I would like to make an announcement. I have been to the gym five times since Saturday. I want a medal. No. I want a fucking parade. And because this involved getting up at zero dark thirty, there should be streamers. And cupcakes. With bacon.
This is a major lifestyle change. The surprising thing is, it’s not the exercise itself that is the biggest adjustment. It’s the juggling of shoes and towels and hair accessories without losing anything that is the challenge. So far, I have misplaced (and recovered) my bra, my water bottle, my phone, and a banana.
The YMCA is pretty nice. It fits my budget and it’s on my way to work. There is free coffee and a hot tub, and if the water pressure is a little low, at least the showers are hot. As far as locker rooms go, it is lacking in a few amenities of some of your higher end clubs. I especially miss the swim suit spinning thing. There is no sauna or towel service. But for $32 a month, I can’t complain.
My love/hate relationship with exercise is a few decades old now, and unfortunately, there has been more hate than love. Still this isn’t my first trip to the locker room, so I figured I had the etiquette down, most of which involves not sweating or dripping in other people’s personal space. I notice this particular locker room is designed to give you lots of private places to change. Each individual shower has a little alcove with a curtain (in addition to the shower curtain) for example, should you wish to change there. The bathroom stalls are big enough to change in, too, and there is a portable privacy curtain you could move about if you like. How nice, I think. Choices. Personally, I think the most convenient (and driest) place to change is directly in front of my locker. And as I am not 12, I have long passed worrying about what other girls in the locker room think about my naked body. Largely because I figured out shortly after puberty that other girls in the locker room mostly have no opinion about my naked body.
Sometimes I am a particularly astute person, and sometimes, well, sometimes particularly before 8 am, I am not. Perhaps you might have not needed 5 whole days to notice this, but this morning as I was toweling myself off in my chosen dressing location, I suddenly realized I had not seen one naked woman in there all week. Not one. Oh God. I am the only naked person in here. I suddenly was desperate to find a fig leaf or something. No one had said anything. Were they looking at me funny? Were they whispering about my cellulite in 8am Yoga? I suddenly realized the very minimum of public dress here is bras, panties, and a towel. They should really tell you this when you sign up.
Oh sure, there is a part of me that wants to fling my towel to the wind and just let everybody deal with my naked flab. I am not ashamed. And body positivity is something I think is pretty important. But I am a newbie here, a guest. I am comfortable being naked in the locker room. I am not comfortable being the only naked person in the locker room. I’m really not sure what to do here. Should I take a stand? Learn to put pantyhose on standing on wet tile? Is it that important that I air dry my boobs? Should I acquiesce to the notion that the normal female body is somehow unacceptable? What are the consequences of being nude here? Are there actual rules somewhere? Will I be reported to the management? Or will I encourage others to reject this ridiculous standard of female purity?
A FB survey of my friends revealed a similar experience at another Y, as well as confirmation of my suspicion that the men’s room featured no such culture of modesty. With graphic descriptions. Thanks, guys. I love my friends.
We all have to learn to choose our battles, and I don’t know that this is one I am willing to fight. At least not until the first time I drop my underwear onto the wet floor next to the shower. Then all bets are off.