The female change rooms and showers in Dalplex are populated by naked women, blithely lathering themselves, tugging underwear and swimsuits on and off. Boobs swing about freely, dimply, pimply thighs and arms move about. A few years ago, all of this would have made me supremely uncomfortable, but now I don’t care- I have changed. Indeed, I not-so-furtively eye the variety of body shapes and boobs with some interest (bright red nipples? I would have never guessed). Again, I am amazed by the totalizing job the media has successfully conducted on our minds- who knew women’s bodies looked so different, both from each other and from the idealised images with which we are bombarded daily? We are all duped into thinking our bodies should all look the same, and all the same in one particular way, and those that don’t, are weird, sick or ugly, or all three.
I do not strip. The Princess has made me promise not to. Once she learned that I have made -tried to make- swimming a regular practice, she squealed “ewwww- are you one of those women who walk about naked? Please don’t, please don’t please don’t”. So I don’t. I slip off the shoulder straps of my swimsuit, leaving them modestly beneath my armpits, so my boobs remain fully covered in the sauna and shower, and the Princess’s sensibilities are not offended. She must have inherited them from her grandmother, for I can clearly remember my mother railing against naked women in the showers of the swimming pools of Iran. “Why do I have to see breasts when all I want is a relaxing swim?” she would mutter angrily, as if the mere sight of bare breasts and a hint of vagina seared her eyeballs. But that was many years ago, and this summer, when our eyeballs constantly feasted on a veritable display of female nudity of all ages and forms in the showers and locker rooms of Tehran swimming pools, there was nary a murmur. She too has changed, as she constantly reminds us, she would like to think she is no longer fierce in her opinions, she tell us she has mellowed out. She has, a little bit, I suppose. Not really, though, not deep down.
This has not changed. This. Everything goes back to our mother and our father, how they would feel, what they would say. Everything reminds us of them, all the time, every where. This one thing will never change. This blog post was supposed to be about something else, and now it is about them. That is the way it has been, is, and will be, for ever and ever.