools it meant parents didn't have to buy suits, or the school provide them. Nor did wet, moldy & stinky suits get left in rusting metal gym lockers. Suits that boys would try to wear again, hence the hygienic issues.

    So that actually nude male swimming made perfect sense. It wasn't some arbitrary rule. Yes, it might feel awkward at first, if you'd never done it before. But so are gang showers.
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    May 01, 2014 7:47 PM GMT
    HikerSkier saidMy older brother learned to swim at the Y, and at the time, all the boys had to swim naked. I always wondered what happened to this practice,,,

    US YMCAs went coed, so pool policy had to change. Plus boys in school got shyer, and parents complained about nudity, even to include taking group showers.

    I think it was both the perverted influence of rising Christian fundamentalism, and also that US home life, as it became more prosperous following WWII, instilled a sense of individual domestic privacy that had never existed before.

    Having a private bedroom, and private use of a bathroom, were luxuries than many American kids didn't experience prior to the 1950s. Don't rely upon the movies from the period, which were "G" rated by our standards anyway - the reality is that life was a lot more earthy than we realize today. Hence nude swimming was a natural, and not a big shock or scandal to the boys of that time.
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    May 01, 2014 7:56 PM GMT
    HikerSkier saidMy older brother learned to swim at the Y, and at the time, all the boys had to swim naked. I always wondered what happened to this practice - I probably would have come out as gay earlier if I had gone through this, swimming at the Y.

    (And what is FOF hiding from today?)


    It's FiF (freedomisntfree) btw.

    I haven't deleted my profile, but I'm gone from here.