My Britishness is difficult to hide; my skin glows white and I still speak Spanish like a toddler. But most British of all, I find getting naked in public horrifying. For me, trying to blend in in a Spanish changing room is an absolute nightmare.
First, getting changed. To give you some idea of my public nakedness to date, as a Brit, I have been brought up to obey the following rules of changing room nudity:
A Brit’s guide to getting changed:
- Step 1: Choose the corner bench (for added privacy).
- Step 2: Wrap yourself in your extra-large towel and clench it between your teeth.
- Step 3: Extract (with some difficulty) your clothes from beneath the towel shield.
- Step 4: Tuck in your extra-large towel – firmly.
- Step 5: Shuffle to the shower (while avoiding eye contact).
In contrast, as far as I can tell, Spaniards feel very little difference between having their clothes on and having their clothes off. In the changing room, they chat naked, stroll naked and look in the mirror – naked.
And don’t even get me started on the changing room showers. Why are there no shower doors? It may just be my gym, but there are no doors. The first time I went to the gym showers, I kid you not, I did a quick recce of the doorless situation to see if people were wearing swimming costumes to wash. The answer: a revealing no.
Ok, I may be exaggerating the differences slightly – but seriously not much. And I’m not alone: statistics reveal even more: 63% of British women feel uncomfortable naked. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying this is good thing. I mean, let’s face it, British changing is a far more time-consuming and difficult process.
But despite this, I can’t imagine myself blending in at the gym anytime soon – not without a fake tan and a personality change anyway.