Over dinner the rest of the group asked whether we had experienced the nekkid room. We hadn't. The nekkid room was one of those Swiss steam rooms that require you to be completely stark nekkid. You can't even wrap yourself in a towel.
They even had a sign up displaying a man in a towel with a big red X. And just to make sure, another sign said "No Towels".
The real reason we hadn't yet visited the steam room was me. Scared stiff. Probably due to the uncertainty, the fear of the unfamiliar, and a complete ignorance of nekkid room etiquette.
Take eye contact for example. Is it expected, permitted, or forbidden? Not that I wanted to make eye contact in the nekkid room, I'll have you know, but it would still be helpful to know. And what if there are others in there when you enter? Should you keep your mouth shut, enter with your eyes down, and then stoically stare at the wall pretending you are completely on your own?
Or should you grunt a hello and knock out some pleasantries about the weather? The last thing you want is an awkward conversation with a nekkid stranger. Well, no, I guess the last thing you want is sudden and chronic diarrhoea, but I'll leave that one alone.
It could just be me, but I also worry that the extra nervousness brought on by being nekkid could lead to embarrassing blunders. Imagine it, you enter a pre-populated nekkid room and then slip over. Or you enter, but there's no seating space round the edge. Do you stand awkwardly in your nekkidness in the centre of the room and ask people to squeeze up (um...nice...), or do you turn round and leave?
Anyway, I embraced my fear and the next day we paid the nekkid room a visit. There was a couple already in there, nekkid as babies. The bloke grunted a hello, made a couple of observations about the weather, and then quietened down.
Phew, the eye contact and greeting questions were answered for me. I stared stoically at the wall...
The next day while having a swim we saw a couple head to the steam room (the outer door was poolside). A few minutes later we saw the entire American ski team head in to join them.
Now that must have been awkward. I don't imagine nekkid room etiquette knows quite what to do with that.