What a country, eh? Okay, I realize topless sunbathing is not exclusive to Madrid. But HERE is where I have most of my experience – with topless sunbathing!!
Most weekdays I go to the gym in hopes of staving off the effects of my sedentary existence in front of the computer. I spend a good 40 minutes of aerobic exercises on the treadmill and elliptical machine and then weight machines (I don’t like free weights. I ain’t no dumbbell. heheeh..). That’s all well and good.
But my gym also has an grassy, private outdoor sunbathing area JUST outside the window of the exercise room. And here’s the funny part… If this was Columbus, Ohio USA the window would be lined with men (and some women) trying to shoulder through the crowd to get a peek at the topless women below.
BUT NOOOOOOOO! This is Europe. Here, nary a man nor woman is against the window to gawk at the sights below – UNUSUAL SITES THEY ARE for my United Statesen eyes. Europeans, well, I know men admire the naked female form, and it no-doubt, gives them certain urges, but here seeing such things are nothing out of the ordinary.
Oh sure, occasionally a couple of young men will linger at the window, grinning, elbowing each other while gazing across the group of 5-20 women below, 50% of them topless, but the leering doesn’t last very long. Sometimes I find myself near the window for some particular exercise machine and I too will look over the group. The phrases, “Wow. I can’t believe my eyes” and “You chose wisely, Grasshopper” fill my Temporal Lobe – when they can get past the Frontal Lobe, that is. he he he… But after an “acceptable” amount of time I’ll walk away, fearful the gym’s attendant will approach me with a scolding.
At my gym they’re doing some renovations both outside and inside. The outside work is being done conveniently just outside this particular window. Sometimes I see the workmen lingering as they pass by, sometimes tripping, sometimes stopping and pretending to make a phone call while staring. One particular workman, I’m ashamed to say it, appeared to be taking photos with his mobile camera phone. My presumption was that this particular workman was not from Spain – and maybe not even from western Europe – and so he wasn’t as accustomed to seeing topless women in public. Well, they weren’t out in the PUBLIC but they were within plain view of his workspace so imagine his reaction.
I always knew that topless sunbathing was common in Spain as I’d seen many of them on the beaches of San Sebastián-Donostia when visiting there for Semana Santa/Holy Week several years ago. But to have topless sunbathers outside my gym’s window, so common and casual, and ON A DAILY BASIS in summer, is a REAL eye-opener.
Back in 1995, my first visit to Madrid, I VIVIDLY remember seeing TV advertisements for shampoo and body lotion, both using nearly-totally-nude models in the commercials, full-frontal nudity from the waist up and full back nudity too. WOWEE! But little by little, as has passed, fewer and fewer of these commercials are broadcast for whatever reason. Now, really, you never see nudity on TV commercials – although you do casually see it on TV news programs showing sunbathers on beaches during the summer vacation season. I IMAGINE men aren’t jumping out of their couches when seeing topless sunbathers on the TV news!
It’s also quite common to pass newsstands on the sidewalks and see, right on the front of the newsstand, a magazine with a topless, large-breasted woman on its cover. My first reaction is, “My God! What if the children see that?!” Then I realize that I’m in Europe where the female form is not something to be hidden nor for which to be ashamed. Afterall, BOTH men AND women have breasts, don’tcha know! THIS is equality at its definition.
Saludos, MadridManShare THIS on Facebook!