Last week I was talking about nudity and wondering why it is so very taboo in some countries and considered natural in others.
Surely it is an example of walking a thin line between porn and nature? Between accepting our bodies and denying them? Between embarrassment and confidence?
Yesterday, I was with my 11-year-old niece who has come over for a two-week stay from England and the anklebiters, up at the little red summer cottages that we are renting.
After a sudden thunderstorm, the evening sun shone gloriously and we decided to take a dip in the evening warmth down at the nearby lake. After a while, a tanned, silver-haired and extremely tall Swede turned up with his young son. He looked surprised to see us, as if hoping to have the tiny beach to themselves.
“Oh, we’re going to go swimming,” he said. “We didn’t bring our swimming clothes, though. I’m going to swim anyway, so I hope no one will be offended,” he said firmly – but with a smile.
“It’s OK. We’ve got friends who often swim nude at their summer place. And I promise I won’t look!” I said… although in reality I was thinking, “Once you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all!” (And no – I didn’t take a picture!)
The kids didn’t bat an eyelid and just carried on swimming and playing.
Although it did give my niece pause for thought…
“You could never do that in England. Sweden is so much better!”
It’s wonderful that people can be so natural and not at all self-conscious. It was, all in all, a lovely swim.
So – would something similar be able to take place in your country with so much grace and charm?