Sunday, April 10, 2016

My First Public Exposure

Ryan Gosling and Steve Carell in the infamous scene from their movie "Crazy, Stupid Love."

A long time ago, a young Ron Tipton joined a stamp club.  

The year was 1953.  

I was an innocent (yes, at one time I was "innocent") 12 years of age.

It was my first year in high school.  Junior High to be exact.  I think in these politically correct days "Junior High" is called "Middle School", lest we traumatize young 12 year old minds that they are "less" than their senior high school classmates.

Oh how well I remember my traumatization of entering high school.  My biggest fears were gym and taking showers NAKED.  Yes folks, I was scared shitless.  But I'll always remember what my gym teacher, Mr. White, told us during our first gym class (before the showers).  He said (and I am paraphrasing here):

"I know a lot of you are afraid to take showers with the other boys.  Well, I'll tell you right now they all LOOK ALIKE."  

And of course we all knew what he meant by "they."  He's talking about that male anatomy appendage, the penis.  

Folks, going from elementary school (grades one through six) to high school was a major life change for me and many other 12 year old boys.  Not only were we on the threshold of our teenage years, we were literally losing a major part of our innocence. 

Check out the photo in the header of this blog.  I am on the far right (with my name over my head), the boy with the rolled up jeans.  Back in those days I was growing in leaps and bounds, thus my Mother brought me "expandable" jeans.  By the way, the photo I took from my former classmate and long time friend Larry ("Lar") Meredith.  "War" is third from the left in the back with a circle over his head "Lem".


1953-54 Stamp Club Downingtown High School

So back to my first big "exposure."  After Mr. White had his "talk" with his bunch of Nellie Boys, we had our gym period class.  Don't ask me what we did, I was too preoccupied about the Big Moment.  That "Big Moment" was after our physical activity and we all ran back to the funky smelling gym to take our showers. 

Nervously, I went to my gym basket where we had stashed our school clothes after we changed into gym shorts. By the way, those white gym shorts were very cute.  I guess the kids these days wear the ultra silky and baggy NBA type "shorts."  Not sexy at all. 

I pulled off my white T-shirt and white shorts (all white in those days folks) and my white socks, not daring to look around at me.  Then I shakily walked towards the sounds of the rushing shower water pounding on the funky tiles of the HUGE shower room.  No individual stalls here folks like I heard they had in the girls showers.

Well, my first impression was that I was overwhelmed by all the nakedness.  With two younger brothers and a father who like to lounge around the house in his sweaty tank top and greasy gray (formerly white) jockey short (no "tightie whitie for Pop here folks), I was no stranger to seeing a penis other than mine.  But to see so many all at once.  OVERWHELMING. 

And you know something folks?  Mr. White was wrong.  They don't all look alike.  In fact, everyone was different.  No two were the same. Penises and fingerprints, all different. Mr. White lied.  I know, I looked.  And looked. In fact, for the next six years I looked. 

Shocked?  Well, don't be.  Just imagine if you were a young heterosexual 12 year old and you were taking showers with the opposite sex, wouldn't you do some ogling too? Sure you would.   I'm telling you folks, this was one time being a homosexual where I had an advantage.  Nice.

By the way, I started this blog posting about my stamp club membership.  I was reminded of that occasion by the picture my friend Lar had posted on his blog of our stamp club membership.  Maybe I'll do a posting about that subject next time.  

17 comments:

  1. Ron,

    Did it strike you how little kid like we looked? Man! I tried to finesse my way through those showers, generally stalling around as long as I could hoping everybody else would be finished and out of there before I dashed down through the big room to that shower tunnel. I dreaded every gym day that came around. I think I was more concerned with how skinny I was than anything else, though and I didn't look around. I pretty much kept my eyes down.

    Lar

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    Replies
    1. Lar,
      My fear of being naked around other members of my own sex quickly disappeared the first time I showered with others. However, I still have a life long "pee shy" condition. I can't explain it but I discovered some years ago I'm not the only male who has this condition. If I'm standing at a public urinal and another person is standing at the urinal next to me, I cannot pee, no matter how bad I have to go. Life is interesting isn't it?
      Ron

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    2. Ron,

      If you read back a few of my recent postings you will see I share this as well and I talk about my ability as a kid to hold it in rather than use public restroom. I still don't like public restrooms, but unfortunately I have lost some of my super powers since I was a kid.

      Lar

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    3. Lar,
      My apologies but I am so far behind on my blog reading. I have several favorite bloggers; yours, Jon's and Dr. Spo's and a few others. Just not enough hours in the day. And I'm retired!
      Ron

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  2. After seeing a bunch of naked young guys, it's difficult to concentrate on stamps.

    Great post, Ron, and it sure brings back lots of memories. I was only eleven when I started Junior High - talk about being a baby in the showers!! I didn't hit puberty until I was thirteen. Unfortunately, I was near-sighted and never wore my glasses......so all those naked guys were basically a blur.

    After all these years I can still smell that funky gym and the steamy showers.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jon,
      Fortunately, my eyes were very good. I didn't become near sighted until I was 18 years old and in the Army. I remember the exact time I realized that I couldn't see at a distance. I'll write about it in a future blog post.
      I too can remember that "funky gym and the steamy showers" which, somehow, took away from the sexiness of what should have been a smorgasbord of visual delights.
      Ron

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  3. My Glenn collects stamps. In recent years he has done less collecting. He says the stamps aren't just as nice a they once were, and he can't stand the peal and stick stamps.

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    Replies
    1. Mike,
      Glenn is right, stamps aren't as nice as they used to me. The old fashion stamps were the best.
      Ron

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  4. Gym class flashbacks, I try to avoid that

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    Replies
    1. David,
      Remember when they used to choose up sides for games? Skins and shirts? I was always skins which I hated because I was so skinny. And then there was the time no one choose me! Traumatic!
      Ron

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  5. 1953 was an excellent year it seems.

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    1. "Tommy",
      I have nothing but fond memories of the Fifties. I feel very fortunate to have grown up in those "innocent" years when the only thing we had to worry about was an H-bomb being dropped on us (hiding under our school desks wasn't going to protect us, even my ten year old mind knew that) and boredom from the Eisenhower presidency.
      Ron

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  6. Love this Ron! I felt the same way in high school, taking showers with the rest of the football team. I couldn't stop ogling!! I think it was then I realized I might not be straight.

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    Replies
    1. James,
      Taking those communal showers was indeed a special treat. And I'm sure I wasn't the only closeted gay boy who enjoyed those sights.
      Ron

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  7. Body shame and feeling bad compared to others starts early doesn't it.

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    Replies
    1. Dr. Spo,
      It's a shame how our culture teaches us form an early age to be ashamed of our bodies.
      Ron

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    2. Today I received this article; I thought I would pass it on to you.
      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/male-body-image_us_55cb5fd2e4b0923c12bec79a

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