When I was at the airport this week, I went into the ladies restroom. My eyebrows were raised at a lady in her knickers (panties to Americans) and shirt at the sink. I realized she was washing a garment. We both went into adjoining stalls and I could see from her shoes that she was not American. When we both came out, I saw that she was now wearing a beautiful white skirt and I said to her, “did you get the stain out?” She laughed and said “did you see me?” I starting laughing as well and said, “You have to be from Europe.”
The lady confirmed she was from Denmark and I related to her my first encounter with western European girls in Scotland. My friends and I went to a Grade 3 Scottish youth hostel in the back of beyond. It sounds like something out of a horror movie and it really was. There was only one tap at each sink because there was no hot water – goodness only knows where the water came from, probably the stream behind the building. There were no showers, very little privacy and damp blankets. My fellow Catholic girlfriends and I were doing our best to wash ourselves under a towel when we noticed the Dutch girls, naked with one foot in the sink washing their nether regions and everything else. They had no issue with being naked with other girls which is an entirely normal response – we all look the same, more or less.
As we traveled more we noticed that Scandinavians, Dutch, Belgian and some others were completely comfortable with nudity. On one occasion in Amsterdam I was waiting in the queue for the ladies restroom in a department store. The queue was very long so the staff suggested that we use the gentleman’s restroom instead. The Dutch ladies went off happily but I just couldn’t bring myself to walk past the urinals. It would be a completely different story now with a middle-aged bladder – get out of my way I need to wee!!!