Editor’s Pick
APRIL 7, 2009 10:33AM

Open Letter to the Guys in the Locker Room at my Gym

Rate: 65 Flag

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.


free towels

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.

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"Clothe thy naked villainy." That's what I like about you, Shags -- always quoting from the masters.
I thought of going back to count the number of synonyms for male body parts, but decided against it ...
heh heh I hope you are successful in your quest not to see an errant penis.
I guess some people just aren't modest and they don't care. But they should at least care about others. I had to chuckle at a few things you, no a lot of things you said. I am glad i don't go to a gym locker room, I hated them in high school and that was enough for me.
Great piece.. Good luck,..
Taking your puppies for a walk. Nice. I have to say that one of the reasons I avoid public showers is cos things like that make me very uncomfortable. I mean, sure, you're naked in the shower. But when people walk around the whole place naked, I seriously think that verges on harassment. The locker room is a public space in the same way that a public restroom is. You don't take a leak and then wander around the restroom with your dick hanging out, do you?
Glad to report this is not a problem at my gym.
That's it: I've settled on a band name. Errant Penis will be playing this Friday. Our album "Naked Villany" will be out on Tuesday.
A male friend of mine used to teach a spin class at our local YMCA and was forever telling me about similar behavior. No, the women's locker room wasn't anything like this and high heals were definitely absent. If you haven't seen it, check out the locker room scene in "Run Fat Boy, Run"...
I can't tell if this is a satire, of the absurdity of American male squeamishness about anything that could remotely be considered "gay", or if he's really serious.

If it's satire, well done!
I feel your pain.

I had a friend who decided to get in shape and enrolled into the same gym I'd been attending for a while.

I like to mind my business while at the gym: Change, workout, shower and leave.

But my friend, dear lord, he decided that gym some kind of social club in which working out was an excuse just to meet women and make friends.

I got specially annoyed when, once I dragged and pushed him to finish his workout a couple of times, he specially took his time to fraternalize in the lockerroom while showering. I mean I enjoy a good chat as much as the next guy, but really?? Do you have to take time, sit down and talk about yesterday game while naked?? Or disscuss best deodorant or best restroom downtown or best draft beer to drink while at the beach ??? Can't you wait to be at least half naked to start making small-talk?? ... Apparently he could not.
I thought it was just plain funny.
Hey how'd you know about the high heels and oil?

I have a solution to your problem. Challenge all the guys to a towel hanging contest. You know what I mean. The one who makes it to and from the shower wins something like a $20 bill or a towel championship belt in the shape of a waist towel.
Login ID, it has nothing to do with gay panic, rather it has to do with common courtesy. Isn't it possible to not want to see a bunch of dicks slinging about and not be homophobic? The piece isn't squeamish about things that seem gay. It had to do with people who don't respect physical (ie. clothing) boundaries.
Loved the post- I actually have a problem with the nudity at my gym, too. I mean, why do old ladies always want to walk around bare-ass naked with their boobs swinging around their waist? I grew up with a mom who was fine with being naked but I am a very shy person who would change in the closet just to avoid my college roommate seeing my bare back! :) Rated
Login ID, Chris K beat me to the punch. I was serious about my rule: you have to know me really really well before you get to see me naked. For the most part that rule is a two way street. I've got no problem with male nudity, but there's a time and a place for everything.
OK, what has happened to the American male? Have we turned into a bunch of oversensitive sissy boys?

When I was a kid, we had gym class. After gym class, we went back to the locker room to take a shower. There was a big shower room, with a bunch of shower heads around the room. We all crowded in there, took our showers, got out, got dressed, and went on our way. Sure, there was some adolescent self-consciousness about how our bodies were developing, but overall it was no big deal.

I've been going to gyms to exercise more or less regularly since then, and I've seen a trend occur. Early on, I went to the YMCA, and they had the big shower room. As did most other gyms. But within the last ten years or so, I've seen an increase in the number of gyms that have personal shower stalls. And now every place I go has personal shower stalls. In fact, one gym I go to had signs up for a while that said "To respect other members of the gym, please keep yourself covered." WTF??? The signs came down after a few months.

But I gotta say, what is the big friggin' deal of guys walking around in a locker room without any clothes on? Does it offend you? Then don't look at them. Why are men so exquisitely sensitive nowadays?

Chris K, who says "common courtesy" means making sure no other man might accidentally see your naked body in a locker room? Common to whom? Does it harm you to see some other man's body? Is it against your religion? Is seeing a bunch of dicks slinging about aesthetically offensive to you? What do you mean by "physical (i.e. clothing)" boundaries? There's physical boundaries, where people can't touch you with your permission. What does that have to do with someone getting dressed across the room who happens to be naked for a short time? I don't mean to pick on you, I just don't understand this mindset. Could someone explain it to me what the big deal is?
OK, shaggylocks, I understand, you're shy. So because of your shyness, you want to impose your rules on everyone else in the locker room? That's inconsiderate. If you're so shy, shower at home, or make sure you keep a towel on at all times so no one can see you. Either way, problem solved.
LoginID (if that is your real name...), you've made it clear that you're one of the people I've written this open letter to. That's great. Now we can dialogue a little bit.

"What is the big friggin' deal of guys walking around in a locker room without any clothes on? Does it offend you? Then don't look at them."

I won't look at them, thanks. I generally don't. That's polite, right? Not looking at someone's ding-a-ling? I'm seriously asking, because I don't actually know nudity etiquette. Are you allowed to look? I don't know how this works.

"Why are men so exquisitely sensitive nowadays?"

To pick up chicks. Duh. Next question.

"What does that have to do with someone getting dressed across the room who happens to be naked for a short time?"

Nothing. Being naked for a short time is totally okay. Don't try to take the moderate acceptable amount of nakedness and try to use it to win your point. NB: "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." That was in my opening paragraph.

"OK, shaggylocks, I understand, you're shy. So because of your shyness, you want to impose your rules on everyone else in the locker room? That's inconsiderate."

Of course I'm shy. Don't you remember what Jenny Summerhill said? I don't think it's inconsiderate to expect Schlongy McTrouserSnake to keep his python under wraps while traipsing about the locker room. Your bathing suit area is your own private place, and if anyone makes you feel uncomfortable about your bathing suit area you should tell a grown up.
Ah, Login ID, putting words in my mouth. I never said anything like common courtesy "means making sure no other man might accidentally see your naked body in a locker room." I believe I said, "Sure, you're naked in the shower." Which means I don't mind seeing naked people in the locker room. It's inevitable.

"Someone getting dressed for a short period of time" wasn't what I was talking about either, nor was Shaggy. You're not picking on me, Login, you're creating a strawman. If you want to be taken seriously, come up with an honest argument.
OK, Chris, shaggylocks, I don't mean to create a strawman, I'm trying to understand. You are OK with brief displays of nudity in the locker room, but not men walking around nude for an extended period of time, is that it?

Though Chris, if you think men walking around naked in a locker room "verges on harassment", I'd say the same thing to you as I said to shaggylocks: if it bothers you so much, shower at home. Just don't impose your values on everyone else in the locker room.
I said it verges on harassment because it is sometimes totally unnecessary and can make people very uncomfortable. I'm not imposing my values on people. If you hadn't noticed, nudity is not allowed in public places in this country (and many other countries). The locker room is a public place in much the same way that a restroom is a public place. Do you take a leak and then walk around with your schlong hanging out while you wash your hands and dry them and look at yourself in the mirror? Does any of this make sense to you?
"Just don't impose your values on everyone else in the locker room."

Ummm, what if my values said it was okay to walk around naked in the locker room, and everyone who didn't like it should go home and shower, even if that means being smelly and sticky on the train?
Is this gym any where near San Diego??

Um...I wouldn't mind joining that one!

I'm not gay--just "curious."

Yeah, that's it..."curious."

Well written and oh so very funny. The visuals alone were worth a rating!!
In the women's locker room, nudity seems to vary by age. Here's how it works (and sorry to ruin any fantasies, guys):

Women 25 and under: you almost never see even partial nudity. They are masters at changing without showing anything. They can remove a bra and put on a new one without even taking off their shirt.

Women aged 25 - 50: you may see quick glimpses of nudity but there is no walking around naked, grooming in front of mirror naked, etc. Also, total nudity is rare...usually the towel stays on until either top or bottom is secured so that only half-nudity occurs.

Women over 50: these are the only ones who let it all hang out. This is not true of *all* older women, but the only women I have ever seen (a) drying their hair naked, (b) weighing themselves naked, (c) having conversations naked, or (d) walking from the shower back to their locker without a towel are over 50. This is especially true for foreign women.

So here's my question: is this because people lose their self-consciousness with age, and stop giving a shit what others think? Or is it a cultural difference, because when they were younger, there was more comfort with same-sex nudity, so they're used to it? I have always wondered about this.
I thought this post was very funny. But despite the fact that society does everything possible to obscure the fact, we are all born naked and carry our naked bodies around with us until the day we die. I think it is good for us to occasionally see each other's nude bodies in a non-sexual, non-artistic context. There is an entire dimension to being human that we would do well to acknowledge - even become comfortable with. Ignoring the body - our own, and others' - can only lead to an ineffectual, effete, even crippled perception of our humanity.
Schlongy McTrouserSnake is my favorite synonym and the one I will be using from now on.

Oh, and I'm shy too. Makes for sexy when you finally let it all go in the privacy of intimate moments.
I said it verges on harassment because it is sometimes totally unnecessary and can make people very uncomfortable. I'm not imposing my values on people. If you hadn't noticed, nudity is not allowed in public places in this country (and many other countries). The locker room is a public place in much the same way that a restroom is a public place. Do you take a leak and then walk around with your schlong hanging out while you wash your hands and dry them and look at yourself in the mirror? Does any of this make sense to you?

Sorry, Chris, doesn't make much sense to me. A locker room is different from a bathroom. I think that's obvious. I agree that it can make a few people uncomfortable, but again, should the majority cover themselves up just to make sure a minority doesn't feel uncomfortable?

Additionally, we're going the wrong way -- I think we should be teaching kids to be more OK with their bodies, not that walking across a locker room with your genitals exposed verges on harassment. That encourages kids to feel shameful about their genitals, which I think is wrong.

And shaggylocks, I understand your point about being smelly and sticky on the train, but again, you're asking the majority to change their behavior so that the minority doesn't have to face their hangups about nudity.

Here's the problem as I see it:

1. Some men don't like other men looking at their naked bodies.
2. Some men don't like to look at other men's naked bodies.


1. Make sure you're completely covered up in the locker room at all times, which is easy now that most gyms have private shower stalls.
2. Don't look at other men in the locker room. Or, you could buy a book of male nudes and look at it until you get over the anxiety of seeing another man's genitals. They're just body parts, you know. There's nothing magical about them.
Very funny and wonderfully written. But all the guys I know who are afraid of, or feel uncomfortable with nudity in the gym are those who suffer from the shrinkage factor. Men with big penises just love to walk and have them swing and splat against their thighs. It is a gym---nudity is appropriate there unless we have an intrinsic prolem with the body and nudity. I've lived in Europe and you've got male and female strangers naked ina jacuzzi. Its just bodies.
Holy shit. I think I just wrote 1,400 about having a small penis.
so, so funny.
just wait till they introduce the unisex locker room!
What is it with some men and their penises? I laughed a lot during this read of your blog. Funny, funny, funny! I spend a lot of time in locker rooms but the women's locker room. Most of us are modest and change in stalls or behind curtains. Only once was it really blatant with one woman and her brand new breasts. All I can figure is that she just had to strut her new boob job and acted like she was on a cat walk modeling them - guess she wanted to get her money's worth and show them off to as many potential admirers as possible. Who knows?...my feelings over this human spectacle were not quite as comically elaborate as yours but I can relate...Rated for the most laughs in one post I have had today.
Not today, Sophia Loren. Not today!
I agree! Too much nudity is annoying! The most annoying guys are the ones who don't trim their pubes. It is like they are proud of it. The bigger bush is the better for them. It just looks gross! ... Rated!
You asked a question, so here's one answer. Particularly during midday workouts, there's just not enough time to cool down properly before having to rush back to work. Even a cool shower instead of a warm one can only do so much, when you're pressed for time. Maximum skin surface area for as long as possible is a big plus for allowing cool-down to continue so as to not get immediately sweaty again.

Another reason - to help get the prudes to loosen up. Changing one bra for another while never removing your shirt? In a freakin' locker room full of only other women? Give me a break! If there's not a few people walking around buck naked, the whole place will quickly degenerate until everyone's wearing burkas - I mean towels.
... but also rated, for the amusement factor and the writing quality...
I'm mutilated so I don't like nudity in showers. Actually, I didn't like it when I wasn't mutilated, either.
I won't be calling you old fashioned, shaggylocks, because you're not. Back in the old days men not only showered nude, shaved nude and walked around the locker room nude, they swam nude. That's right. Naked men in the swimming pool. Shocking, I know. I've even heard that as late as the 1980's men would lounge naked around the pool at the Philadelphia Athletic Club smoking cigars and playing pinochle.

Now I see guys in the locker room struggling to put on their underwear while still keeping a towel wrapped tightly about their waist. I can't say I think all that shame and body revulsion is an improvement.
I just hate it when someone I already know joins my club. Odds are, I've already seen it.
Sean, that's the same thing I've seen, and I wonder what the cause is. The private showers replacing group shower rooms -- is that a cause or an effect? Were men clamoring for privacy when showering, or did they see the new private showers and decide that it meant nudity was shameful? I don't know...
Is this guy a f*****g crackpot or what. No wonder there are so many screwed-up males in the USA today with nuts like this going around!
Wow, this seems like a totally homophobic knee-jerk response - the article in general.

Up until the '70's, men NORMALLY were nude around other men in not just locker rooms, but men only swimming pools! -I'll just bet if your dad or dad's dad got swimming lessons at the Y as a kid, they were done totally nude.

This seems to me a lot like the Hollywood movie ratings... You can see a woman totally nude, having sex even, and it barely rates PG-13, but have frontal nudity on a man and all of a sudden it's NC-17, no matter the setting!

Get over it, people! A penis is not a gun, and it's no more or less sexual than any other body part, really!

It's what you DO with it at the time that makes it sexual or not.

BTW, towels are meant to use to dry off with - not as some sort of covering... And FYI, you should AVOID letting a CLEAN towel touch an unwashed body at all, as once you are clean, chances are you're putting back on bacteria, fungus, & viruses!

I'm betting you've never been to a clothing-optional beach or hot spring... And that in your mind, you see these as something pseudo-sexual.

I'm also betting you've never used a locker room without stall showers - at least the kind with out any doors. And certainly betting you've never used one with pole showers!

Boy, you've never lived until you learn to let go of these silly inhibitions and accept such as a place for guys to just be who they are and relax, the same way you might relax taking a shower at home, only in a locker room you might be able to do it with a good friend and not be sharing the same fixture!
At my Y, little girls like shaggylocks aren't allowed in the men's locker room above age 5.
I thought this was funny and sorry you got some trolls. This is one person's opinion, we can all have opinions for goodness sake.
Geez Shaggy, you do have some body issues.

Rated for writing quality and general looniness...
I'm rating this just for "Schlongy McTrouserSnake" -- I sooo wanna change my OS name to that!
Shaggy, you're a comedic master. And this is what I always imagined the men's locker room to be like. :)
Man, who'd have thought that a post with the words "Shaggy McTrowsersnake" and "taking your puppies out for a walk" with mentions of the fine programing of USA's Up All Night could elicit such heated responses?

1) This was funny.

2) I guess I'm in the what was it, oh yeah - "oversensitive sissy boys" group. Sorry, but after getting my ass handed to me by men twice my size in high school gym class verbally and physically, only to repeat it again outside of gym class, the last thing I wanted to do was spend quality naked time with dudes who enjoyed picking on the less athletic types. "Hey that weggie you gave me this morning was awesome and I know that later you're going to jump me in the parking lot - but want to compare man meat?"

3) I hang out with enough people in life that get naked for no reason - men and women, gay, straight, whatever. This doesn't make me feel uncomfortable in the slightest. In fact, it's a fun party trick. I however, guess I'm slightly more modest. Again, I'm so happy so many other people are comfortable enough with themselves to show off their flesh, but I'm not into it.

4) Once, I was at this fancy chamber of commerce dinner in the suburbs at a fancy golf course, the kind of function that requires a suit. I can say that I was honestly surprised when I entered the bathroom to find that it was also the club's locker room. Already on edge from having to sit around a table with businessfolks, washing my hands next to a 60 year old naked man who wanted to strike up a conversation about the event outside didn't help matters.

5) This is one of a few reasons why I tend to avoid gyms. Rated.
I've seen over reactions, but this is a whopper. How old are you? Locker rooms, are well, locker rooms and you can't blame others for what you believe is a social ill. When the days existed when high school boys HAD to shower after gym, and the draft was mandatory, even in peace time, you learned quickly you don't skip showers, particulary in the military. Ever hear of a GI shower? You would not want to experience that, I assure you. If you got to smell too badly for lack of shower (and there is NO privacy in the military when showering) the guys would make sure you took one, and they personally scrubbed you down with brushes that were anything but soft and gentle).
Your attitude is typical of today's "fear of nudity since it's sinful" belief, and single parents, generally mothers, of sons who equate any male who's trying to teach his sons or other young men about being male, is a pervert out to snatch their little boys.

Since you try to hard to avoid looking at naked guys, ever consider you're avoiding the real issue: you might be gay, and your avoidance is your way of denying it.

With all the concerns in the world of true merit, why this is even an issue baffles me. It's a men's locker room, not a den of iniqutiy.
I have to admit I was shy about public nudity as well. However, once I entered Marine Bootcamp that fear went away quickly! Nothing like "showering" with 85 naked recruits to get rid of those inhibitions. Rated for making me laugh. Thanks.
Note to all the men packing lethal weapons in their pants who have been rocking the comments:

Okay, I get it. I'm a homophobic sissy. You all grew up when men were men, and I grew up in the 80s.

When I was first thinking up this post (in my own home shower, actually) I was envisioning the main thrust centering around all of the various way I could be seen naked. You know, there was the streaking and the rope in gym class and the fraternity rituals, but I also had three or four other good ones in mind. I realized it was getting a bit long, so I brought it on home before I could explore this idea to its fullest. I kinda wish I had gone ahead with it, because I think it would have been funnier if it was a little more blatantly hypocritical. But I'm fine with the way it turned out.

So instead it comes off sounding like a "homophobic knee-jerk response." Either that or it sounds like I'm sporting this year's mini model in phallic apparel. Umm, I don't think I should be labeled a homophobe for writing a "what's up with all these naked guys?" post, but whatever. Having missed those golden halcyon days when men could swim naked with each other, it strikes me as a bit odd and perhaps a bit inappropriate.

I was just trying to joke around about it, but the funniest stuff on this entire page was written by aaroncynic in the comments. Seriously. Thanks for that. Login ID said: "When I was a kid, we had gym class. After gym class, we went back to the locker room to take a shower. There was a big shower room, with a bunch of shower heads around the room. We all crowded in there, took our showers, got out, got dressed, and went on our way. Sure, there was some adolescent self-consciousness about how our bodies were developing, but overall it was no big deal." Maybe it was no big deal for a stud like you, but for a scrawny little no-self-confidence kid like me, it would have bought my future therapist a new Jaguar.

For the record, I just got back from the gym, and apparently the guys in the locker room didn't read my Open Salon post today. Oh well. I guess I'll just have to find a way to deal with it, eh?
I think this is a generational thing. I am in college now, and everyone I know except for hardcore athletes would basically be mortified to be naked in public. When we took showers in high school gym class, it was only after swimming, and we all wore underwear.

Yet in my parents' generation it was perfectly normal and perfectly comfortable to them to get totally nekkid in the lockerroom in high school or even middle school. It was just what they did. So I suspect most of the guys walking naked around your lockerroom are either older than you are, or probably played on a sports team at some level.

Either that or they're just batshit crazy.
maybe you need to go online and see if you gym is listed as a gay cruising site. that would explain a lot.
Wow Shaggy, I really appreciate that. For the record, I still think "taking your puppies for a walk" and the tag "swinging willies" are funnier than anything I said. Although I do enjoy the fact that I got to use the words "man meat" somewhere.

About the "homophobic knee jerk response" bit - the thing I always found interesting about high school salad days is that the men who were secure enough to shower with each other were often the most homophobic. They were the quickest to toss out the standard "fag" insults at people - regardless of their sexuality or not.
Maybe we could start a campaign to have nice-looking, naked female locker-room attendants...
Straight men used to be able to look at other (naked) men with admiration, envy, contempt, or complete disinterest without waves of anxiety (sexual or otherwise) coming over them. But now that our nifty culture has rampantly objectified men as well as women -- setting up a buff, hairless ideal that is simultaneously highly- and a-sexualized -- it's a lot more difficult for one man to gaze at another's nakedness without all sorts of discomfort coming to the surface.

I'm old enough (I haven't been in a locker room in 25 years) to find the writer's concerns odd, but clearly they're real for him, and for his sake I wish there were lockers more on the order of tiny hotel rooms, with complete privacy. And I also wish, for his and the general welfare, that he could get over it.
Er, not at all qualified to comment, but rated for the laughs. Definitely going to ask hub what happens in the gym locker room here!
You give business trip a whole new meaning...... Hilarious!
Shaggy my sweet....I am one of those types that loves to be naked and doesnt care, and all that..and its nice to see other human bodies naked in an unsexualized context, because it reminds us of our humanity, and all sorts of good stuff.

But you know...it really chaps my bare freckled arse to see you be told that there is something WRONG with you simply because you might feel a little more modest, and maybe find swinging cock very mildly off putting...more along the lines of it being kinda funny, rather than you being a big old homophobe or sissy (isn't THAT a funny contrast?..ha!)

Just utter bullshit.

You wrote a funny and charming piece, most likely exaggerated for COMIC EFFECT a bit, and got all sorts of nefarious shite assumed of you.



Also....I am sure your tool is magnificent. So there.
I understand about wearing the towel around the waist to the shower, but wearing your boxers under it just makes you seem paranoid and like you have issues.
Persephone- thanks for that. I (obviously) knew there was another side to the story, but I wasn't expecting them to roll out in such full force.

In unrelated news, my daffodil bulbs are blooming. I guess that means you're coming up above ground for a couple months. Thanks for that, too.
Just remember the word gym is derived from the Greek word gymnos meaning naked.

Shaggylocks, you would not my local Y-- the showers are all in one big room.
Wow, and here I thought this was just a great and funny piece of comedic writing.

For the record, my body parts are indeed magical.
This is great. And though I have never been in the men's locker room I can understand your sentiments here - my husband is a nudist type and the flagrant casting aside of social norms seriously gets on my nerves!
and i thought the penis itself was overly sensitive ... geeeeez people let it go ... the post was funny!!!
Funny but nudity in men's locker rooms has never bothered me so long as no one's taking an extra long look at my package. I must admit I'm one of those folks who walks into the shower with the towel over my shoulder and never think anything of it. We all have the same equipment, so what's the big deal? Good luck with establishing locker room etiquette at your gym.
A friend of mine works for a gym, and a running complaint with her is updating the laundry list of things you’re not allowed to do in the sauna, i.e. the Previously Unwritten Rules That Are Only Written Down Now Because Somebody Broke Them.

It’s only the MEN’S sauna that they ever have problems with, but the decree from on high is they have to post the signs in both the men’s and the women’s saunas, leading women to constantly ask her “Who the hell would try to have sex in a sauna, anyway?” and “Why would you want to shave in there?”

Is this post for real? You're projecting. I mean really, you must have some serious body dysmorphic disorder to be so put off by other men's nudity. You make it sound like people walk around nude in the locker room just to make you uncomfortable (I'm seeing a psychological issue going on here). Dude, it's a gym locker room and after a long workout and a hot shower, it's impossible to dry off with a towel wrapped around your waist while your body is still sweating and the LAST thing you want is to leave the gym with wet sticky underwear. I can't believe how prudish people have become. (OMG! Janet Jackson's boob was on TV for a nanosecond and that made NATIONAL news.) And...was I hallucinating when I read a comment on here that said;

"I agree! Too much nudity is annoying! The most annoying guys are the ones who don't trim their pubes."

WTF?? If you can tell that the pubes are not groomed to your liking, then you're looking directly at the offending penis in which case you may want to explore that side of your sexuality before you get married and produce offspring. Wait...that was a joke right? This is all a joke?
Mister Cobban: "Wait...that was a joke right? This is all a joke?"

Let me guess: your nickname growing up "The Professor," right? Either that or "Einstein."
"The ladies strip down to nothing but their big hairdos and stilettos and oil each other up before hitting the showers."

You truly haven't been in the ladies' locker room! Trust me, we are too squidgy about the massive quantities of disease there to ever cavort so freely. Well...maybe the strippers do, after their workouts.
Very funny and effective. Just which bus was Tink riding when you saw him? Yeah, we need bigger towels.
Rated & Cheers!
Dude, you are so uptight I bet you sh*t spaghetti.
shaggy--i can't BELIEVE the firestorm you started with this--i thought it wa...what's the word?...oh yeah--funny, and the fact that several men felt superior because they happen to enjoy flinging their dangle-downs to and fro says more about them than about you...speaking of, @Doctor34--the penis is "no more or less sexual than any other body "--i don't know about YOUR penis, Doc, but mine is a good deal more sexual than, say, my elbow...rated for inspiring weird comments
This is completely freakin' hilarious. The fact that some people are getting their (invisible) panties knotted up about it is a sign of its brilliance. You should be proud.
That was "laugh out loud funny" from start to finish. And I always wondered why women insist on doing the same thing in the ladies locker room. It's never Janet Jackson, it's more like Janet Reno doing the catwalk. Keep up the good work!
@Shaggy...um, they weren't in the sauna with their wives or other members of the female persusasion, if you get my drift. At this particular gym, the men's/women's saunas could only be reached by going through the men's/women's locker rooms.

I could see people wanting to try that, though if they had half a brain in their heads they'd realize it was a heart attack/heatstroke waiting to happen and a very embarrassing way to die.

But...why SHAVING? That one dumbfounds me.

(The mention of saunas and casual male nudity means that I will have to write down and post about my experience in a co-ed hostel in Scotland and a Swede named Lars. Ahh, cultural differences...)
I guess I find it somewhat startling that another guy would be freaked because I sling a towel over my shoulder on my way to the showers. It's not about showing off my puppies (which are average mutts - but adorable like all good puppies) it has never occurred to me to keep them covered.

Frankly, if I saw a guy who wore boxers under his towel, I would probably take a second to wonder what the hell he was worried about. He would have every right to his modesty, but that strikes me as a bit excessive and nuerotic.
I'm with LoginID. This guy-cover-up thing is the opposite of when I was young. It seems very prissy to me. It's certainly not about falling away from some former standard of modesty. Quite the opposite.
Cruel cruel Jenny Summerhill. Let's hope she knew not what she did.
Hey Shaggylocks, I was a nerd in school too, got picked on in Jr. High until I picked a fight with a guy, then they stopped bothering me. But no one ever picked on me or mocked me in the locker room. If you endured that kind of abuse in the locker room with a lot of naked boys around, I can understand where you're coming from. And FWIW, I think some of the people writing here have been pretty harsh.
Login ID: If you were referring to my comments, I did not mean to be harsh at all. As I said, everyone is entitled to his or her own modesty without judgement.

But like others here, I was raised in a different time and environment. Boys and girls were strictly segregated, but nudity in male settings was very common. Like others here, I had nude swimming lessons on the days set aside for men and in all the years I showered at school, I never once saw anyone wear underwear.

If men at my gym feel this way, it is a complete revelation to me and yet another example of how you lose touch with culture as you age.
Shaggylocks, Oh yeah, whether you're male or female this post is very, very funny. Spot on funny.Don't worry about the accusing members, you're not homophobic; just an awesome writer.Rated
Straight guys who freak out over seeing other guys naked need to get over themselves. No one is making you look at their penis, Shaggylocks: you can always look up at the ceiling, or hey, even straight ahead, which is usually the default place to look in a locker room or anywhere else.

Unless you're three feet tall, you need to actively look down to study a guy's crotch. Sounds like that's what you've been doing, as you have commented so specifically on the varying endowment sizes of the guys at your gym. So maybe the problem here is that when there are exposed penises around, you can't help looking at them, and that makes you insecure about your sexuality because we happen to live in a country where straight men think homosexuality is icky (even if they're politically liberal like you are) and societal pressure dictates that they need to constantly remind other people AND themselves that they're straight, otherwise they'll lose their man credentials.

Mainstream movies and TV shows constantly reinforce this idea that straight guys are supposed to react to other guys' bodies as they would to an injury like Joe Theismann's gory leg break: ewww! I say "man up" and "grow a pair" are the best responses to that kind of unnecessary, pathetic -- and yes, whether you want to acknowledge it or not, homophobic -- lack of maturity.

That said, I agree that guys who shave or brush their teeth at the gym are freaks. Being naked while changing or walking from or to the shower is pretty normal. Grooming yourself while naked in front of other people is kind of creepy.
I am so streaking this post.
Totally rated, shaggy.
I wasn't expecting to get all thoughtful after reading this, but the comments have led me there. I would also rate Monsieur Chariot's comment if I could...
At the small locker room in the yoga studio I go to, the naked/covered balance seems to be pretty in proportion for my tastes. No one's just standing around naked - if they're naked they've got a reason for it, which is kind of my approach to being naked myself.
And yet... I think it's healthy for me to have a once/twice a week exposure to other women's real bodies - not that I'm staring, blahblahblah - because we get SO MUCH exposure to UNREAL bodies in our consumption of media.
I'm gonna go write a post in reponse. WOW.
Shaggy, I just heard from Kerry. The sense of humor he ordered for everyone at OS should be in on Friday. So, if you can just hang on a couple of more days to let some catch up, you should be in the clear.

It's COMEDY, people. Jebus.
There is a women at my gym who gets out of the shower, wraps herself in a towel, walks to her locker, puts on the high heels, then takes off her towel, then proceeds to blow dry her long bad-permed hair and puts on her make up, all before putting her clothes back on. Think skinny 50+ year old.

I almost ruined my keyboard reading this because I had to laugh.....but I do feel your pain.
Well, yeah it's comedy but the guy's trying to make a point, isn't he? Is it humorless to comment on the reality he is mocking? Jebus is right.
Must be something american i guess.
Never saw anyone having a problem with nudity at the gyms i have attended.
And i read somewhere some years ago that in some sauna`s that americans may attend at resorts or in the usa there would be notices to keep on underwear or be covered.
could not imagine that happening in europe itself without some ppl asking the staff WTF.
I am dutch and will tell you not in any shape or forn anywhere near and adonis but i dont have an issue in being naked in a locker room.
It is not a cruising place.
Its the most practical thing to do, simply that.
And yes i do think the image reinforced by the media and culture may have something to do with the current trends that such things must be kept out of sight.
But the its a paradox, on the one hand men and women being sexualized in the media, while on the other side an ever greater urge to keep it all private.
Just like his and hers toilets or bathrooms with the master bedroom, i do see the merit for the neatness freakness among us that are married to slobs, but for the rest its a waste of money and space if u ask me.
As for the issue of nakedness, lighten up. You were born nude and you may die nude.
What is the big deal ??.
I bet for real cheap you could get a gross of those "fashionable" towels with the elastic waist and the gym's logo embroidered on them. Wait until no one's looking (or they're all looking at John Holmes over there) and leave a few stacks of them. Fashions have started in stranger ways.
Guess you've never been in the military, Shaggylocks. Visualize a barracks latrine with ten or twelve toilet bowls lined up side by side with no privacy whatsoever. Then visualize the basic-trainee inhabitants of said barracks rising from their slumbers at 4AM or so and making frantic use of these facilities while a fearsome drill instructor bellows "you got 45 minutes to shit, shave , shower, make your rack and get in formation." Ahh. . .good times! At least that's the way it was back in the 50's. Needless to say, modesty was not accomodated. The harshness of the environment erased class distinctions - in that era the military was not populated totally by the disadvantaged - and everyone functioned on an actual level playing field. The military, notwithstanding its many faults, is the closest thing to a meritocracy that we have.
Freakin' brilliant. "You taking your puppies out for a walk."

Instant Classic, and my new fave expression for male nudity.
Okay, I've fashioned a response to all of the comment section criticism here.
Typical young male response. Next you'll want to legislate the behavior. Locker rooms used to be a place of male bonding. Now with no forced gym showers, and guys thinking being naked with another guy is "gay" society is off kilter. With sexual abuse, harassment and other fears, men have lost the chance to be natural around sons, nephews, etc. A generation of young guy raised by "mommy" and her pristine ways has not the least concept about how an adult male should behave - not only in the locker room, but elsewhere. You were probably frightened by a penis at an early age. And let me guess: You're one of these guys that showers in public with his underwear on, puts pants over wet underwear and leaves just to conceal his manhood. Well, manhood is not what you're concealing. You're concealing what used to be called an open mind.
Jeez, guy, are you serious? You came back SIX MONTHS LATER to comment AGAIN!?!? Man, I really pushed some buttons with you, eh? Well, you're right, I am seriously messed up. You can read more about it here.
Shaggy, you rock!
Love the exchange here as of late, and especially your link to your other post where you refer to all the "grayheads".
Saw this in the feed--HAD to comment and it was worth it!
Still LMFAO,
Ha! Thanks, spotted!
I've got to say, I came across this blog today because I was Googling locker room etiquette. Pretty interesting stuff. It mainly seems to me that the people who take the time to write this stuff are the ones who are advocating for more coverage in the locker room. Your viewpoints are interesting, but are not necessarily the mainstream.

I got to wondering about it because at my gym I came to realize all the guys (myself included) who pretty much showered, shaved, and use the sauna/steam naked are white guys, including a bunch of Italians. The other predominant population at the gym are the Hispanic guys. And, as a culture, Latino men do tend to be more homophobic.

What caught my interest are the guys who actually shower with shorts on. These guys actually make me suspicious that they are insecure with the size of their penis, or they're homophobic. Most of them, tended to be Latino. That's fine, I don't care if you have a desire to remain clothed. However, this is entirely a cultural issue and we live in a pluralistic culture.

As a naked guy, let me inform you of the little world going on inside our head. There's nothing wrong with nudity. Basically put, if you can't be naked or see others naked without feeling discomfort, you are struggling with some level of anxiety or insecurity about your self-image. This is something that's primarily programmed into us by our culture and our family, although individual personality does make up some of it. You obviously feel that you live in a culture that should dictate judicious nudity in locker rooms, however this is not so.

I'd also like to let you know, as a naked guy, that I'm not looking at your dick and I don't want you to look at mine. However, even if you did, I wouldn't really care. I'm a married, straight guy but even if you look at my penis, it's not guying to change either of our sexual orientations. And this is coming from a guy who's average hung and is actually a major grower, not a shower. So, I'm also not the proud as punch guy with a big dick who's walking around to "advertise".

Why don't I immediately get dressed afterward? Because I'm sweaty. Even a shower does not stop this and it usually takes me 20 minutes to cool down, yes I can and do put on a towel, but I have to take it off often to keep drying off. Again, this is not about exhibitionism, its about convenience. I actually go to a gym where there is a lounge with a TV in the men's locker room. Guys actually sit around and watch it, sometimes naked, and these are older, working-class, blue collar guys in middle class neighborhoods in Chicago. They are not freaks or faggots. (I'll have you know, I don't participate in this past time.)

Back to culture, remember the Greeks? Those guys did everything naked-sports, the gym, swimming, military training. Guys at the Y used to actually swim naked until recent history provided us with two factors 1. synthetic material swimsuits that didn't clog the pool filters, and 2. mandatory co-ed membership.

Basically, I'm of the opinion that you have a good deal of anxiety surrounding nudity and a limited knowledge of how culturally conditioned this issue is, i.e., not a universally held value such as thou shall not kill. I do have a feeling that you might add, "Thou shall not display schlong whenever humanly possible."
"Basically, I'm of the opinion that you have a good deal of anxiety surrounding nudity and a limited knowledge of how culturally conditioned this issue is, i.e., not a universally held value such as thou shall not kill."

Thanks for taking the time to write and for using my humble attempt at humor as a platform to diagnose my problems. I see you even joined Open Salon specifically to respond to me. Thanks. You should also check this out: http://open.salon.com/blog/shaggylocks/2009/04/08/free_armchair_freudian_analysis