I've contributed to perhaps the best humor compilation I've ever read. Available now on Amazon!

My second chapbook, "The Second Book of Pearl: The Cats" is now available as either a paper chapbook or as a downloadable item. See below for the Pay Pal link or click on its cover just to the right of the newest blog post to download to your Kindle, iPad, or Nook. Just $3.99 for inspired tales of gin, gambling addiction and inter-feline betrayal.

My first chapbook, I Was Raised to be A Lert is in its third printing and is available both via the PayPal link below and on smashwords! Order one? Download one? It's all for you, baby!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

That’s Some Mighty Big Modesty You Have There

Spring Break has arrived, the free time allowing a large number of particularly young, bendy creatures to descend upon the yoga studio.

Have you been to my yoga studio?  Crawling with earnest, friendly folk, clear-eyed and sincere, I am given hope that the current generation of young adults is not as self-centered as, well, I was.

We shed many things in the practice of yoga:  our attachment to outcome, our clothing…

How often do you get naked while there are strangers in the room?  If you’re like me, pre-yoga, the answer to this question is “rarely”. 

It’s not easy, the first couple of times. 

There are some, undeniably, who cannot wait to stand around naked.  They come out of the showers, a towel wrapped about their heads.  Nude from the scalp down, they eventually remove the turban, only to stand, nude, in front of the mirrors in order to blow dry their hair.

These people should not be trusted.

But not everyone is comfortable in their skin.

Last week I watched a young woman change her clothes without removing her coat.

We’ll pause for a moment while that sinks in. 

Can I get you a coffee?  No?  I know of an unlocked candy drawer around here if you – no?  OK.

She stood there, the poor little doe, in a coat that reached mid-calf.  Balancing on first one leg, then the other, she removed her socks, pants, and underwear in a hunched-back dance of shyness almost too painful to behold.

Almost.

One can’t help but look.  What’s she doing?  Normally I am too concerned with stuffing my clothes into a locker to notice the people around me, but the coat, coupled with her furtive, please-don’t-look-at-me movements, is magnetic.

Surely she will have to take off her coat to change her top, won’t she?

No.  She will not.  Huddled, she disappears in a quilted, lumpy demonstration of flexibility that bodes well for the hour of yoga ahead of her.

I leave the locker room while she finishes. 

She’s young, she’s good looking, and she’s awkwardly unsure of her place in the world.

From one generation to the next, I want to tell her:  Honey, it gets better.  

49 comments:

kt said...

Been there done that. I an remember a Senior Scout trip to Canada where I didn't know any of the girls. I changed clothes in my sleeping bag. Was a challenge but, it worked.

Having babies cured me of that problem.

haphazardlife said...

Wow, that's impressive! Poor kid.

Pearl said...

kt, :-)Having a baby cures one of a lot of things: unnecessary modesty, time to read, surplus money... :-)

Pearl said...

haphazard, felt sorry for her!

Shelly said...

it's amazing how what we zealously guard in the regular world becomes old hat in the locker room with strangers. i did get a laugh with the girl under the coat. that would have been me a few years ago, but now, not so much.

Vicus Scurra said...

Disappointingly unerotic.

Robbie Grey said...

It's horrible to be that uncomfortable in one's own skin, I know because I've gone through a phase like. Although, I endeavored to avoid places that required a change of clothing in public.

Sausage Fingers said...

I feel your pain, I always leave the gym with the same sweaty clothes I worked out in. The problem down here is not the young bendy types but the old crusty types that come for the free showers and like to "Hang out" for a while. I don't mind naked but seeing grandpa and his generals walking about the showers makes for one uncomfortable sausage...
Cheers.

BamaTrav said...

Naked!?!?!?! I need to know where you do yoga at. ;)

Pearl said...

Shelly, the poor thing doesn't realize that instead of just dropping her drawers and changing like everyone else -- and right after work, there's not a lot of time for transition from work clothes to yoga -- she draws attention to herself, the opposite of what she wants...

vicus, are you sure? Read it again. :-)

Robbie, the naked body is either used for selling something or titillating someone, too rarely seen as just the housing mechanism...

SF, my son, at the age of 10, was shocked to report, at our first gym, how many older men walked around naked for no good reason. While I don't think we should be ashamed of nudity, there's no call to put a foot up on a bench and hold full conversations in yer birthday suit...

Bama, oooooh. Not naked yoga. :-) Can you imagine?! No. Wait...

Joshua said...

I used to have problems getting naked in public. No...wait...still do.

Pearl said...

Joshua, that's not what your neighbors say.

terlee said...

Ah, the poor girl. You've got to give her credit for even showing up to the class if she's that shy and/or embarrassed to be seen naked. Cripes, it's not like the locker room is co-ed.

mybabyjohn/Delores said...

Oh yes, just have a baby and you get over all that foolishness...however, once you reach a "certain age" you are not too keen on public displays.

Leauxra said...

I noticed recently that the girls that are most shy in the locker rooms are the young, is-this-OK, crowd. It tends to be the same crowd that will wear daisy dukes and a backless halter top held together with a couple of strings.

There is some invisible line that is crossed when the bra comes off, I think. I have to force myself to not hunch over when I change.

Mandy_Fish said...

Poor thing. I can totally relate to her.

fishducky said...

I'm lucky I'm a fishducky! My beautiful yellow feathers are all I ever wear. You humans have so many silly problems!

Joanne said...

I used to be able to put a turtle neck on or off under an outter shirt--without removing the outter shirt. That only occurred during outdoor shows with facilities a mile away, an only after I was near destroyed by whichever way the temperature had gone. But preferably behind my booth, if possible. I didn't think about it, I just did it.

Raymond Alexander Kukkee said...

Around here, such places seem to exist only in the fantasy of the mind. Where is it anyway, I'm on the way. Nudism is natural, let's pretend that skin was invented a long time before clothes were. Maybe the en-coated flex-bendy child-woman was cold, or raised by prunes -- and had long-Johns on ? Great post, Pearl! ":)

Bodacious Boomer said...

Even when I was young and couldn;t be mistaken for a Shar-Pei I was never one much for walking about in the altogether, not after the age of about 2 anyway.

What amazes me is people who plays sports in the buff. That would hurt.

jenny_o said...

Hah! Like Delores said, it gets better for awhile, then it gets worse again :)

IndigoWrath said...

I wander around naked all the time. But not in public. Well, no very often. And speaking hypothetically *ahem* they really don't like it at the office. Indigo x

Jono said...

Her flexibility and talent to change clothing while covered in a coat is intriguing. I have witnessed similar talents at the beach and can't help but watch in amazement.

Kelley said...

I laughed out loud at imagining a small little lump of coat with a person changing underneath it. My sister loves yoga. She told me a story about an older man joining the class for the first time and farting really loudly right in the middle of it. Everyone kept going like nothing happened. I would've died.

Craver Vii said...

I was almost afraid to continue reading after "naked yoga." I try not to offend people who are super-comfortable with exposing themselves. Especially when it's a mom breastfeeding her baby. But honestly, I prefer the modest blanket over the shoulder. I do not think the baby minds that at all. I never say anything to those moms, though; I just turn around or walk away.

Mr. Charleston said...

I'm not gonna do it! I'm not gonna do it! I'm not gonna say anything about a room full of naked ladies and the downward dog.

JohnD said...

You know what - I've never been into an exercise gym in my whole life! When I was a young male I was built like a greyhound racing dog. As an old man I'm 200 pound+ and on a diet! lol!

Ahhh! Such is life!

Symdaddy said...

Rowan Atkinson (A.K.A Mr. Bean)

http://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cts=1331159536896&sqi=2&ved=0CC0QtwIwAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DNZyvm1lMnGY&ei=4-FXT-PtCfS00QXc84zsDQ&usg=AFQjCNFNXcFrxpW8M7gQWUnfkmpxR9OE5w&sig2=sdCTxN77lqZJlE_Y7-hdXw

Have a look.

Ms Sparrow said...

Great post! Reminds me of the last time I was forced to become naked. It was in a public locker room at the Blue Lagoon in Iceland. I'm trying to get it done as fast as possible. The woman standing next to me is tiny--really tiny, and I'm struggling into my swimsuit with bulgy flab fighting me every inch of the way. It gives new meaning to the term Ugly American. The memory stills burns!

Pat said...

I used to do that on the beach and probably still would.

Gigi said...

Bless her heart. Little does she know - no one is really looking at her....unless she's changing her clothes under a coat.

She's the exact opposite of my friend. We decided to meet for dinner after work. She's a nurse and wanted to change from her scrubs before we went in (why she didn't do it at work, I'll never know). So she crawled into the backseat of the car to change her top, but then popped out in the middle of the parking lot (on a very busy, main road) to change her pants. Needless to say, traffic slowed to a crawl to watch her. I was in awe of her lack of self consciousness.

Susan in the Boonies said...

I remember feeling that way: in 7th grade.

Other girls had breasts and wore makeup.

It was a NIGHTMARE.

Leenie said...

Wow. Lots of comments about this one. Everybody is naked under their clothes. Some are just a little easier on the eyes. When gravity starts winning and things begin to sag (as in my case) I feel I'm doing a favor to those in the vicinity by choosing to find a stall in which to change in the locker room.

HermanTurnip said...

"Once there was this girl who
Wouldn't go and change with the girls in the change room
But when they finally made her
They saw birthmarks all over her body
She couldn't quite explain it
They'd always just been there"
-Crash Test Dummies

Elliot MacLeod-Michael said...

Had I known about the nudity in yoga I might have gotten into it by now, or at least become a spectator.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

I come from a world where we change at home and drive to class in our yoga clothes!

Tempo said...

That kind of shyness is kinda cute... for a while. I've seen a few weird and frankly wonderful quick changes.
Once a mate and I were snorkeling at the quiet end of a busy beach. As we surfaced to come out of the water there before us was a young woman starkers and changing behind towels held by her friends. With her back to us she had no idea we were there....Ah, memories!

Steadfast Ahoy! said...

The comments are almost as entertaining as the post!
Rosemary

Linda Myers said...

I had the same experience as Ms. Sparrow at the Blue Lagoon in Iceland. Jet lagged out of my mind and exhausted from the red-eye flight, I still disbelieved when told I'd have to be naked with a bunch of strangers, some of whom were in my tour group that had gathered an hour earlier.

On the other hand, it had been ages since I'd been in a room full of naked women, and it was astonishing how different the bodies looked.

I didn't look at mine at all, not even in the mirror.

Steadfast Ahoy! said...

Really, I only wanted to post that once. Rosemary

The Elephant's Child said...

There is always one. And often that one has the body that many of the rest of us have left behind. Long ago.

tattytiara said...

I think I have a coat just like hers...

Marlia said...

Naked?????!!!! I wasn't even naked at my christening. My one terror in life is that the undertaker is going to see me naked!!! Although, thinking about it, that's my joke on him!!!

Pearl thanks for stopping by.

esbboston said...

"yoga"? ... never heard of it

River said...

I'm the type who'd dress in yoga clothes at home, then go straight home again after the class to shower and change. I don't need to frighten others with my sagginess and varicose veins.

DAVID McGRIEVEY said...

This perverse modesty never happens in the men's locker room, I wish at times it would, the sights you see.
Gravity and time are unkind to testicles.
Social history has taught us that woman should never burn their bras and that men should stick to briefs, not boxers.
We all need support and to support each other, even if we must wear blinders.
X David

Linda O'Connell said...

Hubby and I were on a beach when a very thin European couple spread a blanket, sat down, disrobed and then stood so put on swimwear. He wasn't flaunting it, he was comfortable, hairy hiney and all. ME, I'd have made a tent out of the blanket.

Pearl said...

The comments have been fantastic.

Quick note: I was in Puerto Vallarta a number of years back and discovered that what they say about the Swedish, generally speaking, is true. They had no compunction against removing their clothes at the pool. It was very matter of fact and had no bearing on sex/allure/anything of that nature. They simply got out of the pool, took their swimsuits off, dried themselves and put on pool-lounging attire. It was inspiring.

Jenn Jilks said...

This reminds me of the ill-fitting thong police report.
Kid you not.

Just a minute, I'll find it. (I even have a photo from a visit at the beach, never to be repeated!)

I understand what you are saying Life is too short to be that afraid of showing one's body in a locker room! Love your posts.

Mind you, after 3 kids, two grandkids, menopause, weight gain, I work out in my basement, and take long walks on 16 acres of solitude! And I'm on my last husband, never to date again, either!!!!