Teen's nudity bothers neighbor

Teen's nudity bothers neighbor

There are 63 comments on the Chicago Tribune story from Dec 31, 2007, titled Teen's nudity bothers neighbor. In it, Chicago Tribune reports that:

Dear Abby: I have lived next door to the "Smiths" for 18 years. They're nice people.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Chicago Tribune.

Russell

Albuquerque, NM

#25 Jan 1, 2008
I assure you that what I said about nude swimming in high school is accurate. I was in high school in the 1950s and remember it very clearly. There was no mixing of boys and girls in physical education. There were only boys in the pool and we were not permitted to wear suits. The same was true with YMCAs. On the other hand, girls did wear suits when it was their turn to use the pool. This was common knowledge. Everyone knew about it, and it was considered entirely normal and natural. It was assumed that a boy who was uncomfortable with it had significant mental problems which should be addressed, although I saw that as an unreasonable assumption.

For other physical education sports, we changed clothes in a locker room; there was NO privacy, and few boys found it to be a problem. We all saw everything, and sometimes there was even kidding about how some boys appeared since boys do not all develop at the same rate. We took showers in a large shower room with no partitions.

Again, this was standard practice over much of the U.S. Perhaps it was even universal. The change apparently came in schools sometime in the late 1970s when physical education classes became co-ed. In YMCAs, the change came when women were admitted, but even then, there was NO privacy in locker rooms or showers. No one seemed to care; it was considered entirely natural, as long as men and women were separated. It was common for men to wander around locker rooms totally nude, and so far as I could tell, no one thought anything of it.

It seems totally bizarre to me that people are unaware of this and have trouble believing it. Ask any man over about 60 if you doubt what I am saying.

And, I am not Mrs. Russell; I am a 69 year old man.

I invite older men to post comments to substantiate what I have said.
Russell

Albuquerque, NM

#26 Jan 1, 2008
Here are some web sites in which men remember nude swimming in earlier times, both in high school gym classes and in YMCA pools. The sites are strictly G rated, i.e., probably anyone can visit them without being offended.

http://www.lakestclair.net/forums/index.php...

http://www.doctoryourself.com/exercise_avoid....

http://ask.metafilter.com/23714/Dont-all-scho...

http://www.topix.com/forum/education/TID0DQ0G...

http://www.topix.com/forum/education/TID0DQ0G...

http://ozonetv.wordpress.com/2007/04/25/the-n...

I hope that this material will educate at least a few people who obviously need it, not because anything is wrong with them, but rather, because they have never had access to the information.

Part of the problem is that, for reasons that I do not understand, in recent years people have begun to associate nudity with sex. It has not always been so. Nudity is not necessary sexual; it all depemds on one's attitude. If people had a more positive and healthful attitude towards their bodies, perhaps we would be experiencing fewer social problems.
LES

United States

#27 Jan 1, 2008
ummm wrote:
<quoted text>
Honey, somebody's been pulling your leg.
I went to high school in the 1950's, taught school in the 60's, had children in school in the 70's and 80's and I can GUARANTEE you that we/they ALL wore swimsuits in high school. The only time one might be momentarily nude would be in the locker room while changing into or out of said swimsuit. And even then, people stayed as covered as possible and learned to change clothes really really fast.
You're not totally correct. I attended a Chicago Public High school as a sophomore in the 1970's. Boys were required to swim in the nude. It was a CPS rule. It was supposed to keep pools more clean by not allowing potentially unclean swimsuits. I am not asking you to judge the rule. But I can assure you from personal experience that it was true.
Jim

United States

#28 Jan 1, 2008
I went to high school in the northern Chicago suburbs in the 70s, and we were nude as well. They did not allow us to bring our own swimsuits because of their concerns over the uncleanliness of outside suits. And they didn't supply us with any because they said they couldn't figure out what to do with so many wet suits. So we swam in the buff. Nobody thought twice about it.

I found it exhilirating. Too bad times have changed.
ummm

Lisle, IL

#29 Jan 1, 2008
I asked the 65 year old man in my family and he laughed and said his high school (in Chicago) didn't have a pool, so no, he didn't wear a swimsuit!!!

So I stand corrected by Russell, Les and Jim. I guess I just must have led a very "sheltered" childhood!

;)

“No Excuses!”

Since: Dec 07

Schaumburg

#30 Jan 1, 2008
Russell wrote:
How do you know that there is anything wrong with the "concerned neighbor?" We know nothing about her. One can, of course, guess, but the guesses are not necessarily correct.
It may be that her daily schedule is such that she is at her kitchen sink when the neighbor boy is walking around his kitchen nude, in which case she naturally would notice. Depending on how visible he it, it could be obvious to her whether or not he is arroused. If she has a negative attitude towards nudity, she might very well wonder just what the situation was. Even to me, it does seem a bit odd that he would be wondering around the house nude, but people don't all have the same attitudes so perhaps there isn't anything amis.
Only recently I have learned that over the last 25 or so years, attitudes towards nudity have changed. Until the late 70s or so, in high school gym classes, boys generally swam nude and weren't even permitted to wear swimming suits. The same was true at YMCAs when pools were reserved for men only; everyone was aware of it. Now, however, many people are unaware of that and can hardly believe that it ever happened.
In any case, we should give the woman the benefit of the doubt since we lack sufficient information to do more than guess.
Hmmm what century are you talking about? The late 1870's? surely not the late 1970's.

I've asked my illustrious grandpa on this one. He says it was never so.
Jeff

Vernon Hills, IL

#31 Jan 1, 2008
I graduated from high school in the late '70's. Freshmen year to senior year we had to swim naked during swim class. This was in the northern suburbs.

“No Excuses!”

Since: Dec 07

Schaumburg

#32 Jan 1, 2008
You know what? I just realized my grandpa doesn't count; he went to school in Sheboygan, WI.
Russell

Albuquerque, NM

#34 Jan 1, 2008
Gomez-Mehta,

In India, it was probably different. However, I can assure you that here in the U.S., nude swimming was accepted practice in high school and YMCA swimming pools for males when there were no females present.

Sorry, I just noticed that your grandpa went to school in Sheboygan. However, I grew up in Manitowoc, WI, which is only about 30 miles north of Sheboygan, and even smaller. We had nude swimming there.

I suggest that you check out the links I posted in my #26 post above. Also, read the posts of others which confirm what I have said. Probably there will be more posters who will say the same thing. I hope that this part of our history will not be forgotten.

It's unfortunate that people are now so ashamed of their bodies and think that being nude is always about sex. That is not a healthful attitude and may be part of the reason that so many people are obsessed with sex.
Ant

Barrington, IL

#35 Jan 1, 2008
How did this thread change from a peeping-tom pervert to nude high-school swimming ???

Do you people have trouble keeping a train of thought ???
Lynk

Elmhurst, IL

#36 Jan 1, 2008
If we only knoew what kind of cereal the kid eats, I'm sure we could get right to an intelligent solution of this problem.

“People are fun to watch”

Since: Aug 07

Chicago

#37 Jan 2, 2008
catso wrote:
I went to Lane in the late 60's. Always nude swimming. All Chicago public schools had the same. Ask anyone who went to a Chicago public school. By thw way, the school contained 5500 boys back then.
I went there in the late seventies and the boys still swam nude then. Not that I ever got to see, but my boyfriend told me.

“No Excuses!”

Since: Dec 07

Schaumburg

#40 Jan 2, 2008
Russell, thanks for the insight. Upon further review I believe you.

A side note- a lot of people think that since I am hispanic and Indian mixed that I am a relatively new immigrant. Actually, my mother is mixed too with hispanic and white. HER father, is my grandfather who grew up in Sheboygan, WI. Their family has been here for many generations, about 200+ years I think. It's really fascinating, I even have the baptismal certificate and candle from my great-great-great-oh-I-don't-k now-how-many-greats grandfather. It's all in German!

I know that has nothing to do with the topic at hand, but it's interesting. Manitowok isn't all that far from sheboygan!
Terri

Chicago, IL

#41 Jan 2, 2008
I graduated from high school in 1976. All the boys were nude for swimming in gym class. It was just known. Females wore swim suits provided by the school. All boys took gym class with boys -- only during some semesters did we "mix". Only during the time we had square dancing for one quarter (can you imagine -- it was freshman year???) and volleyball games about 3 times a year.

But then, again, counsellors still "paddled" the males for infractions. It was a different time than now, that's for sure. Not necessarily better, either.
Russell

Albuquerque, NM

#43 Jan 2, 2008
Ant asked, "How did this thread change from a peeping-tom pervert to nude high-school swimming ???

Do you people have trouble keeping a train of thought ???"

That's a very reasonable question, and I'm the one who somewhat changed it. The answer is that it's an attempt to put the subject into proper perspective. The letter writer was not necessarily a peeping-tom (or peeping Jane). I see it as more likely that she was genuinely upset and disturbed that the next-door neighbor boy, who was 16 years old, walked around the house nude in full view of his other family members and her window. If she, and others, knew that nudity is not necessarily erotic and confrontational, then she, an others, would be less disturbed. Even so, I personally would never walk around a house nude under those circumstances.

Gomez-Mehta, I've noticed that many people of mixed ethnicities or races are strikingly attractive. You certainly look beautiful in your photo. I'm guessing that you have a personality to match. No, I am not flirting; I'm just making a compliment which I hope is not seen as inappropriate and will be accepted in its intended spirit.

“No Excuses!”

Since: Dec 07

Schaumburg

#44 Jan 2, 2008
thank you, sir. compliment accepted!

:)

you've just made my day!
Ant

Mchenry, IL

#46 Jan 2, 2008
Russell wrote:
---------
That's a very reasonable question, and I'm the one who somewhat changed it. The answer is that it's an attempt to put the subject into proper perspective. The letter writer was not necessarily a peeping-tom (or peeping Jane). I see it as more likely that she was genuinely upset and disturbed that the next-door neighbor boy, who was 16 years old, walked around the house nude in full view of his other family members and her window. If she, and others, knew that nudity is not necessarily erotic and confrontational, then she, an others, would be less disturbed. Even so, I personally would never walk around a house nude under those circumstances.
--------
Yeah, she was "genuinely upset and disturbed" by what she saw.----- Many, many, many times !!

Are you having trouble recognizing a PERVERT ??

Since: Dec 07

Albuquerque

#49 Jan 2, 2008
I agree with Ant: this entire mystery would be solved if we knew what cereal was being consumed, nakedly and unabashadly, as witnessed by the neighbor.

Apologies to Russell. My high school was in Massachuseets, and no naked swimming went on. Who knew Chicago was so edgy?
Russell

Albuquerque, NM

#50 Jan 2, 2008
Ant,

I certainly would not want you on a jury. Unless there is adequate proof, we should not reach conclusions. When there are several possible explanations for something it is best to acknowledge that we really don't know the answer. In the case of this column, we don't even know whether we have seen the entire letter; many editors print only part of a letter and sometimes columnists edit letters. We simply do not have enough information.

We know from the media that prisoners have been proven innocent after serving many years of time. Considering that the legal system sometimes makes mistakes even though there are supposed to be good safeguards to prevent innocent people from being convicted, it is obvious that we are even more likely to come to wrong conclusions since there are no safeguards here. We have not cross examined anyone, we have not gathered evidence, etc. etc. And, if the letter writer really enjoyed seeing the kid nude, probably she would not have written the letter since if that family read it, they would probably stop the kid from parading around the house nude.

As a society, we have become much too quick to conclude that people are pedophiles. The situation has become so bad that I'd even be afraid to help a lost child for fear that I'd be accused of indecent intentions. Of course we have to be concerned about danger from pedophiles, but that doesn't mean we should be inordinately paranoid.
Russell

Albuquerque, NM

#51 Jan 2, 2008
DiannelnNM,
Chicago was not edgy. That was the practice over much, or even most, of the U.S. until 25 or 30 years ago. I personally experienced it in both Wisconsin and Minnesota. If you follow those links I posted way back, you will find that the practice was very wide spread. Most of us thought nothing about it, but there were a few exceptions. Unfortunately, there was no provision for boys who were uncomfortable with it and, in my opinion, there should have been.
It was a more innocent time. Boys and girls were much less likely to become sexually active, perhaps because we had a more healthful attitude towards our bodies and did not see them as simply sex objects. There were no TV ads for Viagra, feminine hygiene products, etc. And when products were advertised to clean the "bathroom bowl" (they actually called it that on TV to avoid the "T" word), one never actually saw it. Now TV programs actually take us into the men's room, which I find distasteful, and even show men standing at the ur.... It's strange that people don't object to that, yet they get bent out of shape when they learn that in earlier times, there was nude male swimming in schools and YMCAs.

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