etiquette

Locker Room Stories Preface

A couple colleagues approached me at work. They seemed happy to see me so I stopped. They wanted to know my take on locker room etiquette. Why me? Why ask my opinion? I wanted to ask, “Why are you asking me in the middle of a high school lunch period?” But I thought the question might pose an awkwardness that would derail their intentions, and I wanted to hear their intentions.

I frequent the gym. I have for years. YMCA? Was there this morning. JCC? Yep, been there for a swim. I’ve seen variety.

Carpeted floors and tiled.

Opened showers and stalls.

Pure water filtration machines versus drinking fountains.

Two complimentary towels or one.

I know the world of the locker room, and I’m quite comfortable there, not because I want to be, because I have to be. I enjoy the sweat, and determination, and burn, and pain of a work out. I just do.

After a work out in the early morning, a deep freeing breath comes easy to me while I’m in the shower or standing at the mirror, and I relax, and I’m ready for the day ahead. The locker room is a place of accomplishment for me. It’s also a place of camaraderie.

The locker room is a place where doctors, lawyers, business men, teachers, ministers, scrappers, construction workers, and landscapers are equal. Titles don’t exist in the locker room.

“So, what did ya want to know?” I asked my colleagues.

“Do you wrap yourself in a towel in the locker room or no towel?”

Before I answer this, allow me to explain, well, partially explain. I’m a comfort guy. I place comfort above looks. Comfort for me isn’t what someone thinks of me — it’s how I feel, physically, and a towel wrapped around me after a shower feels like a heavy-breathing boa constrictor with a fever wrapped around my waist. So, no, I don’t wear a towel in the musty locker room.

“You just walk around naked, like an old man?”

I giggled. “Yes, like an old man.”

Whatever my physical age is, according to the locker room culture, I’m an old man.

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