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Locker Room Etiquette

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

My friend KELLYIM posted a blog about pool etiquette that gave me a chuckle, and since I am always floored by the goofiness I sometimes see in the locker room, I thought I’d post one of my own.

Good timing, since studying is making me squirrelly, so I thought I’d just take a fun little break.

So what kind of weirdness do I see in the locker room? Well, it depends on which pool I swim at on any given day, but they do have a few things in common. One of the pools is at the university where I attended classes for the past four years. The other is a community pool at a fitness center only three blocks from home. For typing ease, I will refer to them as “UP,” university pool, and “CP,” community pool.

This happens at both pools. At the UP, it’s co-eds, and at the CP, it’s mostly old ladies. (No offense to our senior members, I’ve just noticed a big difference in the social habits and topics of conversation as women age. I suppose I’m guilty of the same thing.)

Anyway, with the co-eds, sometimes they actually talk about class or career goals, which can be interesting. But usually, they are complaining about unfaithful or negligent boyfriends, back-stabbing friends, or how unfair their parents are (yes, still, even though they are technically adults over the age of 18.) With the old ladies, it’s snarky comments about dumb neighbors, or rotten kids and grandkids, or the woman who is usually there with them, but is not there at the moment to defend herself. Or sometimes, it’s unabashed bragging about how the co-ed got overdrunk (are you really proud of that?) or about how the grandkid won his latest competition.

To be fair, sound does magnify in a tiled room with no carpet. But whatever the case, the conversation is loud and dramatic. Are you showing off? Are you looking for sympathy? Do you need to shout it from the rooftops? Please don’t, or if you must, please lower your voice. I don’t want to hear it. I have things I’m proud of and things that piss me off too. But you will never know about them because I don’t know you and I won’t share my personal baggage with strangers in a locker room.

This happens more at the UP. And it’s pretty much ditto for the above, except that the conversation is one-sided. And again, I don’t care. Although it is really interesting to watch you try to get into or out of your clothes with only one hand, if you’re not using a hands-free device.

This happens everywhere. Please, ladies, clean your hair out of the drain when you’re done showering. It’s just gross. It’s not my job to clean up after you, but cleaning it up is preferable to standing in a wad of your hair while I shower. Problem is, the CP has gotten rid of all its paper towel dispensers in favor of those stupid hand dryers that never work. So I have to use toilet paper to clean up your hair. Now think about that for a minute. Some unknown person’s wet hair, in a wet drain, picked up with wet toilet paper. Gag-worthy.

Most co-eds don’t have children, so this happens mostly at the CP, although it can happen during open swim at the UP also. Now, I really don’t have a problem with small children using the facilities. Swimming is great fun and great exercise and a great way for kids to expend all that excess energy. What I have a problem with is kids who run around loose and screaming all over the locker room and get in the way and run into the other patrons. Parents need to control their kids everywhere, but in a locker room it’s even more important. It’s a place of semi-privacy, and it can be dangerous if you aren’t paying attention. If I’m walking around barefoot on a wet floor, I do not want to have to watch out for your kid to run into me, or barge in on me in the shower. And I have a serious problem with the mom who brings her ten-year-old son into the women’s locker room and then ignores him ogling all the naked and half-dressed women. He belongs in the men’s locker room, Mom.

This I just don’t get. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a baby – as in an infant too young to walk – in the UP locker room. But today I saw my first at the CP locker room. Explain to me please, why you are bringing your infant into the locker room? The fitness center has a really nice child care center, free to members, with great, certified care providers. Your infant can’t work out with you. Your infant is not allowed on the floor with any of the equipment. Your infant is not even allowed to use the pool except for a very limited shallow-depth area. So why is s/he in the locker room? To make matters worse, s/he is crying. It reverberates off the tile walls and it’s deafening. Please, if you don’t want to use the child care center, then leave him/her with a babysitter.

This one is great. And I’ve only seen it at the UP, because I think the younger the girl, the more she feels it’s necessary to carry her entire bathroom and closet with her when she goes to work out. There is limited bench space in the locker room. And you are taking up the entire bench with multiple bags, clothing, towels, make-up kits, hair and body accessories, jewelry, and electronics. There is stuff falling out of your locker and there are several pairs of shoes and multiple socks spread out on the floor. And worse, you are walking away from it and leaving it there. My stuff is in the locker behind you. Please, honey, this is not your bedroom. Be courteous and leave space for others. That’s my nice request. Now, move it or I’ll kick it across the room.

This one happens at both pools too, and it’s another one I just don’t get. Now, I’m not referring to the woman who stands by her locker and removes her street clothes to put on her workout clothes, or the woman who drops her towel so she can get dressed. I’m not saying we should be ashamed of our bodies or hide them either. But there’s something about the young nubile co-ed or the older woman with age on her body who walks from one end of the locker room to the other with it all hanging out that’s just… I don’t know… somehow undignified. I can’t speak for anyone else (obviously not for these women), but except for that unspoken personal space within 3 feet of my locker, or behind a shower curtain, I want at least my butt and boobs covered.

That’s my rant for the day. This was intended to be funny, but it actually sounds a little snarky. I hope no one’s insulted. But if you see yourself in any of these scenarios, please laugh first, then examine your standards. I’m sure I do things that irritate other people too. But I try to be vigilant and aware of other people’s space. It is a locker room after all. And please, I’m naked here too, let me be naked in peace.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    LMAO!! Love it, altho I can't say I've ever been there.....and maybe this is why! LOL I have just always had a phobia about anywhere that I might have to be less than clothed within the sight of someone else, even when I was young and skinny. So I can honestly say the ONLY time I have ever been in a public locker room is back in early high school when I used to do synchronized swimming at the Y. I'm thinking now that maybe that was not a bad move.....LOL
    1631 days ago
    Hi Laurie,

    This sounds to me like you live on an alien planet! Guy locker rooms are different. Guys change into workout clothes silently. After exercise, guys take a shower, dress and leave. There may be a little small talk among friends, which is mostly about exercise.

    Guy locker rooms are pretty quiet. Guy socializing requires beer and a ball game. My wife and daughter think that me and my sons are are hiding our deepest thoughts. This is simple. We are guys. We don't have deep thoughts. Other than to wonder why the Rockies still don't have a decent bullpen!

    Thanks, Bruce
    1640 days ago
  • PSMITH3841
    This was a tough one to read at work...you got me back! I'm still snorting with laughter..."Snarky" and all! I'm with you 100% I see the same type of thing at the Gym & the Y....It wonders me sometimes what happens to an individuals thought process and consideration when they walk through the door of a locker room. YIKES!
    1648 days ago
    hehehe yeah I'll never understand the parading around naked either... it freaked me the hell out as a kid, particular state park beaches were worse than others with the naked older ladies.

    and personal space... if your locker is next to mine and I'm changing, please announce yourself... and for the love of god don't sit on the bench 6 inches from where I'm standing!
    1648 days ago
    Oh also, this morning at Brown, someone put her boots on the bench, RIGHT next to my locker. Then I guess she went to work out because no one ever claimed those boots while I was there. First of all, shoes go on the floor. Second, why right next to my locker?
    1649 days ago
    Thanks for the shout out. :) I've made some observations already at the Brown pool versus the Y. The Y is full of a lot of naked old ladies walking around. I've gotten used to it as I've become chummy with some of them, but it's still bizarre to me that they just wander around with it all hanging out. Glad they're comfortable with their bodies... :)

    Maybe it's just that I don't know anyone there yet, but the Brown locker room is SO quiet. At the Y, a lot of the women are there pretty much every day and everyone chats, but at Brown, no one seems to know each other. It's kind of eerie how quiet it is, as 10 or more women walk around getting ready for work.
    1649 days ago

    I walked into the gym locker room today just as a woman who was wearing undies only stepped onto the scale, which is in the middle of the room. I thought to myself, "Put a bra on!" (chuckle, chuckle) I just don't understand the mentality of showing off one's boobies to a room full of strangers.

    Though one time something newsworthy was happening and the news was on the TV in the locker room. Another woman and I were both changing in the same short bay of lockers -- I hate it when that happens. Without looking at her, I said something about the news. She answered back, but I felt so awkward having said something to her at all since we were both in various states of undress. LOL
    1649 days ago
    I think they all need to read this at UP and CP.... emoticon
    1649 days ago
  • 0309COOKIE
    That was a good read, Laurie. Gagged a little at the hair in the drain one, lol. Some of those issues I have encountered (mass items spread out, women parading around naked) and some not (babies in the locker room).
    1649 days ago
    I swim at a senior center (18+), so luckily I rarely see anyone under 30. I go right when the pregnant water class ends, so I get to see lots of naked pregnant ladies. It is also when the water aerobics starts, which is mainly obese or old or obese old ladies. The water is warmer (which I like) for the old people and there are NEVER kids (awesome!). Also, there's always 2 lanes open for lap swim unlike the 2 other community pools where there's only 1. Plus, not a lot of people think to go to a senior center if you aren't 50+, so it is rarely crowded! I swim with my boyfriend and his friend and a lot of times we use 2 lanes since no one is there but the 1 class. The water quality is also a lot better (no kids..........). We went to one of the other pools and there is DEF a difference!
    1649 days ago
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