08 October 2008

Locker Room Etiquette

We've all been here before:  After a workout, you're trying to wrestle out of a sweaty sports-bra or swimsuit and doing your best to keep the girly parts covered, when you turn around, there she is--The Naked Woman.  

As someone who has spent a vast amount of hours in women's locker rooms, most of them before the age of 18, I have often found myself wondering what the proper etiquette is for changing in a locker room.  Should you wiggle yourself into a stall, writhing in and out of your clothing while trying not to drop you clean underpants in the toilet?  Note:  if you're in a locker room with few stalls, this will also garner some pretty evil glares from the ladies who just want to go potty but were forced to wait on you for over five minutes.  Or is it better to do some version of the towel-t-shirt swap while staying as physically close to your locker as possible?  I always end up flashing my derriere at someone anyway, but this is generally the one I try.  I ust say, I've got it down to an art at this point.  But then...we have the naked ladies who just put it all out there.  

Today, I had just finished drying my hair in the bathroom portion of the locker room, and when I walked back to the changing/locker area, there were not one but TWO naked ladies.  One was slathering on lotion, and the other was brushing her hair.  Ok...please tell me WHY you cannot do those things AFTER you at least put on your undies and bra?  I'm no prude, and I prance around all day in my undies...in the privacy of my own home.  However, I grew up in a modest-enough house to expect NOT to see some random woman's who-ha in the middle of the day.  To top it off, these 2 ladies in particular continued their entire getting-ready routine (lotion, hair-fixing, make-up) sans any type of garment.  Totally comfortable and completely oblivious. 

Don't get me wrong, you have the right to be comfortable.  If I could get away with it, I'd wear my dirty, ugly, old-as-hell, size XL Vandy sweatpants to work every day.  And I understand that putting on clothes after a locker-room shower is miserable (still sweating, etc). But there is also something to be said for respecting the comfort of those around you.  If you are doing the naked-walk all over the locker room, I feel like I'm being ambushed--don't look over there!  Shit, she moved, don't look left!  Ahh!  

Maybe I just have some random hang-up or eerily repressed feelings.  Am I just being a prude?Maybe I need to join the sexual revolution Part Deux.   So please tell me, what's a girl to do post-workout?  I'd love to hear your thoughts and opinions!


Little Bagel said...

First things first: could your new look BE any cuter?!?!?

I like to think I am not so prude as to blush or be embarrassed to see the Naked Woman in my own gym, but I know better. My solution? Plausible Deniability. I run home after working out and shower there. That way, I can maintain "if I had to look at the Naked Woman, I'm sure I would be totally fine with it." ;)

Lauren said...

Ah yes, the naked people....always a conundrum. I can't help but think of the Sex and the City episode--"She might still live in a naked house."

It is a bit like an ambush. "AH! It's another one! Ah, don't look, boobies on the right!" I'm not a fan. I don't think it's prudish to not want to see someone else's bits and pieces on the way out of the gym. As Jerry Seinfeld said, there's good naked and there's bad naked.

I'm the stand next to the locker and do it as quickly and discretely as possible type. I'm not uncomfortable with my body, but I figure others may not be thrilled with seeing my tatas.

Whenever possible, I change at home...just saves all the locker room drama!

Anonymous said...

love the blog makeover :)

Do like me... and drive home sweaty and shower at home! It seems like the grosser the body, the more likely they are to be in a prolonged state of nudity.

Katie said...

sigh. i generally prefer to shower at home, but my wednesday routine includes swimming before class at the pool that is literally right next to the law school, and my house is 5+ miles away. i am trying to be more green and save time! apparently, that means i have to see boobies and who-has once a week...

legaleagle2009 said...

I think you have the best approach...I mean, if you happen to see something while someone is trying to be discrete...that's one thing, I don't mind that...its like you said, the full-out I don't care if you have no imagination about what's under here people that bother me!

Anyway...LOVE LOVE LOVE the new look!!

sid said...

I'm with you on this one. I don't want to see anyone's parts and I don't want to constantly have to avert my eyes. But maybe we're the ones with the problem?

claire said...

This reminds me of when I was frequenting the Jewish community center gym locker room. It always seemed to me that the older and larger the ladies were, the less shy they were about being completely naked while drying their hair, putting on makeup, or just standing around talking! I think it's just one of those things that might not ever change, unfortunately!

heather said...

I love your new blog layout! So ritzy-boho-anthropologie! :)

I once belonged to one of those "Executive Gyms" that was attached to my office building, and gave my firm special rates. It was pretty common for a wide spectrum of professionals and paraprofessionals from my office to take in lunchtime spinning, yoga or kickboxing together. I, like you, have always been pretty sqeuamish about locker room privacy, despite the fact that I have pretty much lived in locker rooms since I was an eight year-old cheerleader. I was totally not prepared for a very conservative pitbull of a senior partner to act totally natural as she stripped bare-assed naked and changed into her running clothes while talking to me about an assignment I was doing for her. I probably turned fifty kinds of beet red. So much for professional decorum.

So there you go -- my locker room squeamishness mainly applies to colleagues. Oh, and old boobs. I don't want to see those.

R. has a similar rant re: men's room etiquette that I'm attempting to revise for a post in my etiquette blog if I can find a way to make it less scattalogical and, well, anatomical. ;)


Becca said...

hmmm...i, too, change in and out of my swimsuit in as discretely and quickly as possible. i don't want to be "that naked lady." when i have to go to school from the pool, i put on panties and bra BEFORE applying lotion. i then put on full on clothes - then hair and make up.

i am all for nudity, and don't want to hold anyone one down - but damn. i am amazed at the need to do one's hair and makeup and hold long conversations in the buff. i don't mind getting totally naked to quickly change... but i agree that one should try to be respectful. i mean, you should expect to see naked ladies in the locker room, but should not have to see them seemingly idly naked for no other reason other than the fact they can be. i wonder what the psychology behind that is? i think it might be "here i am world - nude in all my pasty and whatever glory!" good for you honey, now get dressed.