Making a bonfire of my vanities…

In The Main Beef on 31/07/2007 at 14:51

I tell ya… I always knew I was something of a prude, have often made note of that part of my nature, and worked on bracing myself for whatever shocking things I would see as I wandered through Europe. For all that the States offer up a bevy of skin and naughtiness, to be had whenever and wherever you might be, still it is a fairly uptight country. Without debating the rightness or wrongness of it (depending on which side of the multi-faced coin you’re on), in Denmark homosexual couples are allowed to marry, and then expected to received the same rights AND responsibilities that heterosexual couples get for entering into the contract of marriage. In the States, while there are concessions for gay couples to claim ‘significant other’ benefits, they are not allowed to marry, even though they may be as much if nor more committed to their relationship as comparable straight couples.

Another example, nursing mothers are as natural as can be. However I have noticed that there is a bit of a debate, in the States, on whether it’s ‘proper’ for a nursing mother to do what comes naturally wherever she might be. Should she toss a blanket over her shoulder to protect the passers-bys’ delicate sensibilities, or feel comfortable taking care of her child, knowing that others will see it for what it is, feeding time, and not somehow sexualize it. On Sunday, the DH and I went to a Viking Faire with his sisters to see a little piece of Denmark’s storied history played out in a field south of Århus. It was pretty cool, all in all, we had some period food, viewed wares made by skilled craftspeople, and watched some mock battles of various Viking forces. They even had a bunch of Icelandic horses with their humans, demonstrating a few of the skills that make them unique among their own kind. Slightly smaller than standard Stateside horses, a bit shaggier to combat the colder temperatures, they also have a couple of different gaits, particular to their breed. One, demonstrated quite effectively, is called tølt (don’t even ask me how to pronounce that one). When a horse canters, kind of a jog, it’s a bit of a bouncy ride. When the Icelandic horse tølts, it’s a much smoother gait, even though the same speed. Two riders were side by side, one cantering, one tølting, both with glasses of beer. The cantering rider spilled her beer fully by the time she had passed our spot in the field, the tølting rider hadn’t spilled a drop. I thought it was pretty amazing, though my DH kept hoping the horses would toss their riders for some excitement. We have differing views on the merits of horses. 😀

Anyway, all horsing around aside, as we wandered from tent to tent, I noticed a mother calmly breastfeeding her child. No blanket, no thought of embarrassment or discomfort, just popped out her breast, attached the child, and went on with her conversation. In plain view of everyone. And as I thought about it, it really seemed only right. I mean, it’s the best way to feed a child, provides all the nutrients and whatnot needed, offers comfort and cuddling, how can it be anything but normal and natural? Should women be pulling out their breasts wherever they are? If they have a hungry child, why not? Do they have to cover it up? Why? To keep me from being embarrassed at the sight of random breast? Seems silly, to me. I can blush and keep from looking. As a stranger in this particular strange land, who am I to expect the world to conform to my ideas of proper? So I blushed a bit and moved on to the next tent, deciding that if no one else found it odd, I could learn to deal. Of course, then the naked children came out.

As part of the faire was situated on a stretch of beach, access to the ocean was too inviting as the temperature went up during the day. So parents obliged their kids and let them play in the water. A few were in swimsuits, which is pretty standard in the States. They have suits for everyone, from just-baked buns to adults, so no one has to be naked unless you’re a teenager skinny-dipping in a lake somewhere. But I wouldn’t know anything about skinny-dipping, honest… I was a really good girl. I was! Swear! *winks* Moving on… Some of the kids were just in their underthings, as parents hadn’t brought suits. And then there were the nekkid kids… lots of them, buck nekkid, scaring the fishes in the water and the Americhick on the shore. Just like it was the most natural thing in the world. I was quietly scandalized, desperately wishing for a viking vendor that offered little swimsuits to cover them up… even the chainmail maker would have been appreciated at that moment, at least for me. 😀 Heck, strategically draped seaweed would have worked. Did I mention I was a bit of a prude?

Well, all of this nudity of course gave the DH much to laugh about… He is often amused at how much I blush over here. The openness of conversations has a tendency to make me squirm until I can get a handle on myself and come up with decent responses, but most of the time it’s done with red cheeks. Of course, when I catch him doing it on purpose, I can recover a bit faster, but sometimes I manage to stumble right into it without even thinking, which he finds even more hilarious. eesh… His sisters and friends find it quite amusing, too. Sometimes I feel like a bit of an exhibit – come and see the amazing blushing american, say just the right thing and she turns red! Or is that the wrong thing?

So, while I work on on loosening my strict views of acceptable versus unacceptable, I keep the DH in stitches. I’ve always heard that laughter in a marriage was a very good way to keep the homefires burning, or something like that. At this rate, we’re looking at a golden celebration, right about the time they learn how to teleport folks.

  1. where are the pictures to, er, prove this wanton display??

  2. Hey now, this isn’t National Geographic, thank you very much. :p There will be no nekkid pictures of the natives, unless they happen to wander through the scene while I’m taking a shot. I’ll get the horse pictures up as quickly as I can though. lol

  3. horses?? where did it say anything about horses?

  4. Sheesh… wave a bosom in front of you and you’re lost! :p

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