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DU guys: any of you older guys have to swim nude in your high school gym class?

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CTyankee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-25-09 09:36 AM
Original message
DU guys: any of you older guys have to swim nude in your high school gym class?
I was at my hubby's 50th high school class reunion and learned that the boys had to swim nude in their gym class (girls had to wear a regulation type tank suit). The men at the reunion were laughing about it (we took a tour of the old school). This was in Sheboygan, WI.

Nobody could explain WHY the boys had to swim nude. This was a public school so presumably all the Sheboygan public high schools required this.

Anybody know anything about this "phenomenon" of the 1950s?
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old mark Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-25-09 10:09 AM
Response to Original message
1. I went to a catholic high school in the early '60's and we did the same
thing - I have often wondered about it, and it now makes me feel a bit odd to recall it.
There was also a Federal program in the early 1960's to photograph school children nude supposedly to be able to identy victims of nuclear attacks from body parts. At least that was the reason given.....
This happened all over the country, AFAIK.

mark
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begin_within Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-25-09 10:11 AM
Response to Original message
2. I have read discussions of this on other web sites,
particularly gay discussion forums and nudist discussion forums. I won't provide links to them here because they could immediately lead to the display of x-rated images. But if you search far and wide you can find discussions of this. Apparently it was common in the 1950s but it was definitely out of favor by the time I was in high school in the 1970s. Also in the 1950s most YMCAs required men and boys to swim nude, according to what I have read. I still don't really know why though.
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ThomCat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-25-09 10:13 AM
Response to Original message
3. Can you imagine if any school tried to do that today?
The moment any adult saw any child nude there would be immediate lawsuits. No school district would even consider this today.

I've heard that this was done, back in the day, for hygiene reasons. But I've never head a good explanation for why boys in bathing suits are particularly unhygienic.

I've heard that it was because the filters on the pools couldn't handle all the lint and threads from the suits, but they handled the lint and thread from the suits the girls wore, so that doesn't seem to hold up.

I've heard that, after two world wars, it was an effort to get boys over any sense of modesty and used to following orders, so that they would be more comfortable going into the military after high school. But were people really thinking about young boys as military fodder and trying to prepare all boys for the military? Somehow that doesn't sound right to me either.

So, I don't know. :shrug:
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gbate Donating Member (900 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-25-09 11:19 AM
Response to Reply #3
6. That sounds like a plausible theory.
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gmoney Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-25-09 12:56 PM
Response to Reply #3
11. or wet bathing suits in lockers would mildew?
and might have started during the depression when I'm sure a lot of families couldn't afford the luxury of a "swimmin' costume" -- and I think skinny dipping in general was a lot more widely practiced and less sexualized.
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CTyankee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-25-09 04:57 PM
Response to Reply #11
15. But the girls had regulation tank suits!
All I remember in high school is that us girls had "private" cubicles in the gym in which to undress and get into our gym uniforms.

When I was getting my Master's at a Catholic institution late in life I joined the gym because of its great pool. But we had a communal shower situation in the women's dressing room. I regularly swam with and showered nude with an old nun who taught there. She was the freest elderly woman with her body that I have ever known. She was a Classics professor and we chatted often about ancient Greece. It was a hoot. My husband was a bit shocked...I had to laugh...that nun was in her 70s...
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Gormy Cuss Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-25-09 05:00 PM
Response to Reply #3
17. I remember hearing that it was based on hygience concerns/pool filters.
The Boys Club near where I grew up had nude only swimming well into the 1960s and maybe as recently as the early '70s. As kids we got a kick out of hearing about it since many boys didn't know that was the case until they went there for the first time.
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grace0418 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-26-09 11:35 PM
Response to Reply #3
37. Maybe they figured teenage boys would forget to wash the suits all year and the lockerroom
would stink to high heaven? Not sure, just a guess. We didn't even have swim class in my high school.
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armyowalgreens Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-27-09 04:43 PM
Response to Reply #37
42. I never washed my PE clothing. No one else did either. The locker room...
smelled like a nightmare.
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MajorChode Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-27-09 04:13 PM
Response to Reply #3
40. With good reason
There's only one plausible reason I can imagine about why anyone would require boys to swim nude, and it's quite nefarious.

Somehow it doesn't surprise me that it was predominately Catholic schools that were doing this.

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Captain Hilts Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-25-09 10:27 AM
Response to Original message
4. The YMCA had this as a policy until surprisingly recently. My dad HATED it as a kid in the '30s. nt
Edited on Tue Aug-25-09 10:29 AM by Captain Hilts
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trof Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-27-09 04:40 PM
Response to Reply #4
41. My Y had nude swimming in the 40s and 50s.
I learned to swim in the altogether.
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Rabrrrrrr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-25-09 11:03 AM
Response to Original message
5. Yep - junior and senior high both. Grew up in Wisconsin, and that was the 80s.
Edited on Tue Aug-25-09 11:05 AM by Rabrrrrrr
I think they were still doing it into the mid-90s, but by the time my nephew was in school (started HS maybe in 2000 or 1999) they had gone to mandatory swim suits for everyone.

My gym teachers had mentioned one day that they swam naked in college as well - one had gone to UW-Whitewater, probably in the 60s.

But like you, we could never get an answer as to why - no one seemed to know; or if they did know, they'd never tell us.


We were allowed to wear a suit if we wanted, but peer pressure being what it was, only one person in any of the swim classes I ever had. However, my senior year, one of the gym classes I wasn't in managed to all decide to wear suits.
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tigereye Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-26-09 04:23 PM
Response to Reply #5
27. sounds like Sparta, or something


:shrug: :wtf:


But why nude swimming for guys, and not for females - all the explanations given for hygiene, mildew, what have you, make no sense when you think about the females.

Only the military/toughness argument makes any sense. Bizarre. People would flip out now if this were a rule.
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TrogL Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-25-09 12:10 PM
Response to Original message
7. It was a carryover of the German naturist movement and goes back to the oriignal Olympics
The German Romantic period kicked off a "back to nature" movement that spun off calisthenics and nudity.
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tigereye Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-26-09 04:24 PM
Response to Reply #7
28. now that's an interesting answer- is that true?
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bullwinkle428 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-25-09 12:14 PM
Response to Original message
8. 1950s? Hell, we were forced to do it in the mid-1970s in middle school!
Around age 12 at the time. I was definitely a late bloomer, puberty-wise...like I needed any more hits to my self-esteem at that time! :rofl:
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LeftyFingerPop Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-25-09 12:19 PM
Response to Original message
9. We used to have to do "Nude Trampoline".
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S n o w b a l l Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-25-09 07:18 PM
Response to Reply #9
24. ...
:rofl: You are so silly! :)

:loveya:
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Dogtown Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-25-09 12:21 PM
Response to Original message
10. 60 YO and "no". n/t
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AngryAmish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-25-09 01:03 PM
Response to Original message
12. At a lot of Catholic boys schools in Chicago it was the norm into the 80s
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kwassa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-26-09 09:18 PM
Response to Reply #12
34. considering the charges against certain Catholic priests since then ...
is it surprising?
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Fire Walk With Me Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-25-09 03:15 PM
Response to Original message
13. This gives me an idea for the next DU get-together.
Pinatas!





...what were you expecting?
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CTyankee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-25-09 04:52 PM
Response to Reply #13
14. Hey, a DU "nude swim"! There ya go!
Sounds like fun. Include me out, as Casey Stengel said (or was it Yogi Berra?).
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Fire Walk With Me Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-26-09 01:21 PM
Response to Reply #14
25. No! I said "pinatas"! You people are missing the point!
;)
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Deja Q Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-25-09 06:20 PM
Response to Reply #13
21. Well, what would we use to hit on the piatas with?
:yoiks:
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pokerfan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-25-09 04:59 PM
Response to Original message
16. nude swimming
Edited on Tue Aug-25-09 04:59 PM by pokerfan
Before the YMCA began to admit females in the early 1960s, swimming trunks were not even allowed in the pools,<4> and high school swimming classes for boys sometimes had similar policies, citing the impracticality of providing and maintaining sanitary swimming gear and clogging swimming pools' filtration systems with lint fibers from the swimsuits. These practices were common because of the perception that there was nothing wrong or sexual about seeing members of the same gender in the nude, especially in these indoor contexts among equals in 'birthday suit uniform'.

In some English schools, Manchester Grammar School for example, nude swimming was compulsory until the 1970s.<5> This was also the case for some U.S. junior high schools.<6>

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nude_swimming
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tigereye Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-26-09 04:26 PM
Response to Reply #16
29. it certainly didn't happen in my jr high or high school in the 70s...


lint. That's ridiculous! :rofl:
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blue neen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-26-09 07:10 PM
Response to Reply #29
32. Hey tigereye! How are you?
Believe it or not, one of my friends went through this at the local high school. He's still traumatized by it. This would have been around 1965.

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tigereye Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-26-09 09:32 PM
Response to Reply #32
35. hey neen!
what's goin on? How was your summer? :hi:



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mitchum Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-25-09 05:24 PM
Response to Original message
18. At my school we had Nude Algebra
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begin_within Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-26-09 11:06 PM
Response to Reply #18
36. Were you up all night cramming for it?
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dembotoz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-25-09 06:03 PM
Response to Original message
19. 56 and no
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Bucky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-25-09 06:04 PM
Response to Original message
20. The only weird part was when the nuns insisted on drying us off with their tongues
Nun tongue--yuck, scratchier than cat tongues!
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Schema Thing Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-25-09 06:33 PM
Response to Reply #20
22. *I* sure wasn't gettin' nun when I was that age
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triguy46 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-25-09 07:12 PM
Response to Original message
23. No. But in Jr. High, at the local Y, swimsuit optional, I was told. I ran and hid.
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arcadian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-26-09 01:27 PM
Response to Original message
26. A lot of social clubs are like this.
The Metropolitan Club in D.C. and the Bohemian Club in S.F.
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XemaSab Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-26-09 05:04 PM
Response to Reply #26
31. .
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struggle4progress Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-26-09 04:43 PM
Response to Original message
30. When I first went to college, there was an unofficial rule at all athletic events that a spectator
had to run across the field naked

:shrug:
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kwassa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-26-09 09:14 PM
Response to Original message
33. we had to swim nude, but we had no pool.
Talk about rough.
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hunter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-27-09 11:07 AM
Response to Original message
38. We had coed swimming in the 'seventies.
Supposedly coed P.E. classes were something innovational. There was always an informal competition to see who could wear the least amount of fabric, by boys and girls.

A lot of guys wouldn't take coed PE classes because they were afraid of being beat by a girl. There were a few girls who were exceptional swimmers, distance runners, softball or tennis players.

I was one of the least athletic kids in our high school. I got beat by boys and girls. I always took coed P.E. because it seemed to be more cooperative and less competitive.
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av8rdave Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-27-09 04:00 PM
Response to Original message
39. I belonged to a Boy's Club when I was young...they required nude swimming
It would have been a lot better had it been coed. Oh well...
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Drunken Irishman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-27-09 04:45 PM
Response to Reply #39
44. Or if you were gay...
:P
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av8rdave Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-28-09 12:25 PM
Response to Reply #44
53. I would think that would be pretty cool
Guess that would be the equivalent of me being in a pool with a lot of naked women!
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Drunken Irishman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-27-09 04:44 PM
Response to Original message
43. WTF people?
Really? Nude?

Wow.

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HiFructosePronSyrup Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-27-09 04:49 PM
Response to Original message
45. I had to swim nude to school both ways in winter.
Damn kids with your Sonic the Pokemon and your Vin Diesel.
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grasswire Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-27-09 04:56 PM
Response to Original message
46. do PE classes still shower?
Hm?
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nickinSTL Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-27-09 10:07 PM
Response to Original message
47. uh...weird. Not only the swimming...
I never went to a school that HAD a pool, so it would never have been an issue.

And when we went to the local pools - swimming naked, AFAIK, never crossed anyone's mind as being remotely acceptable, much less a requirement.
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Ptah Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-27-09 10:09 PM
Response to Original message
48. Born in 1950.
There were no pools at any of the schools.

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Orrex Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-27-09 10:19 PM
Response to Original message
49. We had Libary Studies in the nude
But, honestly, who didn't?
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zanne Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-28-09 05:21 AM
Response to Original message
50. Wow. Were there cheerleaders? nt
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piratefish08 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-28-09 07:44 AM
Response to Original message
51. nude dodgeball
sucked.
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HughBeaumont Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-28-09 08:00 AM
Response to Original message
52. I had heard of this as a kid . . .
. . . and before I joined the elemetary school's swimming program, someone said we'd be swimming naked. Of course, even as a kid, I would never have done that; I mean, come on. That's the last thing I would want to do is swim with a bunch of other nude kids. The whole idea just sounded creepy. I thought it was a joke that someone was trying to pull.

It wasn't until around HS when I watched some movie about parochial schools that I found out they did this for real.

:wtf:

I'd sooner go to a purity ball with a hot blue pimp suit than do that.
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cwydro Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-28-09 12:30 PM
Response to Original message
54. Best thread ever!
This is hilarious...I mean I had no IDEA!
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