I See… Naked People!

Enter high pitched eerie music. Lights dim, and the sound of a small rodent scurries across the floor. Shadows abound, and a radiator steams along a long narrow hall. From an open door, a naked foot appears into view. The naked foot leads to a naked thigh, which is leading to a saggy naked ass entering the room. Now, for the money shot - I get a full frontal assault from a man who's spent way too much time sitting behind a desk - his wrinkles and sagginess evidence of a desk jockey.

Ok, minus the dramatic music, and shadows from my mind, and you get to see what I see. I don't see just one naked banker, I see a naked banker, a naked insurance guy, a naked blue-collar guy, a naked black guy, a naked white, they come in all shapes and sizes (and wrinkles). And I see them everyday!

It's polite not to stare, not that I'd want to - if I have hopes of retaining what's left of my appetite for the day. I'm at the Chattanooga YMCA, today I finish my weights, and then hit the lockers - where inevitably I'm surrounded by old wrinkled butts. They come from every corner, they're there everyday. Some of them in a hurry, and some of them loitering, talking about last nights game, one leg on the bench. Talking. Dangling. Talking and Dangling.

It's the most normal thing in the world. That's relative. Culture is relative. As much as I darn near come close induced vomiting, I walk into the lockers, it's the most normal thing in the world to Westerners. One's standing in front of the sink, running the hand air dryer through his hair - and of course, when he's done with his hair, he will use the dryer in places that should have a leaf or something.., anything covering them. Another one's toweling himself off.., and that towel becomes leg floss - the same towel that gets washed and handed out to everyone. I get off the couch, where I sat to put my shoes on, a wrinkly butt takes my place, and sits where I sat - of course buck naked.

To me this "naked-old-men-dance, is something I have to put up with, unless I want to return to work smelling like an armpit, but this "cultural" norm seems very foreign - no matter how many times I see it. Of course, every culture has it's idiosyncrasies, and rituals that are considered strange from others perspectives. European women don't shave their armpits, showering is optional in some cultures - and that's just the "nice" stuff, it gets a lot worse - Google "weird cultures", it'll keep you busy for a while.

Next time you're in a bank, and an old guy approaches you to help you with your mortgage application - picture him dripping wet and naked - now go have your lunch, you've just shared my midday moment of Zen.

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About Naeem Randhawa

Naeem Randhawa is a filmmaker, travel writer, and IT project manager, living in Dallas with his wife and baby boy. He has been writing about travel for over 12 years, and made his film directorial debut last year, with a film about fasting called “American Ramadan.” Having traveled almost every state in the US, Canada, as well as international destinations, his travel writings cover everything from adventure trails across White Sands in New Mexico, exclusive resorts in Quebec, Baja trekking in Mexico, to the many travel destinations in the US. He is currently developing a diversity based travel show, to premiere later this year. A self-starter, he taught himself filmmaking, to add a voice in countering the current media bias and void of Muslim representation in mainstream media. Last year, the film was picked up and broadcast by Link TV, Geo TV, Bridges TV, as well as international networks. This year the documentary will air across 50 PBS stations this year, and reach over 70 million TV US homes. He has also shot, and produced over 70 field television reports for a national satellite network, reporting on the Muslim community locally in Dallas, and at large. Highlights include coverage of on-the-ground reporting from New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina, and many others. He is currently working on research for his next documentary projects, about Hajj, Muslims in the US Army, Faith conversion stories, and a PSA for a national organization. His media website can be viewed here at JustSayGoFILMS.com.

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