“The management” of the gym I go to put up a “notice” recently, reminding everyone that they can’t be walking in the nude in the Lockers area “for ethical reasons”. Chance for us to talk a bit about the Lebanese and their family jewels.
It is no secret that we are quite a conservative society, and as such, we tend to be quite inhibited when it comes to nudity. That Lebanese guys hate to be naked around each others is easy to notice through many little things of everyday life, especially for us GiBs who tend to notice them due to our interest in men.
This is very different from the West, where I discovered as a kid that it was normal, for example, to shower in an open shower room along with classmates. It happened without carrying any sexual connotation whatsoever. Being raised not to associate nudity with shame and taboo as we are here, I believe the kids abroad stand a bigger chance to grow through puberty more comfortable with their body and with themselves in general.
Also in the West, it is generally accepted for guys to hang around naked in front of each others, say in a gym’s or a pool’s locker room. How many movies have that locker room scene where you get to take a peak at the lead actor? There, nudity among men seems to come much more naturally and more often than not, there are simply no ‘privacy options’ even for the shy to play prude.
As far as I can tell from my own experience, this inhibition is also true of Lebanese family men within the privacy of their own home. They are uncomfortable being naked in the presence of their wife and kids. I was almost shocked the first time I went to Europe as a kid and saw that in my cousin’s family, it was normal for daddy to shower all together with mommy and the three kids – not something I would ever see back home. And no, they were not naturists.
I don’t consider myself to be neither a voyeur, nor an exhibitionist, just a guy who doesn’t mind seeing a naked guy around. Within the limits of moral behavior, I consider that every person is free to be as uninhibited as they want – on the basis that others can just look away if they’re bothered. It’s a personal choice and a cultural matter. And as much as I respect other people’s feelings and ethics, I hate being told what to do and not do as far as personal and cultural matters…
… so to “the Management” of the gym, I just want to say that this notice sounds kind of backwards to me - and I hope it doesn’t have anything to do with homophobia…
-- by GiB#2