Wednesday, April 18, 2007


Last night, after Zozo's bath, I lathered her up with lotion and let her run back down the hallway to see her Daddy. Naked. (Zozo, that is, not Daddy.) She was so adorable...little bare toddler body with the pot belly and chubby thighs and scrawny arms. Cute little baby butt. Made me laugh, watching her run around in her birthday suit.

Then, this morning, I was reading an industry magazine article profiling some new Irish spas, and it said this:
"Despite the notion that Americans are puritanical when it comes to modesty, in the treatment room they're considerably less inhibited than their European counterparts, choosing to forego wearing undergarments."

This has all got me to thinking about my own modesty, and that of people I know, and situations where one might feel comfortable being naked.

I consider myself a reasonably modest person. Now. Before, way back in the day, I was a veritable prude. Going for my annual well-woman exam took a week or two of psyching myself up for it, having a stiff drink before it, and imagining myself anywhere but on the exam table during it. I think humming might even have been involved.

Then, I tried to get pregnant. All modesty flies out the window when you're discussing your uterus with more people than you ever cared to, and when hormone levels and words like "prolactin" become part of your everyday vocabulary. I was poked, prodded, inspected, scanned and tested. I learned that getting an ultrasound is not necessarily an external-only procedure.

Turns out, once you actually get pregnant, none of that stops. The culmination was the day I gave birth, when I found myself completely naked in a (cold!) operating room, numb from the chest down with multiple people, many whom I'd never met before that day, working right around my hoo-ha.

Hard to be modest after that.

Granted, I do not walk around with my bubbies hanging out or anything like that, but, you know, I'd have to say I'm much more comfortable in my own skin now.

I have noticed, though, after two years of working in the spa industry I'm much more open to not only being naked, but letting other people (strangers even!) touch me while I am. And yes, I'm one of those crazy Americans that foregoes wearing undergarments during treatments. Who wants to walk around the rest of the day with panties full of massage oil? Besides, the whole point of your massage is defeated when you're busy squirming from a wedgie.

I realized recently though, when I secret-shopped the competitor's day spa, that I've now become one of those women who can, without second thought, completely disrobe in a women's locker room and cheerily partake of the steam room. No willies. No embarrassment. No nervous averting of eyes or turning red or feeling creeped out (which completely dissolves all the benefits of the massage you're either about to get or have just received).

I think back to my days at Girl Scout camp, when I was just on the very edge of puberty, and the mass shower rooms that embarrassed me to no end (I remember thinking, "Oh, God, my body going to look like that soon"), and I say to myself, "You've come a long way, baby."


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