I have a funny story to share. Well, it was funny to me. My story is all about nudity and our comfort levels.
Sharing a gym locker room with women, you see all degrees of comfort. Some ladies feel free to walk around in their under garments, wrapped in a small towel coming from the shower stalls, or doing their hair sitting at the mirror in their robes or less coverage. Once I had a lady ask me for help with her bra in the back because she had trouble reaching the clasp. Many feel that we all have the same parts, so why be shy about exposure? Some feel comfortable enough to change from work clothes to gym clothes in the open space of the locker room, while others prefer the privacy of the individual dressing rooms. Degrees of comfort with nudity all depend on age, culture and upbringing. I have observed that older ladies are a lot more free in their nudity than younger ladies for example. There is all kind of chatter in the locker room that would make many grown men cringe. Talks of labour and child birth, menopause and menstral cycles, hormones and PMS, just to name a few. Since this is a women only health club, a lot of friendships have formed, which brings a high level of comfort among members.
Thinking back in reflection, I was always one to change privately when in the company of female peers and classmates in gym class. Part of this could have been fear of judgement and my insecurities of being heavier than many of my peers. My household was certainly on the more private side. I have three sisters, but I have never seen any of them in their birthday suits. That’s just the way it was. I once saw my mom in her undergarments, and that is only because I behaved as an overly-excited child, and wanted her attention immediately to ask if I could go to my friend’s house for dinner. I barged in her room without knocking in the midst of her getting dressed from the shower. She promptly scolded me, and told me to close the door and wait for her downstairs. These days, I’ll change in the private rooms only when the open space is very crowded by the lockers and I feel I need more space. I am still more on the conservative side, but my physical appearance doesn’t bother me when changing. The change room is like a doctor. The walls have seen it all. Cellulite, stretch marks, hairy legs and much more.
It brings me to think of Charlotte from a Sex in the City episode. Covering her thighs and exposed breasts at a women’s sauna, she found it all too overwhelming, and ran out to hide in private change rooms. She explained to Carrie that, “she didn’t grow up in a naked house.” I always chuckle at that line because it reminds me of something I would say.
This brings me to my funny story. I always thought I was fine with change room nudity until last week. I was gathering my things from my locker after working out. This incident really made me realize that I am more uncomfortable with full nudity in the change room than I thought. This lady came out of the shower stalls stark naked. This was a first. She carried her towel in her hand instead of wrapped around her body. Her locker and mine were corner to corner. I tried to get my bag and water bottle, while giving her some privacy (not like she cared one way or the other it seemed.) I quickly knelt down to get my bag from the bottom of my locker and when I looked up, her backside was literally inches from my face as she knelt down and continued to towel off. I felt so awkward that I ran out of the locker room, forgetting my water bottle and cell phone, (which I realized later and had to return.) My discomfort level was on high.
This lady made no attempt to cover herself, and was as comfortable as if she had been in her bedroom. I suppose she didn’t feel the need to cover, being in an all female facility, and truly this was her right and choice. Andy got a good laugh when I told him my locker room tale. I said this lady must have grown up in a naked house.
Charlotte York, we have more in common than just our first names.