More on Gownless in France

More On Topless in France

The comment by someone in Singapore (I can’t help but to wonder if the americans are being too paranoid? No offense to you but I just find it very interesting about the reactions of the American. ) got me thinking some more about cultural differences. Because she is from Singapore, she really doesn’t understand my feelings, and they were very traumatic to me, about not having a gown for an x-ray or doctor’s examination. Truly, you have to be an American to understand how I felt. I’ve told this story to other Americans and they get it. That Puritanical streak is bone deep and I don’t know if I will ever be able to get rid of it. I know my husband is very mystified by it. Why can’t I go for a free mammogram? Why is the thought of it so repellant to me? He and our doctor sat there once in an office and discussed it in front of me. I wasn’t the first American in whom she had seen this trait.
I’m sure it is similar to cultural food differences. You won’t see me eating horse meat or even sweet little rabbits, no matter how tasty they might be, mustard sauce and all, even with a good bottle of Burgundy. I imagine there are people in China who shake their heads with bewilderment when Americans are horrified that little dogs are being served up for dinner, or a snake or two.
Back to Puritanism, I remember my ex-husband spanking our daughter when she was about 4 years old for playing “doctor” with a neighborhood boy. Somewhere around the age of 5 or so, she never took baths with her brothers or was undressed in front of them. Maurice’s grandchildren have no problem with nudity and are very unselfconscious about it. I need to do some research but I think it was only recently, within the last 30 years or so, that it wasn’t against the law to go topless on a French beach. I think the French have been considered more open about sex and nudity both in real life and movies for many years. It does seem to me, as far as movies go, that America is catching up here.
A couple of years ago, I was walking around on a Montmartre street and here came two men walking towards me, both totally nude. My French was practically non-existant then but I gathered that they were promoting nudity. There was even a strange lady with them wearing a coat over a slip videotaping them. I don’t know if she was going to join them and chickened out at the last minute. I asked a lady at a bar that they went into if she was shocked and I could tell by her face that she was. She said if a policeman saw them that they would be arrested, French or not. Luckily, I had my trusty digital camera with me and got several photos of them-they happily posed for me- one of which was the two of them talking to some startled diners with their exposed “privates” at face level. I captioned the photo, “How is the sausage here?”
In any case, there is a wide divide between cultures although being human gives us many similarites. Life is always interesting, that’s for sure.