Author Topic: once ther was nude swimming at my local Boy's Club  (Read 3389 times)

freehiker

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once ther was nude swimming at my local Boy's Club
« on: August 21, 2017, 03:53:17 AM »
The end of May my 82 year old mother paid a visit. On Memorial weekend my wife, mom and I drove from central Montana through the northern route of Yellowstone and over the Beartooth Pass.  The Beartooth pass opened the day before. The last leg of the route over the Beartooth was at sunset. While I drove, I talked about things that happened in my childhood. My mom was hard at work refashioning the past into a new thing that did not match with what I experienced. In the conversation I disclosed the fact that my brothers and I swam naked in the Boy’s Club pool. In fact all the boys I knew did. It was the way it was. We each paid a dime. The dime was exchange for a clean towel. All clothes were stashed in an open locker. All my chums lined up naked at the pool door. A fellow rubbed each boy’s wrist to check for cleanliness.
 My mom expressed shock upon learning her sons did such a thing. I was taken back by her response. This was a different woman than the one I had as a mother. She is not the only one who expresses disbelief at the thought of a time when swimming naked at the Boy’s Club, YMCA and other pools was the norm for boys and men.
My experience with skinny dipping or nude swimming at the Boy’s Club was my first exposure to social nudism. The experiences then have stuck with me.
Recently I found this site that explore the period I knew. Like the author I am dismayed by how quickly the near past is remade into something different than what was.
Here is a link to the site.

 https://sites.google.com/site/historicarchives4maleswimming/home/archives---mid-20th-century-to-current/ymca-boys-clubs-schools

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David

nudewalker

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Re: once ther was nude swimming at my local Boy's Club
« Reply #1 on: August 21, 2017, 02:47:40 PM »
In this day and age it's no wonder your mother has a different response. After all, don't all the gay child molesters hang out at the locker room? I don't know where all of a sudden that perception came from but that's the excuse I hear all the time.  We swam co-ed naked until one of matured (me ) to the extent that I would get erections when swimming. Being that we were in a farming community the girls (or their parents) knew that I had and other boys would soon reach that age. But even then I remember getting my first bathing suit as a hand me down from an older cousin when my family went on a vacation to a lake.

The internet has been a good thing to research and relive the past. On another note, social media has done more to spread falsehoods about a number of things including nudity. It's sad in a way, how our history has become twisted.
"Always do what you are afraid to do"-Emerson

Bob Knows

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Re: once ther was nude swimming at my local Boy's Club
« Reply #2 on: August 21, 2017, 04:38:05 PM »
When I was growing up the schools in my town did not have swimming pools.  We boys were sent to swimming lessons at the YMCA, beginning in about 1952.  The swimming and locker rooms at the YMCA were all naked.  Even in my otherwise prudish family we grew up understanding that the only problem about nudity was if a girl or woman saw us naked.  Being seen by boys or men didn't matter since all boys and men look the same.  I didn't know any boys who were concerned about being seen by other boys or men.  We had never heard about gay men in those days.

At the YMCA it was also common for men to exercise naked in their Gymnasium until around 1955.  I also went to YMCA CAMP in the summers starting around 1952 or 1953.  At camp we always swam naked in the lake.  The camp had a Camp nurse, and occasional parent visits, but she didn't go to the swim area during swim hours.  Otherwise was all boys and men. 

I began middle school in 1957.  At middle school we wore shorts and a T shirt for PE class which was in spaces shared by girls.  The locker rooms had a large common shower area where we were all expected to shower together.  Again, I had no idea that it would be a concern.  I remember my mother talking once about girls having to shower together in the girls PE class.  She said girls were more concerned about being naked so it didn't matter for boys but girls needed more privacy.  And so it began.

One big part of the cultural revolution going on in the 1950s was the move from small (walking distance) city homes to larger separate homes in the suburbs.  Having a large family in a small home prevented individual privacy.  Before the 1950s kids had grown up seeing naked adults and being seen naked by adults in their family.  Beginning with the automobile culture in the 1930s, and BOOMING in the 1950s America moved to private homes in the suburbs.  Everybody had PRIVATE indoor bathrooms, and private bedrooms for parents and children. Families became smaller after the 1960s too.  A family with 1 to 3 children can be a lot more private at home than a family with 5 to 8 or more children. "The Pill" was distributed in 1961. I grew up in a privacy home with a mother and two sisters, but I never saw a naked girl anywhere until I was 18. Before the suburban revolution of the 1950s, most people did not have the physical space to be private in their homes.   Boys especially grew up seeing other boys and men as NORMAL every day at home experience.  People didn't see a need to make it different at a YMCA or boys swim.

Then also the culture began a "Sexual Revolution" in the 1960s.  While I grew up in the 1950s I did not know that homosexuality or homosexuals existed.  I did not know any friends who had been molested.  Sex between men and women was a topic they didn't teach boys until high school, and only taught girls younger because they started bleeding.  Nudist magazines from the 1950s all featured lots of children photos along with mostly naked women.  I found a stash of HE and other nudist magazines in the summer when I was 18.  I was amazed and confused. I wondered how anyone, and especially women, could just be casual about being naked. And there they were photographed in these magazines.  I hadn't known that Nudism was a thing or that nudist camps existed before finding those magazines.  We all swam naked, but we weren't nudists, and only with boys.  Here were men and women, girls and boys together.  What was I to think.  Later that summer I also saw an actual naked girl, up close and personal.  I was growing up.

In fall of that year, 1963, I went off to the big city, Seattle, to University.  In 1965 my roommate told me that the University Drama Dept. had a lot of queers.  He had to explain what that meant.  I'm sure that was part of the cultural changes which now prevent nude swimming at the YMCA and elsewhere. 

The linked videos conclude by saying that nude swimming will never return.  Never is a very long time.  Cultures change.  It may come back. 





 
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Peter S

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Re: once ther was nude swimming at my local Boy's Club
« Reply #3 on: August 21, 2017, 06:31:12 PM »
I know Tumbler has a bad reputation here, but this site -
https://boysswimnude.tumblr.com/ - is all about boys swimming naked. Some of the pictures are from gay or homoerotic sites, but more are obviously from times when co-ed swimming meant boys naked and girls in swimsuits, including some newspaper and magazine cuttings.
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John P

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Re: once ther was nude swimming at my local Boy's Club
« Reply #4 on: August 22, 2017, 01:02:53 AM »
Tumblr demanded some kind of signing-in process from me, which was surprising as there's plenty of pornography there with no precautions apparently needed. I didn't investigate.

There's a guy in Florida who runs a site called "Nude Sleepers Forum" where he lets discussion range on anything related to nudity, and one topic has been boys swimming nude at schools and the YMCA. It's not really a great interest of mine, but I think the group has been through just about everything related to the topic!

http://w11.zetaboards.com/Nude_Sleepers_Forum/index/

Bob Knows

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Re: once ther was nude swimming at my local Boy's Club
« Reply #5 on: August 22, 2017, 02:38:48 AM »
I know Tumbler has a bad reputation here, but this site -
https://boysswimnude.tumblr.com/ - is all about boys swimming naked. Some of the pictures are from gay or homoerotic sites, but more are obviously from times when co-ed swimming meant boys naked and girls in swimsuits, including some newspaper and magazine cuttings.

Interesting photos.  I notice that they only have pictures of older "boys" who might pass the prohibition on photos of children.  Some of the "boys" had erections in the photos without anyone seeming to be concerned,  more often when they were interacting with clothed females.  Interesting also that these photos are collected on gay sites.  Gays becoming public was a big part of ending nude swimming, along with scandals about sexual molesting of boys.  Interesting photos.  Times were better then in a lot of ways.





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Bob Knows

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Re: once ther was nude swimming at my local Boy's Club
« Reply #6 on: August 22, 2017, 02:39:49 AM »

There's a guy in Florida who runs a site called "Nude Sleepers Forum" where he lets discussion range on anything related to nudity, and one topic has been boys swimming nude at schools and the YMCA. It's not really a great interest of mine, but I think the group has been through just about everything related to the topic!

http://w11.zetaboards.com/Nude_Sleepers_Forum/index/


Thanks for the link.  I started and acount on Zeta board.
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freehiker

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Re: once ther was nude swimming at my local Boy's Club
« Reply #7 on: August 22, 2017, 05:06:33 AM »
Bob I do not believe the rise of gay identity or child molesters  cause of ending nude swimming at the YMCA, Boy's Club and other places. I remember a hard push to include girls into sports. The name Boy's Club faded from the American landscape as Coed became to new goal. At the same time new found privacy caused boys and girls to feel shame if they were seen by others.

I grew up in poverty. My brothers and I shared a bed and room. Private was a thing I did not know. My mom had to support the family. The stuff I saw on TV in the late 50' on into the 60's did not match the life I knew. The Boy's Club was a safe place to spend time after school while waiting for my mom to come home from work. Sadly the club was sold. A college expanded on the site. My brothers and I were left with no place to go except the street.

The down fall of nude swimming is a product of a middle class life style that attempted to mirror the upper classes. The upper classes wear swim suites, had private bed rooms, personal bathrooms and so on. Add to this the inclusion of girls into activities once only for boys. Nude swimming was doomed.

I'm sorry I do not care about the photos on tumbler. They have nothing to do with this subject.

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David

eyesup

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Re: once ther was nude swimming at my local Boy's Club
« Reply #8 on: August 22, 2017, 08:25:18 PM »
As we get older, some of us, our perspectives change. Instead of seeing those events through the eyes of the time they occurred, we look through the years of life and experiences that happened since. It’s like the tendency to judge history by current standards instead of what those were when they happened.

Sounds vaguely familiar these days.

At any rate, it’s not uncommon to see this. I am still learning that maintaining the outlook from when I was younger takes more energy and the urge to relax and slow down takes it’s toll. We see ourselves doing what we did at a younger time and wince.

Duane

eyesup

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Re: once ther was nude swimming at my local Boy's Club
« Reply #9 on: August 22, 2017, 08:26:10 PM »
Same thing happened to me, John. I’m not giving my name and email to a site or go to that much effort just to browse it. If I wanted a personal account, that’s different. But not to just view some photos.

Duane

eyesup

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Re: once ther was nude swimming at my local Boy's Club
« Reply #10 on: August 22, 2017, 08:27:13 PM »
I think you have struck close to the mark, David. We were two boys and two girls in a family of six that shared one bathroom. Saturday nights and Sunday mornings were hectic with little time or effort spent on modesty. We weren’t naked but we all knew what the other’s underwear looked like. I too shared a room and bed with my brother.

Something dear was lost with the advent of progressivism.

Duane

freehiker

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Re: once ther was nude swimming at my local Boy's Club
« Reply #11 on: August 23, 2017, 03:56:59 AM »
Like a few others I refuse to give information just to enter a site to see pictures. When you press that enter button, who knows what may have been sent to your PC, tab or phone. To top it off, it is likely all the images were lifted  or taken from many other sites. I have noticed the same pictures on many sites.

Eyesup, I agree It was shared space. Each learned how to make do with what was given. We learned how to have private space even in a crowded bed and bedroom. It was communal. Most of my friends live in similar circumstances. Privacy was in the mind not a physical thing. Even in grade school I remember all of the boys lined up in our underwear for a physical.  There was nothing private with what the doc did. No one giggled or complained.

It wasn't until much later when I hear fellow students complain about having to under and share space in the gym shower. Those students grew up living in bedrooms all to them selves.

I believe this is when the demise of nudism and naturism started. Even traditional art education has suffered. Many college now avoid life drawing. There are now many art teacher who cannot draw the human form or understand  it. These thing started to face hard times in the mid 70's as kids who could not deal with seeing nudity came of age.

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David

eyesup

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Re: once ther was nude swimming at my local Boy's Club
« Reply #12 on: August 25, 2017, 09:00:57 PM »
Quote from: David
We learned how to have private space even in a crowded bed and bedroom. It was communal. Most of my friends live in similar circumstances. Privacy was in the mind not a physical thing.
I wonder if that carries over into other parts of life?

I find myself perfectly comfortable in a room full of people and speaking to no one. Not intentionally, just out of habit. You learn how to be private and keep your thoughts even when surrounded by people. I can be alone out in the middle of a desert or woods or in a large group. In either I am comfortable.

I hadn’t thought of that in relation to my growing up in a larger family in a small house.
Interesting.

Duane

Peter S

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Re: once ther was nude swimming at my local Boy's Club
« Reply #13 on: September 24, 2017, 12:51:10 PM »
http://www.democratandchronicle.com/story/news/local/columnists/andreatta/2017/09/22/andreatta-when-boys-swam-nude-gym-class/694542001/

Apparently (see article) the school authorities were oblivious to the distress nudity can inflict on adolescents ....
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Davie

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Re: once ther was nude swimming at my local Boy's Club
« Reply #14 on: September 24, 2017, 01:46:36 PM »
How times have changed. I read this below in a history of Scouting book. I've paraphrased it a little:

From the early 1920s
Its March and boys have gone to a private house to discuss passing their Scout tests. There was a boy named Bunce. He told the District Commissioner, a Mr Paris he could swim. “Fine” said Mr Paris, “Come with me.” They all went into the garden, down a path and to their surprise to a private swimming pool. “Right” said Mr Paris, “now show us what you can do.” “I haven’t any bathers” said Bunce. “What matters” said Mr Paris, “we’re all boys together, get your clothes off and get going.” Bunce took off his clothes and stood their shivering. He hesitated and Mr Paris gave him a shove and in he went. Needless to say he couldn’t swim a stroke and had to be hauled out with a boat hook. He didn’t get his badge and was never seen again! (Safeguarding and safety issues - he’d be locked up today and probably rightly so but we live in a different age)


I suspect it was common to swim naked between the wars and to some extent afterwards before prudery came along

Davie  8)