Open Letter to the Guys in the Locker Room at my Gym
Dear Guys in the Locker Room at my Gym:
Look, I’m just going to come out and say it: what is with all this nudity? Seriously, guys. Is this really necessary? Come on now. Can’t you wrap a towel around your waist or something? We don’t need to be walking around here naked, do we? Really? Guys?
Okay, I realize it’s a locker room, and locker rooms are for changing clothes and taking showers and all that. I get that. I really do. We’ve all just had a good, hard workout, pumping iron and feeling the burn and all that stuff, and now we need to get out of those sweaty clothes and get washed up. I fully support that. And there’s a moderate amount of nakedness that should reasonably accompany these activities, I know. I realize that, too. But don’t you think the level of nakedness we’ve reached here is a little… extreme? Listen, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that maybe some of us are taking “naked time” a little too far. Look at me: I’m going to take a shower too, but you’ll notice that I have my towel wrapped tightly around my waist. It’s a long walk from my locker to the shower stalls, so I even left my boxers on in case my towel slips or something. It’s a little trick I’ve come up with myself. Feel free to use it yourself if you feel so inclined. My guess is that you won’t feel so inclined, however. It’s a long walk to the showers from your locker, too, but I couldn’t help noticing that you don’t seem to have any qualms about parading your junk around for everyone to see.
I know I keep coming back to the towel, but it’s just that they give you a towel when you walk in the door here. Everyone has one. Don’t try to act like you don’t have a towel, because I know you do. I’ve noticed it slung over your shoulder as you strut to the showers. You know why I’ve noticed your towel? Because if I look at your towel it means I’m not looking at your package, which is currently swinging in the breeze without a care in the world. See, I’d like to think there’s an unwritten rule of locker room etiquette that says, “Don’t look at my business and I won’t look at yours.” I’m trying my best to follow that rule, and in fact I’m even going so far as to help you out with your end of the bargain by covering my business up. But you don’t seem to have any interest in returning the favor. No, it seems your business is open to the public. Wide open.
It’s not like this is the women’s locker room or anything. I’ve never been in the women’s locker room, actually, but my understanding is that it’s a bastion of free and open nudity. The ladies strip down to nothing but their big hairdos and stilettos and oil each other up before hitting the showers. Okay, I realize that’s probably not an entirely accurate description of the women’s locker room, but that’s the image that’s still seared into my brain from that glorious, eye-opening night when I was eleven years old and snuck down to the family room to watch USA Up All Night while the babysitter was on the phone with her boyfriend. I haven’t updated my sixth-grade perception of the women’s locker room for entirely selfish reasons, but I imagine in real life they’re probably not wearing high heels. It’s not practical showering attire. But still, I’m not going to rub any oil on you, so don’t even ask.
Call me old fashioned, but my personal rule is this: you have to know me really really well before you get to see me naked. You know what I mean? Like, we have to be really, really close. We have to be tight. I don’t show my man parts to just anyone.
Okay, actually, let me amend that: we have to be really tight OR you have to have been at the homecoming game my senior year of high school when I got drunk for the first time in my life and Bobby Green dared me to streak the field. So unless you were cheering for the Fighting Bulldogs in the fall of ’98 or unless we’re really really close, you will not be seeing me naked, and I expect the same in return.
Oooh, or unless you’re Jenny Summerhill. I was never tight with Jenny; in fact, I hated her. Technically she didn’t see me naked, but she was holding the rope in gym the day Bobby Green bet me $20 that I wouldn’t be able to climb to the top and ring the bell. I realized about half-way up that I was wearing boxers and that Jenny could see up my shorts, but I really couldn’t stop and climb down because I’d have to give up lunch for a week if I lost the bet with Bobby, and Bobby’s parents were rich. He could afford it. It took me half the gym period because I was so afraid of heights, but eventually I made it to the top and rung the bell. So although Jenny didn’t actually see me naked, she did get a good long look at all the important bits. She also told everyone she knew—including Lisa Bloomberg, who I had a huge crush on at the time—that she “saw everything” and that “there wasn’t much to look at.” Direct fucking quote. That’s part of the reason why I hated Jenny Summerhill.
Actually, now that I’m thinking about it, I guess all the guys in my fraternity have seen me naked, too. And, looking back on those heady days of college with a more objective and sober eye, it occurs to me that we probably could have performed some of those secret chapter rituals with some more clothes on. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I have a healthy liberal attitude about homosexuality; I understand it’s not a “lifestyle choice” and I hate it when ignorant assholes use the word “gay” to describe movies they didn’t like. But seriously, now that I think about it, that was some gay ass shit we had going on in that fraternity.
Where was I? Oh yeah. You taking your puppies out for a walk. Listen, I’m not an unreasonable guy. I like to escape from the choking confines of cotton and polyester blends as much as the next fella. And I understand that some of you are very well endowed and you never really get a chance to show that off. It's not fair, I know. I feel for you. I imagine it’s like winning a major award but not being able to tell any of your friends or family about it. If I had to keep my Pulitzer hidden under a layer of clothing at all times, I might take an extra second to examine it in the mirror as I swaggered naked to the showers, too. So although I don’t approve, I can see where you’re coming from.
But then there are those of you who aren’t shooting with a very powerful caliber, if you get my drift. You’re packing heat, sure, but, to borrow a phrase from Jenny Summerhill, it’s not much to look at. I really don’t get you guys. Where do you think you are? This is not your home bathroom. Didn’t you notice all of us other guys here? Listen, I like to shave and brush my teeth when I’m naked, too, but there’s a time and a place for everything. Have you ever seen a crazy guy jacking off on a bus? It’s not like there’s anything wrong with a healthy adult male experiencing pleasure at his own hand, but not when there’s an audience. You see what I’m saying?
Listen, guys, today is Tuesday, so that means I’ll be dropping by the gym after work to get some time in on the stationary bike. When I get back to the locker room, I hope to see nary an errant penis, you understand? Clothe thy naked villainy. In the meantime, I’ll ask the front desk if they can supply us with some extra towels down here.
Apparently you guys keep losing yours.