Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Talking to naked men

I want to go on record that I don't like carrying on conversations with naked men.

I've been a member of health clubs for about 18 years, so I'm pretty well versed in locker room etiquette. Rule number one is that you can carry on a conversation with someone you know until they drop their boxers. Then you both pretty much need to mind your own business in silence until you are dressed in workout clothes or street clothes. At that point the conversation can resume.

Rule number two is that you don't stay naked for more than 5 seconds. This means you don't drop trou and stand there admiring yourself in the mirror. You especially don't stand there for 15 minutes rubbing lotion on your body while everybody else is trying to follow rule number one and two.

And the ultimate rule is that, if you are naked, you don't try to chat up strangers in the locker room. When you are naked is not the best time to try and find new friends.

I am not homophobic. I just consider myself a modest person, respectful of other people's personal space. And I expect them to respect mine. After I've worked out, the last thing I want to deal with is some naked stranger standing there towelling off and asking me about my tattoo.

I've never liked being naked around strangers. Most of you are probably thinking this is probably just common sense. But I'm not talking about flashing, streaking or exhibitionism. I'm talking about those awkward situations where we are forced to disrobe in front of strangers (like a locker room or doctor's office). I was appalled in seventh grade when I learned I would have to take showers with 20 or so strangers in my PE class. But it was there where I learned the rules of locker room etiquette listed above.

While I'm on the subject of naked men, I want to dispel any myths that the average male body (including my own) has any aesthetic quality that anyone should have to endure naked. The cliche that "clothes make the man" is true. Most men look better covered up. I can't tell you how many times I've walked into a locker room and had to suppress screaming, "HOLY MOTHER OF GOD" after seeing some disgusting naked man parading around as if he was Adonis. Gravity wasn't a kind discovery.

At this point, I can imagine what many of you are thinking: TMI.

I agree. That's how I feel about locker rooms.

But I still don't like talking to naked men.
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