One thing I particularly admire about the Danes and the Danish way-of-life struck me as I stood in the changing rooms of the swimming pool in DGI Byen last week. It wasnÂ’t the fantastic number of people with an obviously false tan. Nor was it the impressive number of elderly people out for a bit of keep-fit. No, it was the fact that so many people here are obviously comfortable with their naked selves. I donÂ’t just mean the 20-year-olds with the perfect bodies that I wished I still had, itÂ’s nearly everybody: fat, thin, short, tall, old, young. Even women in their 70s, whether god has blessed them with little bee stings or great big melons – or theyÂ’ve acquired plastically-enhanced, gravity-defying bosoms – youÂ’ve got to respect the way they let it all hang out at the local swimming pool. After all, we only have the bodies we have, and I think itÂ’s great that the Danes seem so comfortable with this fact.
I was brought up in the UK, where almost everyone takes a pre-swim shower with their bathers on. In Denmark everyone abides by the rule that before you jump into the pool, you must shower in your birthday suit and (incidentally they have that rule in Britain too, itÂ’s just that no-one takes any notice of it). It took me at least five years before I was able to make the dash from my clothes-filled locker to the shower area without an all-encompassing towel wrapped around me, but now I really couldnÂ’t give a monkeyÂ’s. The Danish laissez-faire attitude has somehow rubbed off. Although, IÂ’m not sure I will ever have the ability of some Danes to stand stark naked, hands on hips, face-to-face with a friend and carry on an in-depth conversation about the state of the economy (as I recently witnessed).
I was rather concerned that this article was turning out to be a little one-sided. What about Danish males and nakedness? Did they also like to bare all at the slightest whiff of chlorine, or were they a little more bashful than their female compatriots? I did consider waltzing into the menÂ’s changing rooms armed with my reporterÂ’s camera, but thought better of it when I realised that the sight of a load of naked men with their todgers in full view might put me off my lunch.
Instead I decided to revert to my trusted journalistic method and shouted around the office for comments. I was shocked when one colleague said: Â“Victoria, all guys get their kit off in the changing rooms Â– everywhere!Â” Well, you learn something every day!
So ladies, take my advice (and I never thought IÂ’d hear myself saying this): When it comes to taking your clothes off, try and be a little more Danish!