Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 9
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Gynosperm means naked seed

I’m not a huge plant person, even though I’m a biology major. There is one thing I remember quite clearly from my intro to biology course, however: gymnosperm means naked seed.

The term “gymnosperm” comes from the Greek word for “naked seeds.” The word “gymnasium” also derives from the same root, gymnos. In ancient Greece, the gymnasium was a training place for athletes for public games. Athletes competed BUCK NAKED “to encourage aesthetic appreciation of the male body and [to pay] tribute to the gods” (source: Wikipedia). 

Why am I talking about naked people?

Well, after about a month off from the gym and cushioning my midsection with the wonderful bread and pastries found in Denmark, I decided it was time to get blood pumping through my veins again. Some mindless cardio here and there, and of course weight lifting so I can more swiftly lift my fork from plate to mouth. I decided on a gym called Fitness World, mostly because it has locations in the city and where I live, Rødovre. After getting lost with my less-than-accurate map, I found the city location-on top of a bar. OK, this seems strange but a lot of businesses are stacked on top of each other to (a) keep Danes healthy by making them walk up 5 flights of stairs to get anywhere important (with the exception of bakeries, which are kept on the bottom floor for maximal convenience), and (b) save space.

I signed up using my DIS discount –– 999 kroners for 4 months –– and wandered off to find the changing rooms. The guy behind the counter wasn’t much help so I didn’t even bother asking anyone else. Here were my options: herreomklædningsrummet or damesomklædningsrummet (not really, I just googled “men’s locker room in Danish” but it was something similar). I figured herre=similar to Herr in German=men, and dames=damsel=women. With no one around to go in and out and confirm my suspicions, I just went for the ladies room.

Low and behold, there was no one in there (which was both a blessing and curse). I unpacked all my stuff from my backpack, and began undressing, when all of a sudden a man walks in. I’m thinking, OH MY GOSH I TOTALLY WENT INTO THE WRONG LOCKER ROOM and begin scrambling to yank on my workout pants, which were only on one leg, and scramble for my bra, which had mysteriously disappeared into my pile of clothing. He looks in my direction, and continues on walking like it’s the most natural thing in the world to be a 50-something year old man in a small locker room alone with a mostly naked 20-something female. Yikes.

He just waved around some paper towels and said something in Danish, which I did not understand because (a) the blood was pulsing too loudly in my ears, and (b) I do not understand Danish. I’m pretty sure that little episode got my heart rate elevated more than my workout did.

Anyway, here I am in Denmark, being a naked seed. Not literally, of course, but the entire concept of stripping everything comfortable and familiar (friends, family, home) and being carried by the wind (or an airplane that loses your luggage along the way) is comparable to my gymnosperm compadres. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing-I think it’s important to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. But I’m looking forward to putting my roots down even more as time passes.


For more frequent traveling shenanigans, follow my personal blog at rachaelkeiko.wordpress.com.

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