I go to the Y at least four times a week. I am for five, but I too, am just a mere mortal. I have been doing my time on the elliptical, pumping a few weights, and doing a few planks. I hit the pool twice a week and have really enjoyed the work that goes into propelling myself down and back in the lane. Not to break my own arm patting myself on the back, but I’m pretty proud of myself for taking the lessons and being committed to suiting up fairly regularly. Swimming has been really good for me, both physically and mentally.
What hasn’t been good for me, however, is the ladies locker room. I’ve talked about this before, several times, in fact, but it bears repeating.
Given my propensity towards less than stellar body image, it’s a surprise that I’m pretty cavalier when it comes to the locker rooms and showers at the gym. Honestly, I don’t really think about it. I’m there to hose off, dry off and get on with my day. There just happen to be a motley crue of women of varying ethnictities, ages, and body types walking around like they’re in their own private homes. At our last gym, the showers were in fact communal showers. It was a large room, dotted with shower heads. There were two stalls with doors towards the entrance, but the cleanliness of those was debatable. For the most part, ladies came into the shower, showered up and went to get dressed. At my current gym, there are shower stalls, but instead of a door, there is a billowy curtain that you can drag across. In my mind, this curtain is more for decoration because 1) none of them close all the way, 2) anyone walking by — either to or from the pool via the locker room proper — causes a breeze that pushes the curtain onto your showering body or away from its purpose of shielding your showering body.
I definitely exercise some modesty and decorum when it comes to dressing, undressing and entering/exiting the showers. In the communal shower, I never, never, never engaged someone in conversation and if repeatedly chatted up by someone, I looked in their eyes, keeping my answers brief and to the point.
The locker room at my current gym is very reminiscent of dorm life, what with the number of people coming in and out, the hair dryers buzzing in the background and so on. Most ladies wrap a towel around themselves, grab their toilette gear and shower up. There are a few that go totally “bucket nekkid”, and hey, good for them. After inadvertently casting my eyes upon a woman so wrinkled, I wanted to run up to her with a hot iron, I quickly learned to focus my eyes on where the ceiling meets the wall or the wall meets the floor.
The showers are clean, though you will see random wads of hair on the floor and just yesterday, I did see enough hair stuck to the wall of the shower stall, it looked like a trompe l’oeil. It’s definitely not my shower at home, so I’m super careful not to lean up against any walls or curtains. And I absolutely, positively wear some shower shoes. I’ve got a pair of flip flops that I keep in my gym bag for this express purpose. They are gym shower shoes. That’s it. And I wear them every.single.time. No shoes? Not likely, since they stay in the bag, but in the off chance that they weren’t there, well then, sorry, John Q. Public. You’re going have to deal with my funk until I can get home.
In the locker room, there’s tile floor in the “wet areas” (toilets, shower, pool area) and there’s carpet in the “dry areas” (lockers, ingress and egress, hair dryer stations). Both the wet and dry areas are clean, but not so clean that I’d pad around with nothing protecting my feet. *shudder*. Again, I’m in the minority here.
Who knows what kind of germ-fest is going on around there. Sure, you want to wash all parts possible in the shower. So, balance on one flip flopped foot and scrub the other. Switch. Repeat as necessary. What’s the point of scrubbing your feet, and then walking out across the tiles and floor barefoot? You’re just picking that junk right back up (and maybe a few other things, too).
*blech* and don’t even get me started about dropping the soap or, God forbid, your towel on the floor.
Yesterday, several women and I were finishing up our toilette, jostling for space on the benches that run in front of the lockers. The seniors water fitness class had just let out and about a dozen blue-hairs came in various states of undress. I’m pretty sure one woman just left the pool, stripped down in front of the swimsuit water extractor machine to wring out her suit and then strolled on over to her locker. She had her hair twisted up in a towel and save that, she was naked. I know, we’re in the locker room, but she was all Lady Godiva up in that camp and there were too many of us for her to be taking up real estate for that foolishness. She must have felt a little cramped herself, because she pulled a stunt that sent ladies, young and old, careening to the corners of the room.
She opened her locker and as she twisted the lock, she let her bathing suit slip from her fingers. Then she BENT OVER AT THE WAIST (hello, she’s naked) to pick it up.
I am now blind in one eye and I can’t see out the other.