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  #1  
Old 11-09-2006, 09:14 PM
alphaboi867 alphaboi867 is offline
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High schools, YMCAs, and nude swimming

At one time it was common for YMCAs, schools, and colleges to require males to swim nude unless women were present. What/when was the last YMCA to require it? Last school? Is the pratice still common in other countries?
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  #2  
Old 11-09-2006, 09:44 PM
Walloon Walloon is offline
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There was an earlier thread on this topic. The latest high school reference was from the 1960s.
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Old 11-09-2006, 10:03 PM
The Scrivener The Scrivener is offline
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"I say, 'young man, there's a place you can go...'"
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Old 11-10-2006, 05:08 AM
Pullet Pullet is offline
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?? Can someone explain why the requirement was deemed necessary?
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Old 11-10-2006, 06:53 AM
Crotalus Crotalus is offline
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I graduated from a Catholic high school for boys in Maryland in 1972. We had to swim nude as part of gym class, but the swimming team wore trunks for their practices. There was speculation among the students about the reasons for this, but I never heard an official explanation. The speculation was that they didn't want us carrying around wet bathing suits all day. Seemed like BS to me at the time.
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Old 11-10-2006, 08:28 AM
Patty O'Furniture Patty O'Furniture is offline
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Originally Posted by Pullet
?? Can someone explain why the requirement was deemed necessary?
Was't the Y at one time supposed to be a place for underprivledged youth? If so, then it makes sense that wearing a swim suit (which costs money to buy) would be seen as the unnecessary requirement. It may have been viewed as an enormous locker room with a pool in the middle.
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Old 11-10-2006, 08:48 AM
CalMeacham CalMeacham is offline
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This all sounds pretty weird to me. I attended YMCA activities throughout the 1960s, and never saw or heard anything like this. Our pool, though, was often co-ed, and the women had a separate locker room. But even when things were all-male I neither saw nor heard of nude swimming.


I went to Catholic school, but we didn't have any swimming. Our all-male Boy Scout camp required bathing suits.


As for the cosdt of bathing suits, I'd think that a non-issue. They weren't that expensive, especially for kids. And my first college had a tank-suit requirement (no outside bathing suits). You wore their suits, which they had in all sizes, and they were washed after each use.
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Old 11-10-2006, 08:48 AM
Spectre of Pithecanthropus Spectre of Pithecanthropus is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patty O'Furniture
Was't the Y at one time supposed to be a place for underprivledged youth? If so, then it makes sense that wearing a swim suit (which costs money to buy) would be seen as the unnecessary requirement. It may have been viewed as an enormous locker room with a pool in the middle.
Following along this line of reasoning, pool operators never seem to be pleased by the idea of people swimming in cutoff jeans or pants, which is what a kid might otherwise wear if he couldn't afford trunks. So maybe the nude swimming rule was in response to this.

At one of the gyms I go to, where they have gender-separated jacuzzis immediately off their respective bathrooms, people use the jacuzzis nude, though the swimming pool proper is between the locker rooms and co-ed, so of course people wear suits there.
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Old 11-10-2006, 09:02 AM
Walloon Walloon is offline
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Numerous recollections of nude swimming in high school in 1950s-1970s.

From Life magazine issue of October 16, 1950: Photo of nude water volleyball at New Trier Township High School in the Chicago suburbs.
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Old 11-10-2006, 10:33 AM
NJ_Kef NJ_Kef is offline
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Circa 1980, nude swimming was optional at the all-male YMCA in my town. Although I am not adverse to casual nudity in the locker room, I was and am far too modest to swim naked.

A decade prior, when I was in the 10th grade, we had pool once a week. We stripped naked in the locker room and then stood in line to be handed a raggedy pair of trunks, often lacking drawstrings. It was not uncommon to lose one’s trunks upon diving into the water.
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Old 11-10-2006, 10:45 AM
ralph124c ralph124c is offline
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I think the old swimming pools had filters that could not handle the lint shed from swimsuits-hence no swimsuits. of course, the nylon suits don't have any lint. Anyway, it must have been interesting when "boys swim" and "girls swim' times got mixed up!
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Old 11-10-2006, 10:59 AM
Colibri Colibri is offline
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I was an undergraduate at Cornell University from 1969-1973. My all-male freshman swimming class was held in the nude, although as I recall the instructor wore trunks. I don't believe it was required to swim nude, but it was customary and I don't remember anyone else who wore trunks besides the instructor. (You would have been considered to be a complete nerd if you had done so.) There were all-male and co-ed swimming hours at the Men's Gym pool; suits were optional during the men's hours.

I am sure this policy continued until at least 1972. That year, in the spirit of the times my girlfriend and some of her friends decided to "liberate" the Women's Gym pool from their oppressive sexist policy of requiring women to wear frumpy tank suits at all times, even during women's hours, while men were allowed to swim nude. She tipped me off to when they planned to storm the pool naked, so I was able to position myself strategically at a large picture window that overlooked the pool from the second floor. (The Women's Gym had certain classes that were open to men, so there wasn't any problem getting in. The presence of this window probably had something to do with the suit requirement.) Disappointingly, when they tried to leave the locker room one of the supervisors saw them and blocked them from entering the pool area. All I saw was a lot of commotion as the other women ran over to the locker room door to see what was going on.

One more victory for the oppressor pigs!
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Old 11-10-2006, 11:02 AM
Colibri Colibri is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colibri
requiring women to wear frumpy tank suits at all times, even during women's hours, while men were allowed to swim nude.
To clarify, while men were allowed to swim nude in their own gym.
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Old 11-10-2006, 01:17 PM
alphaboi867 alphaboi867 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pullet
?? Can someone explain why the requirement was deemed necessary?
Some of the reasons I've heard; "lint from suits will clog the filters", "so boys who can't afford suits don't feel left out", "so the school doesn't have to launder suits", "boys can't be trusted not to leave wet suits in their lockers", and finally "it's just us guys". Keep in mind that in that ere every male could expect a couple mass nude physicals courtesy of Uncle Sam and boys would have been required to show nude after gym class.
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Old 11-10-2006, 05:35 PM
Spectre of Pithecanthropus Spectre of Pithecanthropus is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NJ_Kef
Circa 1980, nude swimming was optional at the all-male YMCA in my town. Although I am not adverse to casual nudity in the locker room, I was and am far too modest to swim naked.

.
Skinny dipping, IMO, is the second most fun thing you can do without having any clothes on. I've done it at a clothing optional club that used to exist in Topanga Canyon.

In some other contexts though, I would undoubtedly be uncomfortable.
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  #16  
Old 11-10-2006, 11:15 PM
t-bonham@scc.net t-bonham@scc.net is offline
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I remember a friend of my parents who was a gym instructor in the 1960's mentioning that the main reason for this was hygiene. They were worried that boys would leave wet suits hanging in their lockers, which would grow mold and other nasties, which then spread in the pool the next time the suits were worn.

I can see where there might be some reason for this. I remember in high school some guys who were proud of the fact that their jockstrap was only laundered once per quarter, when the school made us clean out out lockers.
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Old 11-10-2006, 11:42 PM
panache45 panache45 is online now
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I was in high school in the early '60s. We had separate pools, and the boys had to swim nude, but not the girls. The strange thing was that when a boy was excused from gym class for medical reasons, he had to spend the period walking around the pool, nude.
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Old 11-11-2006, 12:08 AM
alphaboi867 alphaboi867 is offline
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I think it's safe to say that no school in the US still does it, but is it still practiced in other countries?
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Old 07-26-2009, 12:20 PM
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/q Did anyone else have the same experience at the Y when they were kids? Did naked swimming serve some health purpose, or was advantage being taken of us? q/

I grew up in San Francisco and went to the YMCA in Chinatown (Sacramento St?) for organized weekly activities in the mid-50s. My recollection is we were not allowed to wear swimming trunks, and do not recall seeing anyone other than the lifeguard wearing trunks in the pool area.

Don't remember seeing anyone other than the other boys in my group in the pool, though we did run into some WWII vets in the other parts of the Y.

Don't remember anything untoward happening, but what does a 12-year old kid know?
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Old 07-26-2009, 01:07 PM
Colibri Colibri is offline
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/q Did anyone else have the same experience at the Y when they were kids? Did naked swimming serve some health purpose, or was advantage being taken of us? q/
In case anyone is wondering where this quote came from, I removed a spam post that this post is quoting.

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Old 07-26-2009, 01:23 PM
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I didn't know zombies could swim, naked or clothed.
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Old 07-26-2009, 01:36 PM
Colibri Colibri is offline
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I didn't know zombies could swim, naked or clothed.
Apparently spam can bring the dead back to life.

Before someone reports this as a zombie, I will note that zombie threads are permitted in GQ as long is new information is being provided. I'm going to leave this open for now.

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  #23  
Old 07-27-2009, 03:02 PM
Walloon Walloon is offline
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Apparently this neo-prudishness is not limited to America.

Time magazine: In France, a New Generation of Women Says Non to Nude Sunbathing
Quote:
Younger women disinclined to baring their more private parts make up the majority of female sunbathers; those still willing to go topless are usually older French women who blazed the trail all those years ago. Or, as the Times of London's website phrased it: "Only the Oldies Go Topless on French Beaches."
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  #24  
Old 07-28-2009, 04:22 PM
SanDiegoTim SanDiegoTim is offline
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I was a high school freshman in 1962, all boys Catholic school. Nude swimming, at least as far as Phys Ed clsses were concerned, was the norn.

It was not my preference as it slowed me down. :-)
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Old 07-28-2009, 04:27 PM
Markxxx Markxxx is offline
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My father taught high school in Chicago in the 60s and I know at his school the boys swam naked. That was 1969. I know by the time he died in 1976 it had been stopped by I am not sure exactly when.
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Old 07-28-2009, 04:30 PM
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Originally Posted by SanDiegoTim View Post
I was a high school freshman in 1962, all boys Catholic school. Nude swimming, at least as far as Phys Ed clsses were concerned, was the norn.

It was not my preference as it slowed me down. :-)
But it was easier to steer, right?
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Old 07-29-2009, 01:43 AM
T. Slothrop T. Slothrop is offline
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[QUOTE=keno;11378742]/q Did anyone else have the same experience at the Y when they were kids? QUOTE]

My older brother and I swam nude at the YMCA with lots of other boys somewhere in the Baltimore area in the late 50's and possibly early 60's. I have no idea of the actual reasoning behind it. It was supposed to be good for us.

I think now that because at that time every male was going to end up in the military, they were trying to get us used to male nudity.
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Old 05-01-2010, 01:14 AM
doolittler doolittler is offline
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Yes in the late 50's

[QUOTE=T. Slothrop;11388538]
Quote:
Originally Posted by keno View Post
/q Did anyone else have the same experience at the Y when they were kids? QUOTE]

My older brother and I swam nude at the YMCA with lots of other boys somewhere in the Baltimore area in the late 50's and possibly early 60's. I have no idea of the actual reasoning behind it. It was supposed to be good for us.

I think now that because at that time every male was going to end up in the military, they were trying to get us used to male nudity.
Yes I was a Member in the Late 50's for two years. Dad even cam the the Father and son swims they had twice a year. All of Us were Nude the older ones as well as the younger ones as I was about 7 to 8 I think. I think the ages were about 6 to 16 are possably older. We were told it was for health purpose. to see if we had skin problems. that others could catch. The doors were locked so no one could get in are out when we were nude. The Girls swam at other times and Yes the doors were locked also. I was not shoure how the girls swam. I was told both ways as it was inside.
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Old 05-01-2010, 10:02 AM
jayjay jayjay is offline
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Naked zombies! Run!
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Old 05-01-2010, 02:17 PM
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I have mentioned in previous posts that during all of my high school years, at a public high school in Illinois, the boys swam nude and the girls had a "one-size-fits-all" suit for each girl that the classes would share. People today rarely believe me.
Back then, the rationale was that the locker room was too small and there was no place to put wet swim suits.
At any rate, we considered it "normal" - with lots of odd stories though. I do remember when the school class bells went out of whack and we were in the pool when the girls swim class opened the door and started to enter the pool area. Needless to say, screams and chaos ensued.
The worst was when you had swimming class first period - about 8:00 AM - in January, in Illinois. Trust me when I say the water was a tad nippy.

I spoke with my cousin who still lives in that town and he said they only changed the nude swimming rule in the mid to late 80's.
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  #31  
Old 05-01-2010, 07:39 PM
t-bonham@scc.net t-bonham@scc.net is offline
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Back then, the rationale was that the locker room was too small and there was no place to put wet swim suits.
From a relative in the school system, there was also the reason that teenage boys would just toss their wet bathing suit into their locker, and leave it there until they wore it again on next weeks swim. The resulting growth of mold & bacteria on it would get washed off into the pool, with bad effects on the pool filtering system (to say nothing of the health effects of that in the water).
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Old 05-01-2010, 08:14 PM
Acsenray Acsenray is offline
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I have a notion that swimming itself was long considered an all-male activity that required no clothing. In other words, there a period during which "swimming" and "skinny dipping" were essentially the same thing.
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Old 05-01-2010, 08:20 PM
panache45 panache45 is online now
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The small-locker-room hypothesis didn't apply in our case. The school had just added a new gym and pool for the boys, each with its totally adequate locker room with showers. We swam naked, then took a mandatory shower. Showers were also mandatory after gym class.

The girls wore generic suits and caps, and were stuck swimming in the horrible crumbling, moldy pool from 1929. We shared the old pool at the beginning of my sophomore year, before the new one was completed. It was awful.
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Old 09-20-2010, 11:01 AM
BaerAssMan BaerAssMan is offline
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Hobart Family YMCA has always had Nude Swim

They have separate swim times for men and women Monday thru Friday. Its the only YMCA I know of that offers this now. I wish all the YMCAs would do this. Most of the JCCs offer separate Male swimming also. I remember many years ago, when I was 15 years old, swimming in the YMCA pool. I noticed an Old man (Probably 55 or so), his Balls were hanging down low, about 7 inches, and i looked at my own, which were not visible, because they had retracted into my body. And as if he read my mind, he said "the cold water makes them pull up". I said, why do yours hang down so low? He said "they hang down lower the older you get."-- Words of wisdom you hear at the YMCA.
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Old 09-20-2010, 11:52 AM
Patty O'Furniture Patty O'Furniture is offline
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Without the YMCA, kids nowadays have to learn that kind of thing on the street.
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Old 09-20-2010, 12:25 PM
Markxxx Markxxx is offline
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My father taught at a high school in the late 60s and early 70s and males swam nude. Females did not. By the time I got to high school in the late 70s, that was no longer done.

I do recall our gym coaches MADE US take showers.

You had to go in, you got 2 minutes, and you'd better be wet when you came out or he'd send you back in, and you'd be late to your next class and he'd not give you an excuse note

And it was really bad as it was the late 70s and everyone had long(ish) hair so you were walking around with a wet head for the next two classes

Last edited by Markxxx; 09-20-2010 at 12:25 PM..
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Old 09-20-2010, 12:35 PM
constanze constanze is offline
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Originally Posted by alphaboi867 View Post
I think it's safe to say that no school in the US still does it, but is it still practiced in other countries?
Um, it was never practised in public places in West-Germany** in the last 50 years! In the 50s and 60s, people were far too prudish. Another factor might be that not many schools had their own swimming pool, instead, the class went to the public swimming pool and used their lockers. So leaving wet swimsuits in the locker was not an option, instead the mothers would unpack and wash the swimsuit in the afternoon after the kid came home from school.

I still remember up to the 80s that women and men had to wear bathing caps in the pool, so that hair wouldn't clog the filters (since during the Hippie aera, men had long hair, too, so instead of arguing "How long is too long?" everbody had to wear a cap.) Then the filters became better, and the pool attendants got tired of arguing with all the people with short hairs, so they dropped the rule.

The only places for naked swimming would be the FKK* beaches and FKK parts of the summer open-air public swimming pools (they are visually seperated from the rest by a wooden barrier; inside, people can be nude, outside, they are clothed.

*Freikörperkulture = free body culture, a "nature is beautiful and so is the human body" movement from the beginning of the 20th century. And no, it's not alluring as it sounds, because it's old people with a skin like leather, sagging stuff who walk around naked that can quickly kill an appetite.

** East Germany tried to be less prudish, since as good communists they had to be atheists and not get hung up on burgeouis standards; in practise, they seemed to stay with the learned prudish behaviour until the new generation two decades later. I don't know if they bathed in the nude, though.
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Old 09-20-2010, 01:15 PM
alphaboi867 alphaboi867 is offline
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They have separate swim times for men and women Monday thru Friday. Its the only YMCA I know of that offers this now...
Do you have a link to this YMCA? I'm very surprised that there's a Y that still does this. I know there are still a handful of private athletic clubs with suits-optional swimming.
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Old 09-20-2010, 02:09 PM
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I recall swimming at YMCA day camp in Toronto involved hiking to some building where the rquirement was nude swimming. The excuse at the time was "clog the filters with lint" which seemed BS since every major public pool in the city was co-ed (and of course NOT nude).

Many years later I could speculate on adult motivations for that. But don't forget North America was the source of many weird and bizarre hangups about the human body, considering that both Corn Flakes and circumcision were made popular in North America as preventatives for masturbation...

the men's athletic facility at the University of Toronto used to be exclusively male and with nude swimming (so I hear, never actually used the pool). Somewhere in the 70's women's rights asserted itself and the pool became coed and suits required.

There was a quaint follow-up where the assertive women's movement then had a male swimmer (faculty? Don't recall?) banned because he would sink to the bottom of the pool with swim goggles on and "watch the female swimmers". Probably these were the same girls who used to complain about being bothered with "Mommy! He's looking at me funny!"
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Old 09-20-2010, 02:10 PM
shiftless shiftless is offline
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Originally Posted by alphaboi867 View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pullet
?? Can someone explain why the requirement was deemed necessary?
Some of the reasons I've heard; "lint from suits will clog the filters", "so boys who can't afford suits don't feel left out", "so the school doesn't have to launder suits", "boys can't be trusted not to leave wet suits in their lockers", and finally "it's just us guys". Keep in mind that in that ere every male could expect a couple mass nude physicals courtesy of Uncle Sam and boys would have been required to show nude after gym class.
Exactly this. I went to the Boy's club in the late 60's/early 70's and they made it clear that nude swimming was perfectly fine for the reasons above. Frankly, they made the point a little too often for my young taste. Only ever saw it a couple of times though.

I did stand in line nude for physicals for middle/high school sports. Seems odd now and I would have questions if they expected my boys to stand around in gym naked today. I think we were dealing with old WWII army doctors back in the 60s.
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Old 09-20-2010, 02:33 PM
Jonathan Chance Jonathan Chance is offline
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Is this the FOURTH zombification of this thread?

Not complaining...but that's GOT to be some sort of record.
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Old 09-20-2010, 06:01 PM
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Is this the FOURTH zombification of this thread?

Not complaining...but that's GOT to be some sort of record.
Now I'm wondering if zombies have to swim naked.
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  #43  
Old 09-20-2010, 06:04 PM
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Now I'm wondering if zombies have to swim naked.
It's not a lint problem they're worried about with zombie swim...
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  #44  
Old 09-20-2010, 06:31 PM
Dewey Finn Dewey Finn is offline
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Originally Posted by alphaboi867 View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by BaerAssMan View Post
They have separate swim times for men and women Monday thru Friday. Its the only YMCA I know of that offers this now...
Do you have a link to this YMCA? I'm very surprised that there's a Y that still does this. I know there are still a handful of private athletic clubs with suits-optional swimming.
He said that that YMCA offers separate men's and women's swim times but he didn't say that they were swimsuit-optional. FYI, the website doesn't mention it, so I doubt that it's swimsuit-optional.

Edited to add that the website does say, "Proper swim attire is required. No basketball shorts."

Last edited by Dewey Finn; 09-20-2010 at 06:32 PM..
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  #45  
Old 09-20-2010, 06:52 PM
Ají de Gallina Ají de Gallina is offline
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Group nude swimming in school?
Are you kidding me?
No way, never, jamás.
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  #46  
Old 09-20-2010, 08:33 PM
jackdavinci jackdavinci is offline
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Is this the FOURTH zombification of this thread?
Not complaining...but that's GOT to be some sort of record.
Well, it does have naked children!
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  #47  
Old 09-20-2010, 09:04 PM
Prelude to Fascination Prelude to Fascination is offline
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News: it's no longer the YMCA....

http://www.ymca.net/news-releases/20...d-new-day.html
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In another major change, the nonprofit will be called “the Y” to align with how people most commonly refer to the organization. The national resource office, YMCA of the USA, has already begun the transition to the new brand. Ys across the country will transition fully within five years.
Now, more relevant to the thread, I took swim lessons at the Y in the very early 70s (about '71, or it may have even been a little earlier, but not before '68) and we boys swam nude. That was the only time I've ever done that in an organized manner (never in school, etc.) and I don't know when they would've stopped the practice, but I do clearly remember it.
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Old 11-22-2010, 01:46 AM
cenk cenk is offline
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nude boys swim class

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Originally Posted by Walloon View Post
Numerous recollections of nude swimming in high school in 1950s-1970s.

From Life magazine issue of October 16, 1950: Photo of nude water volleyball at New Trier Township High School in the Chicago suburbs.
Yes, this is the way it was also in Dearborn Michigan until around 1980. All of the boys swim classes and swim teams were always nude. But not the girls. I am sure that the water quality was much better since the other requirement, besides nude swimming, was a soap shower. But I do not understand why the girls did not swim nude. Can any one answer this mystery? And then how did it become a crime now to swim nude?
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Old 11-22-2010, 02:55 AM
fuzzypickles fuzzypickles is offline
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Originally Posted by Walloon View Post
There was an earlier thread on this topic.
I'll say!
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Old 11-22-2010, 12:07 PM
Exapno Mapcase Exapno Mapcase is offline
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Originally Posted by cenk View Post
Yes, this is the way it was also in Dearborn Michigan until around 1980. All of the boys swim classes and swim teams were always nude. But not the girls. I am sure that the water quality was much better since the other requirement, besides nude swimming, was a soap shower. But I do not understand why the girls did not swim nude. Can any one answer this mystery? And then how did it become a crime now to swim nude?
My high school had no swimsuits for boys back in the 1960s. Girls did.

Why? Looking back, it's a combination of attitudes. Boys were treated like meat by the gym teachers. You were ordered around, herded like chickens, and subjected to abuse with the unspoken idea that it was to "toughen you up."

Girls were not supposed to be toughened. I don't know how well they were treated, but it couldn't have been as bad because there wouldn't have been a point to it. In addition, the general societal taboos about developing women and nudity would have trumped everything else.

At some point in between (points really, since it happened at different times everywhere) society changed attitudes. Toughening boys became abuse. Girls became less fragile creatures. An awareness - or at least public admittance - of homosexuals and pedophiles made people less willing to parade nude children around adults of either sex. From treating young people as meat - incoming Ivy Leaguers were photographed nude as test studies - we now treat young people as precious snowflakes.

We went too far in one direction before, we're too far in the other direction now. The center never holds.
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