As the New Year's Eve celebrations raged on, my friend Mark remarked that all the necessary elements for the perfect party were clearly evident. Twenty friends who have known each other for around three decades reunited in the UK, hot roast beef and horseradish sarnies, plenty of liquid refreshment, Singstar, Guitar Hero and.....a naked German girl in the jacuzzi!
Finje was one of three children at the party. The eldest, Thomas, a delightful young chap of 12, had, in anticipation of the hot tub, come prepared with swimming trunks. After holding out as long as he could, at around 10pm he disappeared upstairs to change. Lowering himself into the hot bubbles he asked a clearly curious Finje if she had brought a swimming costume with her.
My daughter, coming up with no logical reason why her lack of bathing attire should hinder her fun and with delightfully uninhibited abandon, stripped off naked and clambered in. Thomas, initially startled and mortified in equal measure, eventually decided upon fixing his gaze upon the temperature gauge.
Finje, blissfully oblivious of her bathing partner's uneasiness, thrashed around, thoroughly enjoying herself in the warm bubbles.
Not only oblivious to any embarrassment she might be causing her pre-pubescent friend, Finje was also unaware of the conversational consequences of her actions afoot in the kitchen. Not a single person was shocked or bothered by my daughter's actions, indeed it was causing no end of amusement. What fascinated me was the fact that it was a point of discussion at all. In Germany, the jacuzzi would more than likely have been occupied not only by naked kids, but their parents as well.
I live in a country where prudishness, concerning the human form, is seldom encountered. It is quite commonplace to see Germans buff naked, sunning themselves in public parks and on beaches. My daughter is being brought up to understand that our bodies, in all their varying shapes and forms are never anything to be ashamed of. And, whilst she is reaching the age where curiosity takes a hold, she is simply that, curious. Not giggly or sheepish, just genuinely interested.
When quizzed about what she enjoyed most about the evening a couple of days later, Finje was apparently most impressed about the fact that she was, by way of exception, allowed to drink fizzy pop.
I suspect Thomas has altogether different memories!