Friday, October 26, 2012

Promised locker room bench rant

After a perfectly nice swim this morning I had a rude shock in the locker room. No, not THAT kind of rude shock, get your minds out of the gutter blogfans.

Actually the swim was better than perfectly nice. This swimming 3x a week seems to prevent the backsliding, though I won't know for sure until Monday. 1K, 18:15, Swimming relaxed and easy, yet strong, on top of my breathing all the way. YAY ME! Then some dolphin kick, and pull, with some backstroke, and a bit of all out 50's. I was happy.

I'm trying to think how many of my readers will have seen the mens locker room at Talisman. Probably a few. it's a long narrow space, half height lockers on either side till you get down to the end, where there is one bank of full height lockers. Then in an alcove to the left, there are a few more full height lockers. I wish there were more full height lockers.

Naturally, these are at a premium, and when I swim in the morning it's about 50/50 getting one. Equally naturally, the bench in front of those lockers is usually pretty busy too. So what do I see this morning after my swim? A fully dressed guy standing there, bag to his left on the bench, standing between an open locker and the bench, one foot (in an outside shoe!) up on the bench, elbows wide reading the paper.

I drop my bag on the bench, and barely have room for my suit, razor, shampoo, googles. "Excuse me" I say, hoping he'd shove down a little, or shove off. This, this, guy, (profanity deleted) just mutters "I'm not done here." and stands there. Taking up room. He can read the damn paper anywhere in the facility, except in the pool or shower, and he chooses to stand in the way of me and two other guys.

The guy on the other side nudges his bag a bit with his own bag, trying not to fall off the end of the bench, as I was, and the jerk pushes it back, and takes up even more space. The third guy watches this as he's trying to move into the locker the guy clearly doesn't need any more. He starts getting changed really near me. I'm trying to make do with a piece of bench barely big enough to sit on to put my shoes on. I'm still feeling pretty good from my swim, so I'm not feeling like getting all verbal on the guy. I've never seen him before so I figure he's a one timer. I hope.

The guy changing catches my eye, which is unusual enough, looks over at the jerk, murmurs "excuse me", whips off his underwear, and then bends over to get his suit. At the same time he "loses his balance" just a little, and eases his butt back against the guy just standing there, running the crack up the guy's pant leg. I'm practically in shock at this point.

First that someone would take up so much bench so ostentatiously. And second that a guy would rub his butt up against another guy's leg. I thought it was great. The jerk snapped his paper shut and practically vaulted over the bench and off to the counter. I saw him a few minutes later taking up space, doing nothing. Somebody is going to say something to him sooner or later.

Guy locker room behaviour has it's certain unwritten rules, and he violated a ton of them. That's a metric ton, by the way.  We tend to be respectful of personal space, while recognizing we all want to get into our locker and get on with whatever is next for our day. That happens at the same time as you take as little notice of the other people as possible.

Most guys wrap a towel around themselves when going from one place to another, but there are exceptions. The old guys, mostly they have no shame. They simply don't care, and I'm almost there. I watched one almost heading out the door butt naked, but someone stopped him. But it's really cute when the high school boys try to be as covered as possible during their shower and while changing. If someone in that locker room is gay, and gets a charge out of seeing other naked men, well, how nice for him.

Personally I think way too many people are hung up about nudity. It's just skin, and almost all of us look better with clothes on. I know of female blog buddies freaked out by other female nudity around them, and it's even worse if they talk while naked. I suspect some guys are freaked out as well. I think with some guys, it's like being naked has also removed the verbal filters, or maybe it's because their wives aren't around.

I blame religion and Hollywood for leaving so many people so messed up about their bodies. Classical Catholic thought was that our bodies and anything to do with them, and doubly so for pleasurable stuff, was evil. Hollywood has played a dance of veils with female bodies for decades, and I've ranted about this before. They've made it so that the only possible context for nudity, or even potential nudity is sexual, which is grossly disrespectful to grown ups. They've made it seem like guys are simpletons who go crazy at the sight of anything more than the slightest hint of cleavage. Well, I have to admit, some are, but they are still mentally or physically teenagers. Many of us can enjoy the view if it happens, while carrying on with the business on the agenda, and not getting all hot and bothered about it.

Locker rooms are an odd space. Our concepts of privacy butt up against the need to change clothes for various activities and cleaning ourselves afterward, with the notion that nobody else should see our "privates". There are cost considerations about the physical space itself, and security considerations, in that totally private spaces make it easier to steal property, or assault someone. That leads to having video camera coverage of the locker room, and the security considerations that the footage is only viewed under certain circumstances.

Come to think of it, the pool is an odd space too. There we are swimming back and forth, or playing water polo with all the brutality inherent, or any other of the water based sports, wearing clothing that doesn't conceal our shapes in any significant way, and sometimes even the coverage of the shapes is somewhat erratic. Yet nobody is allowed to do without that bit of fabric.

In the end I left the locker room, knowing I'd write about it here, but not sure what I'd say about it. I'm still baffled why he thought that was something appropriate to do. Taking up space and being in the way of other people. Shoes on the bench, not that any of my skin ever touches that bench. Not that any of it touches the floor if I can help it. Normally I try not to think much about the locker room, but he triggered a bunch of thoughts. There might be more on this.

Once I got home I got on my bike and had a good 90 minute spin. Not too fast, not too hard, but not too easy either. My legs were feeling kind of tired from the run yesterday, so I didn't want to work them too hard.

What are your locker room adventures? Dare I ask?


  1. First: HAHHAHAHAHAHA. I mean. Um. The butt dude is awesome. Next time you see him, you should totally shake his hand.

    And I've noticed that locker rooms ARE odd. The pretty, thin, young, non-saggy girls try to hide behind the locker doors, and the old ladies seem to air dry while they gossip. Too funny!

    You can tell who it will be with women, too. Whoever is dressed most conservatively, has no fear of standing around naked. The ones with mini-skirts and sheer skin tight tank tops are the most modest. I don't understand!

  2. I never cease to be amazed. I don't think I'd ever seen the butt dude either, but then, without my glasses I can't see jack. I know for a fact that at 25 m, I cannot reliably tell genders apart unless they are wearing something bright that makes it clear. But two lifeguards in shorts and a T shirt? Not a chance.

    Never been in a women's locker room, but your observations line up with mine. If I had the figure that some of those swim kids or water polo players have, I'd be TOTALLY showing it off. More and more I am beginning to understand Digme beach.

  3. I always want to have enough (shall I say it?) balls to be like "butt dude," but I'm only that way in my mind. Betty is more like that, which is why I hand out with her. She says or does what everyone else is thinking.

    I'm glad rude guy didn't ruin your good swim high though!

  4. Yes...i post then I will probably disappear from the blogosphere for the next four weeks. Such is the life of a teacher :-)

  5. Bummer about the crash. Hope it doesn't slow down the mimosa intake. I always think of what I should have said a few minutes later. Well after the moment.


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