I have lived in China for almost two years now, and I have come to realize that Chinese people are pretty conservative when it comes to nudity. That is, until you walk into a change room.
Oh, how things change! I sometimes wonder if they remove all of their clothes the second they walk through the door. By the time I get to the locker area, I am usually the only person who is wearing clothing.
I am pretty comfortable with my body, and I feel very comfortable changing in front of others (in the appropriate settings, of course.) The problem however, does not end with just changing clothes. They walk around chatting with friends and strangers in the nude. They blow dry their hair and other parts in the nude. They go into the sauna in the nude. They do their make-up and style their hair in the nude.
Needless to say, the first few visits to the gym were a little strange to me, but after some time I thought that it was kind of nice. Everyone is comfortable with themselves and they don’t feel like they need to cover anything up. What a refreshing change to the self-conscious Western attitude.
That feeling changed today!
I wanted to get to my assigned locker, but to one side was a nude lady speaking to a friend and to the other was another naked woman talking on the phone. I was in a bit of a hurry to get to my class, so I politely used my best Chinese to say ‘Excuse me.’ Of course, no one moved. I tried again in a slightly louder voice. Still, no luck. Finally, I tried to squeeze in between them to access my locker. As I bent down to open the door I was hit in the side of the head with nude lady to the left’s bum. I quickly jerked to the right to get away from the bum and managed to hit nude lady to the right’s bum square on with my face.
It was at that precise moment that I realized Westerners cover up in the change room for reasons other than modesty! Nobody wants a bum in the face!