Ohmigosh, she’s NAKED!

There are lovely things about having a friend from across the pond, regardless of which side of that pond you reside. It’s a keyhole view into another world, where cultural norms may differ. There’s also the added benefit of hearing their accent whenever you want. *swoon*

But sometimes these cultural norms can be utterly bewildering. Shocking, even. My guest today is someone most of you know and LoveAdoreCherish as much as I do: Lizzi of Considerings. She has a tale of culture clash that will leave you shivering in your knickers….or some English phrase like that, and I haven’t the foggiest notion who this mystery ‘Murican is. See if you can guess.

***

Have you ever been thrust up against a cultural difference so great it made you gasp as the realisation sunk in?

Or have you ever been so flummoxed by the incredible size of disparity that having it suddenly revealed to you in all its glory left you flushed to the very roots of your person, and uncertain as to how to get a handle on it?

I have, very recently.

It rendered me suddenly tongue-tied, with anxious butterflies swirling through the pit of my stomach and my mind desperately censoring thoughts; melting unbidden imagery into 8-bit pixels and piling frantic blackout bars over the repeating slideshow of that moment.

I’m not a prude (probably) but there’s a certain English delicacy to my sensitivities (most of the time), and on occasion they become entangled with a level of American exuberance which has a tendency to render them stutteringly inadequate to the situation. I find myself left stumbling in a hopeless attempt to prevent the emotional equivalent of falling, quite gracelessly, flat on my face.

Allow me to set the scene…

Late one winters night, with the weather hurling itself at the windows and the lights turned low, I was cosied up on my sofa, snuggled in blankets and immersed in keeping up with the Blogosphere, messaging a number of friends, and trying to wrap my brain around outlining the next chapter of my book. A sudden, offhand remark from one of my ‘Muricans sent all of my mental processes to a screeching halt:

“I’m in the tub soaking muscles…”

I felt as though I’d inadvertently walked in on her! I froze stock still, my mind gradually draining of white noise as I became acutely aware of every fibre of my Very English Being SCREAMING at me to get the hell out of there.

Which I couldn’t, of course, because we were thousands of miles apart, in our respective phones, but the situation still suddenly felt intensely uncomfortable. For me.

There were a few moments of radio silence, and I fumbled a message back:

*eyebrows raised sky-high*

Then she giggled.

I stammered out a nothing statement full of hesitations and ellipses, and she came back, quick as a flash “What’s the difference if I was on the couch or in the tub? Except for the nekkid part…I’m just lounging!”

I mean, yeah, okay, but ALL THE PARTS WERE NEKKID!

I gathered myself together and responded in the breeziest, ‘I’m cool with this, whatever’ way I could manage at the time:

“I’m afraid I don’t have your New World exuberance, exhibitionism or ease around such matters of the human body – in England we need to be clad head to toe even to write a letter, or else it feels vaguely pornographic…”

Her response let me know that she understood that I was “heebed out” (well yeah, if that’s what you’re calling ‘taken aback because you suddenly got clued in that the chica on the other end of the conversation is OHMIGOSH COMPLETELY STARK NAKED!’) and she asserted, somewhat poutily, that at least she wasn’t sharing ‘from the tub’ pictures. At this point my imagination flubbed its blackout bars and suffered a small attack of the vapours.

Perhaps I should have been better prepared, after all, this is a friend who frequently writes of flashing her boobs at people she admires, joins in lusty group flirts on Twitter, and has written sex-poetry, which (to judge by the comments) left not a dry seat in the house. The thing is – as is my wont with social media – I had tended to attribute 85% of it to horsing around, but no, maybe she really is just that comfortable!

I just never thought that such a level of comfort would strike me so hard, nor the ripples of my reaction run so deep. There is clearly an entrenched part of me which feels breathless and shaky when its expectations are flipped on their backs and handled with such unprecedented force.

On the other hand, it’s plausible that this tale of a reticent Englisher and her SoapyNakedAmerican shows rather more than just a level of inhibition which was as lacking as her clothes…it might just show trust.

Now that’s exciting.

[I’m not one to kiss and tell, so I won’t name her…I’ll just let you use your imagination.]

Have a story of your own culture clash? Do share in comments!

192 comments

  1. Oh but I think I know…cheeky, that one.
    Nearly spit out my coffee here:
    “…in England we need to be clad head to toe even to write a letter, or else it feels vaguely pornographic…” That’s hilarious.
    Actually spit out my coffee when I got to “SoapyNakedAmerican.”

    Liked by 3 people

          1. What the coffee? Mostly on the table in front of the computer. Thankfully, not on the keyboard (oh the Hub would have a FIT if that happened). I’m afraid there is nothing graphic or sensuous to describe. It’s not like I read blog posts in the buff…or do I?
            *laughs hysterically at the thought of Lizzi now completely scandalized*
            My work here is done.😀

            Liked by 1 person

    1. Lisa, I read the part you quoted and came to a stunning realisation.

      I am, apparently, not in fact English.

      Because I’m naked under my clothes ALL THE TIME.

      Like

  2. I’m nekkid right now Lizzi.🙂 I do have a habit of walking around the house naked. But my husband pointed out that a teenage boy really doesn’t want to see his mom naked. That ended that real quick! (for the record, I’m not a nudist. I just don’t like to get dressed right after a shower and robes annoy me.)

    This made me giggle though! I don’t have any problem with being around my girlfriends in a state of undress. But some of my college roommates would always try to get me to sit in the bathroom and smoke a cigarette with them while they.. uh… did their business. This baffled me. There are certain times where I just don’t want company. Plus, ewwwww!

    Liked by 5 people

    1. I can tell that this thread is going to degenerate into people seeing how much they can make me blush, and whether they can see the glow from the States :p

      The idea of doing your business in front of someone else (or watching them do theirs) is UTTERLY repulsive. I can’t believe that anyone would! *heebs out*

      And…um….*blushes* I got nothin’!

      Liked by 1 person

          1. It’s almost happened. Ava likes to play with my phone and never fails to walk in on me during those private moments. (Or bangs on the door til I open it) And she likes to surreptitiously snap pics of me. She’s done it in dressing rooms when I’m trying on clothes too. When she figures out how to post to Facebook I’m in big trouble.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. My youngest once laid on the floor of my dressing room in Nordstroms while I tried on bras. He had my phone and snapped away. It took weeks to get over the trauma of seeing those photos….

              Liked by 3 people

      1. I know! What is the deal with that??? I have friends who will do it in front of their husbands! I’m not judging, but there are some things that I personally believe will kill the romance real quick.

        Like

  3. This is so interesting to me, Lizzi and Beth. When I worked with the British, I found them so much more frank about sex, etc. that I felt almost prudish (and I wouldn’t generally describe myself that way). I decided that European liberalism was just far beyond the Puritanical roots of our American culture. But anyway, I got used to it and talked way more openly, and then when I moved back to the Southern US, I had to make enormous adjustments because that kind of talk is most definitely frowned upon.
    So now I’m confused. Maybe what I thought was European was more expat (since we were all living in Malaysia at the time)? Whatever the case, glad to to know the story.

    Now I’ll flush.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. *facepalm* YOU TOO!?!?!?

      I think it depends on the circle of culture you’re in, in England. There’s a certain factor who’d be quite prepared to speak out about it (and the filthier the terminology, the better…and believe me, in the right mood, I can hold my own there, too) but I think there’s a larger proportion of people for whom this is a somewhat delicate topic, which wouldn’t really be discussed or focussed on, rather alluded to with fancy euphemisms.

      On this occasion I just got taken by surprise. I would NEVER text in the bath (much as anything cos I’d probably drop my phone in the water).

      Like

      1. I’d definitely text in the bath and on the toilet. But I might not reveal the fact. Or I might. The truth is, now that you’ve revealed this makes you uncomfortable, I’ll probably just make it up to get your goat.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. I think I must be in the other circle, then. I wouldn’t be bothered by somebody texting me in the bath but, on the other hand, I was visiting a mate in France last year, and sitting (clothed) by her pool when a complete stranger arrived, took off all her clothes and jumped in. Now that was a bit of a shock to the British system!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Amy, I’m not *that* modest all the time. Promise. I went to college for two years and was in an all-boys class. Teenage boys, some of them. I’m pretty good at holding my own (and I’ll hold anyone else’s, too!)

          *levels a ‘look’ at Beth* It’s clearly been too long since you and I tweeted properly. You seem to have forgotten an awful lot…

          Like

  4. This is so funny, makes me wonder if all the wonderful Brits feel this way and what the reaction would be to learn one was receiving text/Facebook/phone messages from the toilet! Because let’s be honest… we do a lot of social media work from the potty.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I guess I am fully Murican since I have no issue chatting with a naked person as long as it’s not face to face. Having tea with a naked person would be awkward since my eyes would unintentionally keep falling on the jiggly bits and having only one naked person at tea would be unaccountably rude somehow.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ah but Goldfish, there is a difference between naked at tea because you and the naked person DECIDED to be naked at tea, and suddenly and unexpectedly DISCOVERING the nakedness.

      My English Brain put pixels over the jiggly bits. Quickly.

      Like

      1. I suppose unexpected nakedness can be quite disconcerting depending on the circumstances.

        At least a quarter of my ancestors were English and I’m generally not a fan of public nakedness. I’m not sure of those two things are related.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. It was Beth, wasn’t it? She loves those perky boobs of hers as much as she loves telling people to imagine her soaking in the tub with them🙂

    This is really ironic to me because of all the nudity I saw while I was in Europe! Granted, that was Italy and Greece and not England, so I supposed I’m wrongly clumping all of you together there. My apologies. At any rate, I think it’s really cute! Americans are hard to predict anyway, and I tend to think we’re a bit too pornographic in EVERYTHING we do.

    *wanders off to make another snarky comment about Beth’s perky boobs*

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Italians and Greeks are blessed with a certain Mediterranean je ne sais quoi, which makes them utterly at ease with letting everything hang out. I blame the sunshine. England is full of drizzle and fog, and it’s just impractical to let things hang out, or you ketch cold or get a puddle in it.

      I’m STILL not telling who it was. And you behave yourself, missy! Them’s my BlogWife’s boobs you’re making snarky comments about :p

      Like

  7. Sex is anathema to old men, whose daughters cavort with the rest of them. Solid and sinew, born in a whirl just like that young feminine girl with all her wiles and supercilious smiles. A code, a chance, just happenstance, she leaves with another guy ready himself to give it a whirl.

    They danced and danced to a silvery bubble, rising with purpose to some other end. As the climax to passion colored her walls, the dance began again, in another box with the same kind of mind.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Yes, this: “It’s a keyhole view into another world, where cultural norms may differ.”

    That, to me, is the very most extra-special wonderful thing about blogging. It means I get to have friends in WAY different parts of the world, and not just trans-Atlantic ones. I have trans-Pacific ones too🙂

    I saw this way earlier on the phone and it totally cracked me up. I love, love love, the way you wrap the serious point about the differences in all the layers of bawdy humor and self-deprecation.

    And the point about trust at the end is just perfect!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. It’s wonderful to have that view across different cultures and, yeah, once I’d gotten over the shock and we’d had a laugh about it, I thought it would be a really funny thing to write up. Means I got to characaturise (is that even a thing?) us both a bit, but again, the fun of blogging is getting to PLAY. Even when the person you’re playing with is a SoapyNakedMerican

      (wait….WHUT?!)

      Like

  9. I just have to say on more thing. This thread is PRICELESS! This is just what I like to see people doing on a blog. I may use it as an example of what good looks like at some point. I have spent way too much time here and I have laughed and laughed.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I love Lizzi! Now that I’ve heard your voice, I hear it when I read your words and it’s delightful!
    The comments were awesome, too. I’m so glad I put my naked post back up…suddenly I don’t feel so all alone (though I have yet to text my blogger buddies from the bath tub)
    You ladies rock!!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Bwaahahaha I LOVE that! So awesome. And doesn’t it make a DIFFERENCE, to have heard someone and to be able to put their real voice to something? So cool.

      The comments are GREAT fun! I love this part of blogging.

      You know you should link your naked post here so everyone can see… (as it were)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Tee! Hee! That’s a lot of nudity in one spot. WP might shut us down!!
        Seriously – I’m still giggling this morning as I’d read this before going to bed last night.

        The naked story we are missing?
        *Ahem, Beth?!?! What were you just telling me about that hospital gown incident??

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Oh, you mean that time I accidently showed a chiropractor my LADY BITS??? Yeah. That. I’m still blushing all these years later. If anyone cares to read about it, go to my “I get around” page. It was a guest post for Marcia (menopausal mother).

          Liked by 3 people

            1. Don’t worry, Beth. MamaMick, you might want to shut your eyes for this… When I was very pregnant with my son, I had to visit a rheumatologist. I’d never visited a rheumatologist before, so how was I supposed to know you have to get undressed and put on a backless blue paper gown which doesn’t fit because you have a giant 8 month pregnant tummy?
              Inyhoo, thinking that I was going to have a fully clothed visit, and having an increasingly hard time reaching my feet and legs, I had not shaved (in a long, long, time) and was going commando that day (if you are British, going commando is wearing no pants. Your variety of pants.). So there I was, staring at my blue paper gown, trying to decide what to do. Do I fess up? Or do I put on the sad blue paper gown and hope he doesn’t notice.
              I took the second option.
              I was wrong… So wrong.
              He was mighty surprised when he asked me to lie back with my knees bent, and went to check the range of motion I had in my knees and hips.
              Mighty surprised.
              I have not been back. No siree… Not been back at all.

              Liked by 3 people

  11. oh o. Well now I know. I won’t ask you to proof read my sexy poetry Lizzi ….😛 … now whom am I going to ask? 😀

    Here there are so many cultural differences it is a daily topic of discussion over coffee break. I could probably write an entire blog about it.🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Heheheh nope, if you ask me, I shall become suddenly Terribly English and feign polite deafness with such precision that you’ll begin to question whether you ever asked me😉

      Cultural differences over coffee. I like it🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Great post, Lizzi, and despite your discomfort it was very funny to read on my end! Interesting on the differences in cultures, etc. I guess I will go the American guy route and say…why can’t I get messages like that?? LOL. Hey, as long as she is hot…or reasonably hot! I read many of the comments and they were hysterical too🙂 I hope all is well with you and you too, Beth!🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. *wriggles in discomfort at hearing about how Mike experienced the post on his end*….
      😉 Thanks though. It was a fun way to take a silly situation and make it into something entertaining. Course, there are those for whom the thought of Bathtime Beth is sufficient diversion…

      Like

  13. I have a question. How do you use a phone while in the tub with all the soap? What if it slips? What if you accidentally switch the camera on, and then accidentally press click, and the accidentally upload something on twitter?

    I can’t even change my clothes unless I’m alone and behind locked doors, so I can never imagine being naked and texting. Not a prude, just very uncomfortable being accidentally naked!
    As for stuff I will do on purpose, that’s a different story altogether!😀

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Sounds like a story I wanna hear.

      And I didn’t even THINK about phone+soap, but I AM an expert at reading in the tub, and you just don’t put your hands in until you’re ready to put the book down, so I guess it’s the same for phones.

      I would worry about the camera aspect though.

      It’s interesting, when I’m with ‘my’ people, I’m completely unfazed by nudity. I’m quite happy to wander around in the nip, amongst family, but I don’t think I’ve ever been accidentally naked!

      Like

    2. anawnimiss, it takes a lot of effort to post a nudie shot! I have a good phone case, so I don’t worry about dropping it in the water. I also Pinterest in the bath like a MOFO. haha

      Like

  14. I’m from Denmark and have traveled to God’s Own Country several times. There’s such a difference in culture. Up north it’s not so bad – and anyway I hang out with canadians and germans most of the time anyway – but down south it gets really conservative and religious.
    And they’re so damn polite – polite to a fault! For my blabbering say-it-all attitude that can be a real problem.
    One instance I remember was when my host sister and I drove in her car and “talk dirty to me” came on the radio. I sang along carelessly, shaking ma bootay as well as the car allowed, while she hesitated. She glanced warily at me as I turned up the volume.
    “Ugh, this song …” she mumbled.
    “What? Don’t you like it?” I turned the volume down. I know how hard it is to force-fed bad music.
    “It’s just so distasteful. And degrading to women!”
    For a moment I was struck dumb. I mean, yes, that song is definitely degrading and distasteful and there’s way too many of its kind, but on the dancefloor? Does it really matter?
    I’m usually a “feminazi” on these things. I’ve been slapped about by expectations of women quite a few times but if it’s a good beat I can overlook it and just tune in on the music.

    Same girl is studying nursing and I’ve asked her several times why she didn’t want to be a doctor, as she has good enough grades, and she said she didn’t want the responsibility. “So I applied for nursing instead, and it was God’s will that I got in.”
    i was like “whaaa.” “So what if God’s real will is that you should be a doctor?”
    “Then God would show me. Like, if my application hadn’t been answered.”
    “But would you have applied for being a doctor, seeing as you don’t want that responsibility?”
    “He’d have found a way to tell me.”
    I still cannot quite wrap my head around that God-centered world-view.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. No, me neither. There’s been an aspect of that kind of thing over here, with regard to people losing their sight as a result of diabetes, and attributing it to ‘god’s will’. Nah – it’s just a refusal to take responsibility.

      Are you glad you clicked the link now?😉

      (For the record, the lady I refer to is from dayunn Sayuthh… 😀 )

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Did I ever send you that picture of me in the tub? No wait- I sent it to someone else. True story. But oh, I believe I may know the gal you speak of. I’m guessing anyway.

    She should have sent you a picture… cause ‘immersion therapy’ is incredibly beneficial. 😉

    I’m gonna send you mine. Be warned. Your therapy has BEGUN!!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Okay so I got a completely OUT OF THE BLUE NEKKID BATHTIME PIC from you, with NO WARNING, because I didn’t come here and read this first! Gahhhhh!

      What are ya DOING to me, Kitty?!?!

      (P.S. I told Beth you sent me pics…she’s gonna have to up her game to fluster me now!😉 )

      Like

    1. The comments are HILARIOUS…and now, apparently I have become a target for FOR REAL bathtime pics! It’s INSANE! I never knew that one blog post could inspire such craziness! Kinda like it😉

      I can be as filthy as ya want…as long as I have time to mentally prepare. I tend to be rather on the…no, I can’t even say that without laughing. I’m not remotely pure. But I can be surprised sometimes. Evidently.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Always– Elaine (at writers workshop) and I frequently go back and forth, trading ‘Murican and English yummies across the ocean (Royal Mail is very slow to deliver Twinkies, by the way), and English and ‘Murican phrases across the internet. It was just recently that I learned the difference between pants, knickers and trousers, and just ten minutes ago I taught her about “Kicking ass and taking names.”
    It’s a truly wonderful thing. I have never texted from the bath, however. I’ll have to try it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You can buy Twinkies in England. You can in Brighton and a few other places, anyway! Try cybercandy.co.uk🙂

      I don’t think I’ve ever tried sending food. My mum once sent a pancake in the post, but not to America.

      The difference in ‘pants’ always makes me laugh, because the Muricans will speak about pants, and OF COURSE my mind goes straight to knickers, not trousers! Makes it very funny in my brain.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Not to mention fannies. I mean, the difference in meaning. Hello, by the way, NTT, suggested I drop by. I simply couldn’t text in the bath, I’d just drop the phone. But I’d text in bed…I mean, you know, in a good way. Erm, I think I’ll be off now! Before I dig any more holes for myself.

        Liked by 3 people

  17. This was definitely a laugh I needed. Oh, wait, I’m not done laughing. (Oops, I might’ve just snorted snot.)

    This reminds me of a friend who visited across the pond and told the people there after dinner she was stuffed…um, yeah, they thought she was pregnant instead of full of food. Gotta love the cultural differences. =)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. LOL! That’s hilarious. I managed to worry someone when I told them that I was ‘shattered’, which in England means ‘very tired’ and in America means ’emotionally falling apart’. So that was fun!

      I’m glad you laughed so much. I haven’t had this much fun in a comments section in AGES!

      Liked by 1 person

          1. *shrugs* I’ve never watched it. Bad surprise naked is when your patient turns up without a shirt. If he’s the kind of man who really SHOULD BE WEARING A SHIRT. Bad surprise naked could also be when your swimsuit goes see-through when you’re 8, and no-one in your class tells you til AFTER the lesson #NeverHappened

            Liked by 1 person

            1. I forgot about this one. And this was an invisible swimsuit story rather than specifically NAKED story…

              I did once get my boobs out in the ocean (when everyone else was FAR FAR AWAY!) just to see if they really DO float (they do). There. That’s it!

              Liked by 1 person

  18. So no naked hot tub outings when you visit the States? Dammit.

    You’re safe with me, Lizzi. My bathtub is simply a hamper for dirty towels, and I really can’t be on my phone while I’m in the shower.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. hahahaha this is so adorably English!
    I’m about as ‘Murican as they come, but I must admit that like you, I just assume everyone is joking. I don’t have an issue with nudity among my children, but other than that it DOES make me a little uncomfortable. I also hate FEET so when people post pictures of their nekkid feet it makes me squirm for some weird reason. Maybe just b/c my feet are gross, I dunno, but I do feel really weird at the tub pictures online. Like, it just seems like such a private moment, not really an internet moment. Though everyone has a different comfort level, that’s for sure.
    Now I’m going to be tempted to constantly tease you that I’m naked while we’re tweeting and whatnot! hahahaha (but spoiler: I never am. Not anymore. for whatever reason. Old? Fat? Too many little kids around? Too many WINDOWS really close to my neighbors, that’s a big part of it. I can see into my neighbors houses and it is affecting me more than I thought it ever would.) This made me laugh, well done you fully clothed Lassie!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You never tweet me naked ANY MORE?!?!? Now this worries me…you USED to?!

      (I usedn’t to like feet but now I don’t care. There are some very attractive feet out there as well as unattractive ones…)

      Like

  20. Utterly brilliant! And as a Brit living in Sweden where they never bloody have their clothes on, I can identify!.A group of Brit ex pats went kayaking last summer, and happened upon a group of naked Swedes swimming. You’ve never seen people with their eyes more focused on the horizon. We paddled past them in horrified silence as they frolicked away, in public, with not a stitch on between them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. *dies laughing* Ya SERIOUSLY kind of have to admire the body confidence. And I can COMPLETELY understand the reaction. Blimey. That horizon must have been fascinating. Buuuuuut….how bout that peripheral vision? I hope some of the water-babies were at least good looking.

      Liked by 1 person

  21. This is hilarious. And I’m going to try to properly comment without focusing too much on how jealous I am that this mystery ‘murican has an actual tub whilst I– owner of TWO bathrooms– am left with nothing but uncomfortable standing showers.

    That being said, I’ve done many an uncomfortable thing while communicating electronically. First off, I’m naked like 85% of the time that I’m at home. This jumps to 99% when the temps creep above 50. I have shaved my legs, showered, waxed my hoo ha, adjusted my bra straps and pretty much every other naked activity while skyping, whatsapping, or texting. I like to give my loved ones a full interactive experience.

    Liked by 2 people

  22. I don’t think that there are enough words to express how profoundly pissed I am that I didn’t run across this earlier today. I have fallen a little in love you with you both. With several of you, actually. And I am fully clothed. But in my head, know that I am typing this completely bare-nethered, with a touch of Deep Red behind each ear and with one leg propped cheekily up on the….on the….*looks to the left* Snare drum? Yoga ball? Vornado fan? I’m too sexy for this room….

    Like

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