Seriously. Somewhere between age 25 and now, I became a true American puritan. Someone's ancestors would be proud, possibly even mine.
Back in the day, I used to love skinny dipping. I would still jump at the chance to jump into a hot tub or a lake naked. It is just plain fun to swim around without any clothes on.
Well, now I'm in Finland where nudity is apparently "no big deal" or so I have been told. They live for the sauna, and they hang out in the sauna naked. Patrick and I have our very own sauna in our apartment, which I think is pretty freaking awesome. We tried it out Sunday night. That's when he told me how it is done here -- naked. Hey, no problem I thought. Then my mind jumped to a story Patrick told me about "the guys" hanging out in a sauna one time. I asked him, "so, when you hang out with the guys, I guess I'll just chill at home, right?" Patrick said, "No, you can hang out too."
My uptight American brain snapped. I started visualizing a coed naked sauna. I stressed out. First thought was "I need to shave!". Then I started wondering if I could do it. Could I just casually hang out naked with a bunch of people? Swimming naked is one thing, but I was comforted by the protection of water around my body. The more I thought about it, the more anxious I felt. I kept reminding myself "nudity is no big deal here. It is only a big deal in my mind." I decided that I could do it if we were in a big group with many ladies present. I thought I could hide in the crowd that way.
Well, the very next night, we were invited for dinner, drinks, and SAUNA! There were 6 guys and me. They were all really nice. Nothing about the sauna felt inappropriate, but I was frozen. There was no way in hell I was gonna hang out naked at Sausage Fest 2008.
That's when I started to wonder when I became so uptight. Well, whenever it happened, it apparently has happened. I do hope to break through this and embrace the coed sauna experience. But, I am going to take baby steps. It would be a little easier to transition into the coed thing if I had a group of girlfriends here. I could hang out with them and have someone to talk to. I mean, imagine that you have to go to a party. You don't know a soul there. It can be intimidating to meet new people and socialize with strangers. Now imagine you have to do that naked in a really hot room. Geez louise. When did I become such a prude?