In the dustbin of our cultural history

Checking in - we got graded on it. We got three grades for each class: a letter grade and then work habits and something I forget. The other two grades were graded E/S/U - excellent, satisfactory, unsatisfactory. Those grades would go down if you didn’t shower.

If you were on your period, you were allowed to “towel shower”. That is, you could keep your shorts on, wet the end of your towel, and use it to hit your pits and any obvious dirt. You’d only have to say you were on your period if everyone was calling out their names and the teacher wasn’t looking up from the tally sheet. Later in the year, she’d know everyone’s names and could do a visual check off.

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I remember hearing on a podcast from the host that even in the early 80’s when he was a Middle Schooler they were all forced to take nude showers after gym and apparently both PE coachs would watch them all as they took a shower to “make sure” they were cleaning themselves.

It’s almost like the system was DELIBERATELY making pedophiles.

Since this is dustbin of cultural history thread, I’ll ask. Are kids no longer required to shower after PE in school? Or are the coaches just no longer closely monitoring?

We started having a shower requirement in 5th grade. (late 1960s). I was uncomfortable about it at first, but you get used it. By the time I got to college I was willing to shower with practically anybody.

There was a decades-long project to take nude photos of all incoming freshmen at some of the most selective colleges in America, for the claimed purpose of studying posture. This came to light only recently and when it did, some of the schools burned all of the photos.

I was in our gym at school waiting for my class, and heard this exchange:

“Where’s Mr [gym teacher]?”

“In the shower room, checking out the boys’ dinks.”

I went to middle/high school at 3 different places in the 90s and while we did have showers in the men’s locker room nobody ever used them after PE unless you had a swimming class. Then you did actually take a shower but you left your trunks on and did the thing where you wrap a towel around your waist, take off your trunks then slid the underwear back up.

I never actually saw another penis in a shower/locker room until I joined the Army

I am forever amazed when people talk about showers after gym. In four years of high school, the only gym class involving showers was swimming ( the regular locker room didn’t even have showers) . Which meant that swimming was even more of a waste of time than the other gym classes - the class was 50 minutes long and between changing before, showering and changing after and taking attendance we got maybe 30 minutes in the pool. That’s probably why I still can’t swim.

A couple times Mad Men showed Don Draper arriving at a client’s office and immediately using their phone to call Sterling-Cooper so they knew what phone number to call to reach him.

And I’m equally amazed at the people describing how that practice disappeared over barely 20 years. Or was never in place where they grew up.

Not that either of us is right or wrong, simply that it shows how many different feels this elephant has.

For all 7 years I spent at my public junior high and public high school, every Monday included bringing your clean gym uniform to school, every Friday involved taking it home to be laundered, and all 5 days included changing 100% of your street clothes for your uniform, then going out to exercise somehow (team sports, swimming, calisthenics, weight room, track running, distance running). Then afterwards getting naked, taking a communal hot shower, and changing back into your street clothes. All done in unisex but otherwise totally public modesty-free surroundings.

Much like the “regionalisms you didn’t know were regional as a kid” thread, I’d always believed this was always (at least post WWII-ish) and everywhere (at least USA-ish) how it was done. Color me surprised to learn that’s just not so. And especially not nowadays.

In our high school, the locker room had an L-shaped shower with several shower heads. You had to go all the way through it, and just before the exit was a window. The PE teacher sat in his office and watched the kids taking showers. We always suspected he was just checking out our junk.

The pool didn’t have that little window in the shower, but then we had to swim naked.

When I was young in the San Fernando Valley, we bought milk directly from a dairy nearby. It came in brown glass bottles. I vaguely recall that we also had home delivery, because I remember setting out a rack of empty glass bottled for the milkman to pick up.

A time came when milk became more common in wax-coated cardboard containers from the supermarket. Here’s a story I don’t really remember myself, but others in the family helped me remember: I may have complained that the wax carton milk didn’t taste the same as the brown glass milk. One day my mother did the obvious experiment: She surreptitiously put the wax carton milk into a brown glass bottle to see if I would notice. According to the story, I did.

You big city folk. We had a milkman in my small Minnesota town in the 1960’s, but he would just put the milk inside the front door, which was never locked. My recollection is that we didn’t even have a key for the lock that was there, although much later the folks did install a dead bolt on the door (but I don’t think they locked it unless they were going to be out of town for more than a day or so).

We lived out in what was then farm country, on a one lane dirt road three miles outside the nearest village and a twenty minute drive to anything called a city, in New York State, in the 50’s and 60’s and we had an insulated milk box outside the front door.

Not inside an insulated box? Milk put loose inside the front door wouldn’t have kept very long if nobody was there to get it into the refrigerator.

I’m surprised that it made economic sense for the dairy to do door-to-door delivery of milk to your house on a one-lane dirt road three miles outside the nearest village, even if they delivered to every house on that dirt road.

I remember in my senior year in high school when you could not have a cell phone with you during the academic day. It had to be turned off in your locker. Now, in or elementary district, most kids have one in their pocket and are allowed to use it for online educational purposes during the course of the day.

It must have, though, because they did it for years.

I’m sure they also delivered to others on that road; but it may also have been their best route through between two more populated areas, so they may have been coming through there anyway. Roads of that sort were a lot more common at the time; that one got turned into two lanes in the middle of my childhood.

It’d be interesting to know what your parents paid at that time for that delivered milk. On an inflation corrected basis it’s probably silly-high compared to store-bought today. Although it’d be hard to tease out how much of the difference is in the delivery and how much is in the cost of the bulk ag product itself.

IIRC from my suburban delivered milk upbringing, by about 1965 supermarket milk whether in cartons or returnable bottles became widely available and vastly cheaper than delivery. At which point many people switched. Which promptly destroyed the economics of what had been nearly universal local delivery and it quickly disappeared.

Perhaps that explains it; door-to-door milk delivery was possible because it was expensive but people were used to paying for it. Because making one delivery, even if to only a neighborhood store, seems so much cheaper and more efficient than going house-to-house.

My elderly parents have one of these right now (USA). A sort of perfect, pristine, more-ornate and better furnished (literally white leather couches), idealized living room by the front door that I think they use it when they have the rare guests over, and a “regular” living room where they watch TV and family hangs out. We only use it for opening presents on Christmas day. They also have a formal dining room that never get used except for Christmas and Thanksgiving (not even then because my mother doesn’t like cooking anymore and we tended to go to Chinese restaurants pre-Covid). I admit to being a little envious of this setup because I don’t like cleaning all that much but would very much like a place people could pop in unannounced.