hardware wrote:I think this topic is primarily directed at cufflinks, but I think we also have a few other European members who are cut as well. It struck me this morning that Sweden is one of the countries with a strong tradition of nude sauna. While I know it would be considered somewhat rude to pay much attention to other peoples bodies while saunaing, I was thinking that being cut in a traditionally non-circumcising country must at least occasionally spur a remark. Or would it be something that just wouldn't be mentioned even being very unusual? Anyone have any experiences in this regard to share?
Interesting topic indeed!
It works like this: Swedish nakedness comes in many layers and guises. Yes, the sauna culture is huge here, and you'll quite commonly find houses with saunas, and even companies. Hanging out in a sauna with others is something very common here, and I'd say the level of nakedness varies depending on the occasion and the participants.
For example, you will usually see most people wrapping themselves in towels where it counts when using a public spa sauna with strangers, but you always get a good percentage of those who really go stark naked and will scoff at the towel crew. They are often older men, interestingly, who stoutly defend the proper sauna nakedness in a world they view as becoming softer and more feminine than theirs. But you also get younger men who are proud of their bodies, taking the opportunity to be naked where it is perfectly fine. There, I would say you do see circumcised men, and they actually tend to be the ones who show off the most. We view circumcision as something that marks you most likely as a man of the world here - the international world. That could be because you might be a visiting South African or Australian, or because you have an interesting life story. Like my neighbour, who used to be cultural attache to Saudi Arabia for over 15 years and got circumcised because he became so Arabic in the process. Or a friend of mine who fulfilled himself an old, Swedish dream and became an American citizen - changing his penis to become American, as well. We maintain a corny, hollywoody America picture over here that is blissfully removed from post-911 reality. In a Swedish America worshipper mind, the entire continent is Monument Valley and Miami, all cars are Mustangs and Cadillac Eldorado convertibles with fins, and every person they meet is a film star. We really have these people here, and I am quick to admit that I myself have partaken in a rather sumptuous lick of it, too.
And then you get other occasions, like friends going for a swim and sauna. We will discuss each other's bodies quite openly in such situations, and it helps that Swedish men are free from the whole masculinity and macho thing (Geert Hofstede actually identified Sweden as the country with the lowest masculinity index in the entire world, which means technically that Swedish men may act among themselves more like women would elsewhere - very gentle, concerned, and caring). Circumcision is of course extremely common among young people from migration backgrounds, and since such a large percentage of our young people come from cultures like Syria and Afghanistan, circumcised penises are actually considered quite common among the young. Nobody would ever say anything negative about it. Which is of course a Swedish thing in itself - I suppose in Britain, having no humour means you're basically dead to everybody else, and in Sweden, saying something negative (even if there was a reason) will take that place. The coffee was cold? The food half frozen? Oh, it was fine, it was fine... look, the king!
And then you have family nudity, which is not even worth mentioning, because it's so normal. When you use your home sauna, of course you go down there in the nude, and whoever meets you in the hallway may not even acknowledge you.
I have never been chatted up about my penis, but it is true that Swedes will expect someone who looks and speaks Swedish and is circumcised to be probably interesting to talk to, and they will. It usually goes like, "so... you been living in the US then...?"