Have P.E. showers ever actually been mandatory?

I was paging through Survivor winner Richard Hatch’s motivational book last night, and noticed a paragraph or two where he goes into detail about the profound shame involved in the showers forced upon him by his gym teacher. It then occurred to me that I’ve heard of mandatory showers after school P.E. classes before, yet I’ve never actually experienced it firsthand or know anyone who has. Most P.E. classes don’t even leave enough time for one to take a shower and make it to the next class on time, not that one would actually want to.

(a) Have post-P.E. showers ever actually been mandatory?

(b) If so, why?

yeah when i was in Junior HS 88-91, i shit you not we actually had to put our initials on a sign in sheet after we got out of the shower on the way back to our locker. if you missed X number of showers you went down a letter grade.

i didn’t think anything of it at the time, but in retrospect it strikes me as really really really creepy to have a bunch of pre and early pubescent boys standing in a line to sing a piece of paper to prove that we showered as a bunch of weirdo gym coach types looked on.

only thing i can figure is that they were trying to promote hygene or somethin.

This was why i skipped PE altogether.
You should have seen the principals face whe it was finally discoved a day before graduation :smiley:

For the gym classes at my middle school and at least two of the high schools I attended, showers were mandatory. In fact, in one of the high schools I attended, we earned points for each class. Some of these points were awarded or not awarded for taking a shower. Other things were participation, how well we participated, whether we dressed out or not, and perhaps some other things. These points were used to figure up our grade for P.E. each quarter. I’m not sure but I think that during the swimming phase of all my P.E. classes we had to shower before and after class, I suppose so we wouldn’t infect the over-chlorinated water with germs or something. This was public school in northern Illinois during the 1980’s.

Yes. We had to take showers after PE in junior high and high school.

Why wouldn’t you want to take a shower after getting sweaty? Do you think people actually want to smell you? Believe me - we don’t.

Yes, a post phy-ed shower was required in junior high and high school, in Wisconsin. Late 1960s.

Was not a big deal to me or others (to my knowledge).

I find it humorous that today, the high school football players at the school my kids attended (and other sports too I presume) don’t even take showers after a game!

How and when did nudity become so feared?

At my junior high in Kansas in the early 70s, the P.E. teacher stood at the end of the row of showers and watched. The last shower before you got out was running ice cold, and you had to stand in it and turn around. His theory was the cold water “closed your pores.”

The teacher was a sadist. He was eventually fired when after a student called him by his first name, he chased the student through the school, tackled him, and started hitting him.

His P.E. classes were misery. His effect was mostly to turn people off to sports.

Manditory in highschool. You didn’t shower, you didn’t get a towel to dry yourself with. On the way out of class, you had to hand in a towel. Oddly, I don’t remember what the ‘punishment’ was if you didn’t hand one in, though. I -do- remember some kids trying to swipe extra towels to ‘save up’ in case they didn’t want to shower. Now that I think about it, the whole thing seems sorta bizarre to me.

We HAD to take showers in junior high- it was horrible. I was one of the few girls who had a period at age 12 , and it was very traumatic. I don’t think its that it’s necessarily a problem with nudity, but kids can be pretty mean. Especially the fact that you have to start taking showers right when you are experiencing puberty. It wouldn’t bother me now at age 39, but it sure bothered me then!

I don’t remember fearing nudity, but the reason we all hated showers was the cold water. There was no hot water to speak of.

Our eigth-grade presidential candidate campaigned on a platform of optional showers, and somehow managed to pull it off after he was elected. I now find the idea of not taking a shower after physical activity revolting, but was sure glad not to have to do it then.

We had to take showers after gym - late '70s. The worst part was they gave us enough time to shower, but not enough time to dry off properly. My jr. high was two separate buildings, and my class after gym was always in the opposite building. There was a tunnel that connected the two buildings, but many kids went outside and crossed because it was faster - we could run, and is wasn’t so crowded. So imagine running to your next class dripping wet, in below zero temps. I hated it.

PE was required and so were the showers. For a skinny, bony, unathletic, self-conscious kid, it was a fairly painful end to a humiliating hour of sadistic torture, and an opportunity for bullies to ridicule you further. In addition, if you were the last one out of the showers, you had to bend over and grab your ankles while a coach dumped a bucket of ice cold water on you. Gosh, what lovely memories.

Showers were not mandatory in my elementary or junior high school. We never got very sweaty anyway. It wasn’t like we were doing very strenuous exercise playing kickball and dodgeball and such.

But I found gym class a torture, because of my shyness, lack of skill in physical activity, and tendency towards obesity. It was hell, pure hell. And gym class (and the locker room) was one place where the bullies held sway.

If I actually ever had to get naked in school, I probably would have suffered a nervous breakdown.

It was bad enough that I had to change my clothes for gym. I often just wore my shorts and T-shirt underneath my regular clothes to avoid stripping and to spend as little time as possible in the locker room.

In high school, I managed to fulfill my P.E. requirement in summer school prior to 10th grade, so I was never faced with the problem of having to change and shower at school. That was a relief, let me tell you. It made high school bearable for me.

Required in Junior High for me, too. I was pretty terrified, but overall, it wasn’t as bad as I’d feared.

We were forced, in both Junior and Senior high. Except if we were taking an “M”. It was amazing how many of us almost always had our periods.

Showers were required for the boys only, at my junior and high schools in the early-mid 90s. The girls didn’t have to. The guys also had to wear jock straps and the gym teacher checked for them, every day. The guys who didn’t have them on had to do pushups in the middle of the gym, while the rest of us ran laps.

We had to in the school I went to in 7th and 8th grade (early 90s), though it was weird. We’d all have to line up, they’d turn on all the shower heads, and then we’d all sidle through all the showers and back out. It was faster, I suppose. But weird.

At my high school we didn’t have to and no one did.

The reason I phrased my comment as “fear of nudity” was because my kids and their friends were horrified at the thought of group showers. Not because fear of nudity was the cause of the elimination of group showers. Poor phrasing on my part.

I realize that the root causes were numerous other things, but the consequence is fear (or something akin to it).

“I realize that the root causes were numerous other things, but the consequence is fear (or something akin to it).”

That, and schools the smell to high heaven. I went to pick up my step-daughter the other day and the whole place smelled like…well, unwashed kids who had been playing and then didn’t bother to shower.

Hmmm…get sweaty and funky…not shower or shower…seems like a complete no brainer to me.

Eliminate gym class – that’s the no-brainer from my point of view.