Showering Over Amsterdam

Many of the New York bathrooms I’ve seen have windows in the shower.

The first time I saw one at a friend’s place, I was horrified: “Why do you have a window in your shower??? What if someone sees you??” They reassured me no one could peep in, that the windows were shaded, and it was a very standard urban design. Maybe it’s for ventilation purposes, as many apartments are super small and the bathrooms would be stuffy without a way to release steam. But still, does it need to be right where you stand to bathe?

And though I vowed I’d never actually shower in front of Manhattan, when I found my current apartment, the only downfall was the powder room window placement. My new roommates and spacious living area outweighed my anxiety about getting naked in front of tinted glass.

Nevertheless, the first time I showered  over Amsterdam, I tiptoed into the tub, covering up my privates awkwardly and attempted to peer out the window, convinced the people walking below were looking straight up at my bareness. The water hitting my back and the glass starting to perspire, I cautiously dropped my hands and listened intently, certain someone would call up something, though I was seven stories up.

Moving slowly, as not to get caught for indecent public exposure, I lathered my hair and waited to be exposed. Minutes later, when the window was completely fogged up and the bathroom felt like a warm haze, I grew comfortable. I started showering as I normally do. I relaxed. I hummed a little tune. And once I turned the water off, stepped out to the marble floor and wrapped myself in a towel, I decided being a bathing beauty before the world wasn’t so bad. Especially since the world didn’t know I was naked above them.

I get asked a lot about displaying my personal life for the web. Even more so, readers want to know what it’s like to dish on men and how they respond: “How does Mr. Possibility handle being written about? Doesn’t it change the dynamic between you?” When freely giving intimate details about my life, is anything off the record when I meet strangers? I once ran into a fan at an event and she casually inquired about something I had penned a few weeks back. Though I remember writing it, felt fine discussing it online, and enjoyed the comments it gained, being quizzed about it in person felt vastly different.

I almost felt invaded. But writing a blog about dating, love, and sex, especially when it’s about whom you’re dating, who you love, and who you’re having sex with, is a lot like showering over Amsterdam in front of a window – it is strange at first.

You’re not exactly sure what will go over well and what will be a little too much. You hesitate answering questions or revealing too many specifics, for fear you’ll be judged or you’ll come across as “crazy,” “obsessive,” “slutty,” or “immature” – all things, for the record, I’ve been called because of this blog. But I’m not crazy, overly obsessive, or immature, and if enjoying sex makes me slutty, then be it (but if you knew my number, you couldn’t label me that, that’s for sure). Writing this blog feels like being emotionally naked day-after-day, with each step and each post, each story I divulge.

But it gets easier. I’ve started to relax. I’ve grown accustomed to my friends not needing to catch up with me when we haven’t seen each other for a while or hearing the words, “I know, I read it on your blog!” I’ve accepted that Mr. Possibility doesn’t care to read very often anymore, since he was literally there for most of the experiences lately. I’ve learned to stop covering up my insecurities, to stop beating around the bush and be direct. To admit my weakness and the places where I feel the most vulnerable.

I’m not completely peaceful showering my personal experiences for the tangled online web, but I try to keep in mind that no matter how steamy it gets, the mist will eventually clear. The heat will die down and the next day will be a clear slate, a defogged window into the life I decide to share. I remember that privacy still remains because the street and the world can’t get a glimpse in unless I open the shade or click “publish.”

And the thing about public exposure, where it is out of your own free will or when it takes you by surprise, if you can find your footing and realize that even if you slip, even if strangers shout things at you that aren’t kind or if you happen to show a little too much – there’s something enticing about it. Because when you disclose yourself fully and unprotected, you are forced to accept yourself for who you are.

After all, once everything is out there in the open and available in archives, there’s no going back. Nor would you want to, coming clean…feels good.