In my first year of college, whenever I’d have an evening shower, I usually would end up down the hall afterward. The social and clearly labeled “extrovert” end of the hall was always booming when the girls were in, and I always would go down to check in when I heard the chatter. (I had been assigned the introvert end of the hallway, and, somewhat ironically, I was the only one in the hallway who knew everyone else. I just like to get to know the people around me, and so college was no exception to that.) This meant that, come evening time on weekdays, I would spend some portion of the time down the hall, socializing, so to speak.
And, as mentioned, this included the time immediately following my evening showers. And so, I would be hanging out down the hall, hair wrapped in one towel and body in another, both holding tightly, as though sewn into place. Totally normal for me.
One night, one of the most outgoing girls asked me about how on Earth I can be so comfortable in just a towel… Wasn’t I worried it would fall off?… Or that I was naked underneath??? No, not at all, I told her. And I explained why I wasn’t. First, we were all girls, so I saw no issue anyway (though I had no intention of anyone seeing anything under the towel). Secondly, I grew up with older sisters who had seemed to spend a third of their time at home (when in college) walking around in a towel or two, and so it was very normal for me. And, from a very young age, I had learned their tricks of how to make the towel stay in place, and, naturally, I had mastered it by college. So, it never seemed dangerous for me to be hanging out down the hall – this was after the curfew when boys had already been kicked out, mind you – in a towel. It was like hanging out in almost any other clothing.
She had trouble believing that the towel was stuck, and so I even did a little shaking around to show how it wouldn’t fall off. Nevertheless, she still was terrified of ever doing such a thing herself, and I was amazed that this towel tying trick wasn’t common knowledge or part of common use. I think I even showed them right then and there how I tied the towel (without opening it, of course). These were the girls who talked about just about everything with one another, quite openly, and yet they were somehow terrified at the thought of showing their bodies to one another. I still have a certain shyness about my body, but, in certain contexts, it’s very so what to me. Like in onsen, the Japanese hot baths, it is absolutely no big deal to show my body and to see other women’s bodies. And in theatre, for costume changes, it happens sometimes… oh, well… it’s no issue. It just happens.
To this day – last time was Friday evening – I still walk around in my towel and chat comfortably with people after I shower. My high school ‘big sister’ was known for always saying, in response to a compliment about her clothing, “I’m naked under this.” The initial shock always wore away when, after a few moments of consideration, the listener realized that we all were naked underneath whatever outfit we were wearing – that’s kind of how it works when you put something on in the first place. For me, there is little difference between clothing and a towel. Plenty of people regularly don’t wear underwear, and men don’t wear bras, so we’re just as naked under a towel as we are under most clothing. (It’s just what in our minds that messes with us and makes us uncomfortable.) That’s why, even when I’d shower in college, and a guy would be in the hallway when I was heading back to my room in just a towel, I was unconcerned. I’d even talk with them, if I knew them. It seems that, if they were concerned about talking with me, they could always excuse themselves and leave. That’s what my friends and I would do if we had an issue with a guy in only a towel. (But that really isn’t much of an issue to me, mostly too due to my upbringing with older siblings.)
(I somehow feel harsh or demanding with all of that…, but I didn’t mean to be; not in the least. People can always do as they prefer – I’m just sharing why I am so comfortable in such a silly situation, and why I see it a totally normal, despite its being totally awkward for plenty of people. I mean, my ukulele teacher is someone I met when we both were bathing in an onsen, naked, of course.) 😛