Sunday, October 9, 2011

Das ist Berlin (This is Berlin)

Germans aren't modest when it comes to public nudity. It's not uncommon for public parks, beaches, campgrounds, and swimming pools to have areas or times of the day reserved for nudity.

There's a long history of nudism or naturism in Germany. In the early 1900s, German naturism was viewed as health giving and seen as a way to achieve classlessness: everybody is equal once clothes are removed. For the most part, Germans don't equate public nudity with sex. In locker rooms at gyms, public swimming pools and restrooms, you often find female attendants cleaning the sinks, floors, or shower areas while men are in various stages of undress. No one seems to mind.

By contrast, the United States has always been puritanical when it comes to public nudity. (I wish Americans were as puritanical about violence, overeating, and war as they are with public nudity, but that's another story.)

A few days ago, a German friend told me of an experience he had at an American beach. When he asked the lifeguard where the nude section (FKK) was located, he was astonished to discover that most American beaches don't permit nudity, and that nude sunbathing is a criminal offense in most parts of the USA. It just confirmed his stereotype that Americans were conservative religious extremists.

BTW: Here are the English lyrics to "Das ist Berlin." (My best guess)

That is Berlin, Berlin, the eternally young city
That is Berlin, Berlin, it has my love
Right in the center of the world
She has the Lord God
You're my Berlin, Berlin, pearl on the Spree
Who knows you just as, Berlin, 
You can never say goodbye
Because your magic can never escape
You're my Berlin, Berlin, Berlin, pearl on the Spree
Who saw you as Berlin,
You can never say goodbye
Because your magic can never escape
You're my Berlin, Berlin, Berlin.


Napalmcheng said...

Yeah, because Germans don't know anything about overeating or violence. I lived just south of Frankfurt for three years and saw no nudity and I lived on Am Schwimmbad. After all my travels I have noticed that people in different places think different things. And I don't judge, unlike your judgment of American Puritanism. Travel usually makes you smarter about the world. I think you need to travel more.

Fernando De Leon said...

Kommen Sie aus den USA? sind Sie ein Republikaner?