Put your clothes on already! Lea Goldman gets exercised about public displays of undress in the locker room.That's right... she's offended by people getting naked in a locker room! We figured there had to be more to the story than just nudity... Apparently we were right. It's not just nudity that bothers Ms. Goldman, but shameless nudity... because everyone know nudity should be shameful.
I nearly lost consciousness at the gym once. It was actually in the faux-teak and terra-cotta-tiled "ladies" lounge of an upscale health club a few blocks from my apartment. I'd decided to shave a few minutes off my morning routine by prepping for work at the gym instead of sprinting home right after Spin class. Big mistake. As I scampered from the shower to my locker, clutching a threadbare gym-issued towel barely wide enough to cover me, I caught sight of a doughy, naked woman, her nipples the size of salami slices, holding aloft a compacct as she carefully plucked her eyebrows. I was so distracted by her brazen nudity -- by the boobs, folds, moles, and thatch -- that I walked right into an open locker door, prompting the kind of woozy spell that, had I been a cartoon character, would have been accompanied by chirping birds.Wow. Yep, she was so offended by the sight of a woman naked in the locker room that she almost injured herself. (Imagine what would happen if she went to a nude beach - she'd probably have a coronary!) I also noticed that she took care to point out just how unattractive this woman was: doughy... nipples like salami slices... folds... moles... because the sight of an unattractive woman is all the more offensive than that of a thin, "sexy" woman? I mean, how dare these women take off their clothes in... a locker room... designed for showering and changing clothes... um... okay...
[...] the rules of engagement are simple: Get in, do the deed, then get the hell out. Anyone who's ever spied me wriggling into spandex while still clad in workwear can attest to my mastery of the discreet quick-change. On the rare occasion I've been waylaid - fumbling with a new lock, checking my BlackBerry for an important message - I've always made sure I was securely wrapped in a towel or, at the very least, wearing what my old-school Jewish mother still refers to as "foundation garments."
Locker-room peacocks would, no doubt, counter that I'm insecure about my body, that such prudishness is the telltale mark of a chubster. True, I'm no size 4, and I haven't entirely made peace with my fullish figure [...]
But my discomfort in the locker room runs way deeper than mere self-consciousness. The fact is, at age 32, I still find the bare female form pretty foreign. I wasn't raised in one of those "naked homes," where, I imagine, girls pranced around braless and changed with their doors open. My God-fearing, disciplinarian parents valued modesty in their three daughters and raised us to be reserved young ladies who'd sooner wait in an interminable line for a privatefitting room than doff our clothes in a communal one. I didn't even own a bikini until I was 30 [...] It's no wonder, then, that I treat full frontal -- be it in movies or magazines or at the gym -- with the same wonder-tinged-with-alarm that kids reserver for a solar eclipse: Stare too long and risk going blind.
If she can't handle looking at naked women, she has two choices: don't go where there are naked women (you know, like a locker room) or just don't look. If she's so offended by naked bodies, then don't stare at them like they're a solar eclipse. Just turn away. You can't be both offended by it and obsessed with it simultaneously.
My gym doesn't expressly prohibit bare-ass grandstanding in the locker room -- most don't, apparently. (A sign inside Crunch Fitness locker rooms cheekily warns its members: "Don't forget to put clothes on before exiting.") It's an implicit courtesy, like wiping down a sweaty eliptical or putting the hand weights back on the rack. An executive at one national chain told me he hasn't heard a single complaint on the matter.
These days, I change into my workout gear in the handicap stall of my office bathroom before class, then race home afterward, crimson-faced and still dripping with sweat, to shower. The towels are much plusher at my place, I rationalize, and there's no danger of hydroplaning in my flip-flops on a wet floor. The only gratuitous nudity is my own, and my husband's only complaint is that there's not more of it.