Since when do men in German indoor swimming pools not shower naked? – A report on group dynamics in men’s public showers.

DSCI0077 - 20 % swAn empty shower – Photo: Encourager68

Ha?! Since when do men in German indoor pools not shower naked?

Some weeks ago, at a Bochum public indoor swimming pool, I completed yet another training session. My 23rd in the past two months (l love statistics). My crawl training is running like clockwork. Again the pool is totally overcrowded. But with my slalom crawl technique I can successfully ‚overcome‘ all sorts of obstacles (sometimes literally). Thus, unfortunately, each 50 m lane is about 50 m longer for me. But what the heck, the slow seniors in the pool are also slowly getting used to the knee high waves that my swimming style produces (that does not say much for my technique …). A friendly, young life guard yet again shows her willingness to help me by lending me styrofoam swimming aids. Again, very nice of her.

After around one hour I successfully end my training session. After I have allowed the water to run out of my ears, I go over to the communal men’s showers. And yes! as I guessed: all present men (seven in total) are not showering naked but are all still wearing their personal swimming trunks. This behaviour has become increasingly common over the past few weeks, or months. This makes me wonder about the various attempts by these men to wash their intimate parts. Because, of course, one’s own swimming trunks get in the way. And so the soaped hand must travel deep into the front and back of the tight trunks in order to get the area clean. It does not dawn on these men of creation to simply take their trunks off.

Interestingly: Almost all of these men are of German origin (that is: no men of Arabic or Asian origin). But why do such (German?) men, in a German swimming pool, shower with (!) their swimming trunks on? What could have caused this strange behaviour? Up till now I have come across the following possible answers:

Eight reasons why men in a German indoor swimming pool shower with (!) their swimming trunks on:
  • 1. They have a lot to hide (or maybe too little).
  • 2. They are circumcised and do not want this to be publicly known.
  • 3. Their religion forbids completely undressing in public (like in Islam).
  • 4. Due to their cultural upbringing they are not used to showing themselves in public.
  • 5. Their partners have forbidden it.
  • 6. They are ashamed of their fresh pubic shaving.
  • 7. They also shower in the privacy of their homes in bathing trunks.
  • 8. They shower in swimming trunks because it is the latest craze.

I think about it. What should I do? Should I adopt the general prudishness? Should I also stand under the shower with (!) my swimming trunks on? Should I go against my own bathing/showering habits? Several arguments that are in favour:

Seven arguments that could lead me to adapt and to also shower in my swimming trunks:
  • 1. I don’t want to stand out negatively.
  • 2. I don’t want to be naked, when no one else is.
  • 3. I don’t want people to look at me funnily and to be laughed at.
  • 4. I don’t want to offend Muslims if they are the majority.
  • 5. I don‘t want to break (new) unwritten social conventions at the indoor pool.
  • 6. I don’t want to give the impression that I am unhygienic by taking off my bathing trunks (although that is actually nonsense because it is more hygienic to bathe without one’s swimming trunks).
  • 7. With my adapted behaviour I would like to strengthen the community feeling in the male domain.

In the end these seven weighty arguments cannot convince me. My habits and thirst for freedom simply become stronger. I remove my swimming trunks as always even in the presence of seven dressed, half soaped men. I look more or less only at myself. What the other men do only marginally concerns me.

All is well and good. I soap myself, wash myself off and enjoy at the end – as always – an ice cold shower (no “Ice Bucket Challenge”). Then I grab my towel, wrap it around myself and go off to the changing rooms. But lo and behold!! What is going on here?? As I let my eyes wander back to the shower room I do a double take, there are no longer 7 men with swimming trunks but just one! In the meantime 6 other men have done what I did. Wow! (I would have posted a photo here but that would have been inappropriate.) Suddenly almost all of them are standing stark naked under the shower. How nice! I didn’t think that my behaviour would have such an ice breaker effect. Probably leaving your swimming trunks on originates from a general uncertainty. One person keeps their trunks on while showering. And promptly no one else dares to get naked. Well, the group dynamics and natural swarming behaviours that I just experienced. One does not want to look strange and attract the (curious) attention of others. That is totally natural and very understandable.

Nevertheless, it is good for us to face the fact that on certain occasions we bluff, and that we should show our true face and not let ourselves be suppressed by others. Then: resist against mainstream behaviour, find your own way and follow it. But how can I resist such uncomfortable and vehement group dynamics?

Here are seven suggestions how I can resist such group dynamics:
  • 1. I do that which I (!) believe to be correct – also when others see it differently.
  • 2. I neither let myself be influenced by the masses nor by the mainstream.
  • 3. I make use of the good opportunity to practice my “civil courage”.
  • 4. I try to prevent people from succumbing to peer pressure.
  • 5. I help my fellow human beings to find their individual lifestyle.
  • 6. I neither let myself be swayed by the evil eye nor by spiteful laughter.
  • 7. I hold my head up high and go my own way.

I wish you much success in finding your own path and following it!

© Encourager68 (September 2014)

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2 Antworten zu Since when do men in German indoor swimming pools not shower naked? – A report on group dynamics in men’s public showers.

  1. Shelley schreibt:

    Ha! Ha! While living in Japan, it is the opposite at the onsens. For us Canadian prudes very hard to take it all off before during the onsen and after.

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