Girls and Communal Showers

Girls and Communal Showers

Noel1835
Noel1835

May 19th, 2013, 4:53 pm #1

It seems like every time I see something on these forums---CN, FBF, NSF...about a teenager all distraught over having to take a communal shower, it's a boy. I never seem to hear similar worries from girls, or horror stories about their showers in school.

The scene in Carrie with Sissy Spacek seems to show that they took communals too. There was a girl in junior I often saw with wet hair in the halls, indicating she showered. (Oddly, she's the only girl I remember who had it.)If girls communally showered, why don't they have their "trauma" stories? If they're more modest, if not by nature, then by culture, why do we hear so little from them about their experiences. Maybe they do talk about it as much as males, but it's just on other forums. Anybody have any ideas?
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Joined: May 9th, 2005, 12:05 pm

May 22nd, 2013, 11:15 am #2

You have raised an interesting question. I don't think I've seen this asked anywhere before. But maybe they aren't reading the same forums. On some of these forums, women are not treated kindly, so they don't post anything. But beyond that, the reasons aren't so mysterious.

I don't know what the shower situation is in schools any more, since it has been a very long time since I was in school and for that matter, at least eight years since either of our children were in high school. While they were in high school, I never once thought to ask anything about their gym classes. While I was in high school, I don't ever recall a moment outside of gym class when anything about gym was even mentioned. When you are a teenager, you live in the present, which doesn't include anything that happened an hour ago.

I had a nude group swimming experience when I had a summer job with a bunch of other high school boys. We swam nude at the local university pool. The next day it was well in the past and when I returned home at the end of summer, it was ancient history.

I definately have no personal and first hand knowledge of what girls do after gym. Girls, of course, do not sweat, so there is less need of a shower. At least, that's the impression I got from asking someone here maybe 20 years younger than me about what she did in gym. I think she said they had a group shower but she faked taking a shower. I do know, however, that where I went to college, the girls did not have open dressing rooms. They had, I don't know, stalls or booths. I know because I actually had a class in the girls phys ed buidling (the former E. Moore Hall at W.V.U.). But I still don't know anything about their showers and I don't remember anything at all about showers for my own gym classes there. Absolutely nothing. But the memories of the showers in junior high and high school are pretty vivid but there was nothing traumatic about them.

The wet hair thing is easy: girls wear shower caps. Even my daughter still does. She is living at home now while her husband is deployed overseas. But I'm not about to ask her anything about gym.
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Noel1835
Noel1835

May 29th, 2013, 4:28 pm #3

It seems like every time I see something on these forums---CN, FBF, NSF...about a teenager all distraught over having to take a communal shower, it's a boy. I never seem to hear similar worries from girls, or horror stories about their showers in school.

The scene in Carrie with Sissy Spacek seems to show that they took communals too. There was a girl in junior I often saw with wet hair in the halls, indicating she showered. (Oddly, she's the only girl I remember who had it.)If girls communally showered, why don't they have their "trauma" stories? If they're more modest, if not by nature, then by culture, why do we hear so little from them about their experiences. Maybe they do talk about it as much as males, but it's just on other forums. Anybody have any ideas?
Here's what Wikipedia had to say about gender and perspiration:

"A study has discovered that men, on average, start perspiring much more quickly than women, then twice as much when they are in the middle of exercising at the same relative intensity.[8] When men and women exercise at the same absolute intensity there are no differences in sweating responses."

You've written you and your class didn't sweat much during PE. I remember me and mine sweating buckets. It seems like I sweated more and stank more in my teens than I do now. Does that happen with age? Maybe how much you sweat is not only a gender thing, but an individual thing.

Maybe the girls wearing shower caps in school showers explains why you didn't see most walking around with wet hair in school, but maybe they dried it with a towel like the boys did. It can't remember boys walking around with wet hair either. A lot of my PE classes seemed to be the last period, but my memory's hazy on that. I don't remember a rule or expectation that we had to wash our hair after PE though certainly it makes good sense to. I know many (most?) did. I may not have. I can't remember.

Yes, it does seem there's been a double standard in judging women's comments as "inappropriate" on these forums. I welcome their perspective.

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Joined: May 9th, 2005, 12:05 pm

May 30th, 2013, 4:22 pm #4

It seems like every time I see something on these forums---CN, FBF, NSF...about a teenager all distraught over having to take a communal shower, it's a boy. I never seem to hear similar worries from girls, or horror stories about their showers in school.

The scene in Carrie with Sissy Spacek seems to show that they took communals too. There was a girl in junior I often saw with wet hair in the halls, indicating she showered. (Oddly, she's the only girl I remember who had it.)If girls communally showered, why don't they have their "trauma" stories? If they're more modest, if not by nature, then by culture, why do we hear so little from them about their experiences. Maybe they do talk about it as much as males, but it's just on other forums. Anybody have any ideas?
Thanks for helping to keep this forum alive. Send in them cards and letters and keep this forum on the air! (You probably need to be American to understand that).

This reminds me of a joke from the old radio show Fibber McGee: McGee had just finished a project building something for the little girl who is a neighbor. He had just remarked that he really worked up a sweat. The little girl remined him that "horses sweat, men perspire, and women glow." His response was "Well, if you work like a horse, you can go ahead and sweat like one, too."

But we didn't work like horses in our gym classes, starting in grade school (where there were no showers or special gym clothes). In some cases, it amounted to a lot of standing around waiting your turn to do something like climb a rope, make a free throw with a basketball or something like that. Rarely was it anything really streneous. Even in the army did we do much of anything that resulted in us really working up a sweat (at least by my standards). At the time (1965), there was no special PT clothing like there is now. I even recall a photo of a group of female soldiers (called WACs at the time) sometime during WWII doing PT in a large formation. They're wearing skirts, shirts and neckties and cardigan sweaters. None appeared to be so much as glowing. I also recall that during the army, even when stationed in Kansas and in Oklahoma in the summertime, I somehow managed to wear the same outfit two or three days in a row. But you had to. You had four sets of either (cotton) khakis or the olive green fatigues (also cotton). Two pair were in the laundry, leaving you with only two sets to get you through the week until the laundry came back. You couldn't wash them yourself because they had to be starched and pressed until they were like cardboard.

Honestly, I don't know how we managed. At least there were showers.
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Joined: November 29th, 2012, 4:20 am

June 11th, 2013, 7:18 pm #5

It seems like every time I see something on these forums---CN, FBF, NSF...about a teenager all distraught over having to take a communal shower, it's a boy. I never seem to hear similar worries from girls, or horror stories about their showers in school.

The scene in Carrie with Sissy Spacek seems to show that they took communals too. There was a girl in junior I often saw with wet hair in the halls, indicating she showered. (Oddly, she's the only girl I remember who had it.)If girls communally showered, why don't they have their "trauma" stories? If they're more modest, if not by nature, then by culture, why do we hear so little from them about their experiences. Maybe they do talk about it as much as males, but it's just on other forums. Anybody have any ideas?
In order to get a woman's perspective, I asked my wife. Amy went to a very small school, there were only six girls in her grade, and they all took gym at the same time.

She said they all shared a communal shower, and never really had any issues. Amy thinks it was because there were so few of them, and they all got along well, that they lacked the "drama" you might get in a larger group. They were all quite comfortable, she said, being nude around each other.

Many years later she joined a gym with a pool, and would shower off afterward in the communal shower. I guess by then though all being adults they were well past the teenage angst stuff. Amy said it was funny, some women wouldn't look you in the eye in the shower, wouldn't talk much. Other women were just as chatty and friendly as if you met them at a garden tea party and not standing buck naked in a shower.

Hey, somebody pass me the soap!
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Anonymous
Anonymous

December 19th, 2013, 5:12 am #6

It seems like every time I see something on these forums---CN, FBF, NSF...about a teenager all distraught over having to take a communal shower, it's a boy. I never seem to hear similar worries from girls, or horror stories about their showers in school.

The scene in Carrie with Sissy Spacek seems to show that they took communals too. There was a girl in junior I often saw with wet hair in the halls, indicating she showered. (Oddly, she's the only girl I remember who had it.)If girls communally showered, why don't they have their "trauma" stories? If they're more modest, if not by nature, then by culture, why do we hear so little from them about their experiences. Maybe they do talk about it as much as males, but it's just on other forums. Anybody have any ideas?
At a church summer mission trip to Tennessee, the church we stayed at was next to the football field of the local high school.
There were shower facilities underneath the stands for one team and then a nearby building for the other team.

When I first arrived I visited both locations and was not sure which was which.
Imagine my surprise to discover the mens' shower area was communal with pole showering, as one of the chaperones joked to me, 'we just kind of have to stand around and look at each other' while the womens' shower area I discovered was not only individual shower areas set up like cubicles but each contained a makeshift shower curtain as well.

Women shower. They just usually get more privacy than us guys.
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Joined: May 9th, 2005, 12:05 pm

December 19th, 2013, 2:14 pm #7

It seems like every time I see something on these forums---CN, FBF, NSF...about a teenager all distraught over having to take a communal shower, it's a boy. I never seem to hear similar worries from girls, or horror stories about their showers in school.

The scene in Carrie with Sissy Spacek seems to show that they took communals too. There was a girl in junior I often saw with wet hair in the halls, indicating she showered. (Oddly, she's the only girl I remember who had it.)If girls communally showered, why don't they have their "trauma" stories? If they're more modest, if not by nature, then by culture, why do we hear so little from them about their experiences. Maybe they do talk about it as much as males, but it's just on other forums. Anybody have any ideas?
To be sure, there is a double standard. I think there always will be. There's lots of double standards.

We have showers here at work because, I guess, we have an exercise room. It's not a gym but there's exercise equipment and a few very dedicated people work out. One even gets here at 6:30 in the morning to do her thing. She takes a shower afterwards. The showers are one-stall affairs with a tiny little locker room. One for the boys, one for the girls. Although I know of three or four who use the exercise room, I don't know if they all take showers or not before changing back into their regular clothes.

I had mentioned in a previous post and hope I don't repeat myself by mentioning that gym classes in junior high and high school were in rather chilly gyms in the wintertime, so that's one reason we didn't exactly work up much of a sweat.
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Joined: December 21st, 2012, 12:33 pm

December 19th, 2013, 3:43 pm #8

It seems like every time I see something on these forums---CN, FBF, NSF...about a teenager all distraught over having to take a communal shower, it's a boy. I never seem to hear similar worries from girls, or horror stories about their showers in school.

The scene in Carrie with Sissy Spacek seems to show that they took communals too. There was a girl in junior I often saw with wet hair in the halls, indicating she showered. (Oddly, she's the only girl I remember who had it.)If girls communally showered, why don't they have their "trauma" stories? If they're more modest, if not by nature, then by culture, why do we hear so little from them about their experiences. Maybe they do talk about it as much as males, but it's just on other forums. Anybody have any ideas?
I don't see any dates attached to any of these recollections. I asked my wife about her experiences in locker rooms, and all she remembered, and vaguely at that, was from high school and college in and around the early 1950s. She's pretty sure there were no private cubicles, and quite certain that none of the girls were at all concerned about being naked with other girls. That's similar to my experience in boys' and men's locker rooms starting in my childhood in the 1930s. Any "trauma" about being naked with others of the same sex started later than that.
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Joined: May 9th, 2005, 12:05 pm

December 20th, 2013, 7:23 pm #9

It seems like every time I see something on these forums---CN, FBF, NSF...about a teenager all distraught over having to take a communal shower, it's a boy. I never seem to hear similar worries from girls, or horror stories about their showers in school.

The scene in Carrie with Sissy Spacek seems to show that they took communals too. There was a girl in junior I often saw with wet hair in the halls, indicating she showered. (Oddly, she's the only girl I remember who had it.)If girls communally showered, why don't they have their "trauma" stories? If they're more modest, if not by nature, then by culture, why do we hear so little from them about their experiences. Maybe they do talk about it as much as males, but it's just on other forums. Anybody have any ideas?
I think my wife graduated from high school in 1970. I graduated from high school in 1964. If there was any drama associated with taking showers at school, I'm pretty sure it was there all along. We had gym in grade shool, both indoors and out but there were no special gym clothes or showers. That only started in junior high school, although I don't remember which year. However, there was no junior high school when I started school, just elementary (or primary) school and secondary or high school. I'm not sure what the cut-off was before the junior high school was created, which was 7th, 8th and 9th grade. So some of the things we did in junior high school, including showers after gym and shop and for the girls, home ec, were then being done at a younger age than before.

The junior high I attended had been the high school and in fact, it was the one my mother graduated from in 1932. In a sense, it was an "inner city" school because even though it was a small town of less then 10,000 (even less now), the school was square in the middle of town and didn't even have a parking lot.

One of the assumptions generally made in these and related discussions was that no one, boys at least, never had any problems with being naked around other boys and, if what some claim is true, even around girls and women. That is obviously a totally irrational assumption, just the same as saying that kids today have body issues. Judging from how they dress, that's also totally irrational, I'd have to say. I have no idea why anyone things kids have serious problems because they aren't wearing clothes that were fashionable 40 years ago. Remember, there were adults, not necessarily parents (never a requirement to complain) who had issues with the way teenagers were dressing 40 and 50 years ago. It was all because of that rock and roll music, too, don't you know.

None of this of course has to do with casual nudity. If you had to take a shower in school, which I assure you they may not have wanted to, then they were supposed to, whether or not they actually did.
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Marty
Marty

December 22nd, 2013, 1:17 am #10

It seems like every time I see something on these forums---CN, FBF, NSF...about a teenager all distraught over having to take a communal shower, it's a boy. I never seem to hear similar worries from girls, or horror stories about their showers in school.

The scene in Carrie with Sissy Spacek seems to show that they took communals too. There was a girl in junior I often saw with wet hair in the halls, indicating she showered. (Oddly, she's the only girl I remember who had it.)If girls communally showered, why don't they have their "trauma" stories? If they're more modest, if not by nature, then by culture, why do we hear so little from them about their experiences. Maybe they do talk about it as much as males, but it's just on other forums. Anybody have any ideas?
BlueTrain: I confess that I'm taking some of your remarks personally, though I know I shouldn't, so please bear with me.

You say you graduated from high school in 1964, and "if there was any drama associated with taking showers at school, I'm pretty sure it was there all along." How can you be "pretty sure" about things that happened before your time?

I graduated from high school in 1949. As far as I remember, there wasn't any "drama associated with taking showers at school" then, and as far as I can tell from your remarks, there wasn't much if any when you went to school fifteen years later. The "drama" seems to have come about later.

You wrote "One of the assumptions ... was that no one, boys at least, never had any problems with being naked around other boys and ... even around girls and women. That is a totally irrational assumption." This is where I get personally annoyed. I'm not making any "assumptions." I'm truthfully reporting my own experience, and I think most people who post on this subject are also truthfully reporting their own experience. I don't remember any boys having any problems with being naked around other boys when I was a boy, though I'm hearing a lot about it happening later. As for being naked around girls and women, that's a completely different issue.

I'm convinced that customs depend not only on time but on place. Where I grew up, casual nudity within the same sex was unremarkable, as long as there was some reason for it, but exposing one's genitals to the opposite sex was taboo. I've seen reports that in other places, such as the U.S. Midwest, boys could be casually naked around girls and women, even with no particular reason for it, but that was not my experience.

I don't think you can infer anything about kids' "body issues" by "judging from how they dress." Exposing one part of the body doesn't imply anything about exposing another part of the body. I don't know first hand about kids these days, but I keep seeing grown men wrapping themselves in towels to go to or from the enclosed shower stalls in locker rooms, and reading about men complaining that when they were boys they were "forced" to shower naked with other boys, and making judgments about boys "forced" to swim naked in the bad old days. When I was a boy, and maybe even when you were a boy, we weren't "forced" to swim naked. We just swam naked. Casually.

Please, pardon me if I seem a little testy. I'm 82 years old, and I don't like my personal experiences being called "assumptions." Grump, grump.

And yes, we're getting off topic. It's supposed to be about girls, remember? But I'm still annoyed. Grump.
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