Locker room thoughts

As I’ve written before, I take aquagym classes at the local high school’s pool. Lately, I’ve been arriving at the pool around 7:30pm, which is when the (free) free swim period starts. From 7:30 to 8:30, it’s mostly kids and teens who are at the pool, and from 8:30 to 9:30 (at the same time as my class), the free swim is reserved to adults only.

When I come to the pool, I have no qualm to change into my bathing suit right there. No hiding in a cabin or the washroom, no putting on the suit before leaving home. I just undress and put on my suit. I lost my self-consciousness about undressing in a locker room back in high school when I was taking ice hockey classes and really had no time to go hide and change.

However, not every woman in the locker room is as comfy about changing, even though no one really gives a damn. That’s why I make it a point after every class to remove my suit and hop in the open showers to rinse off the chlorine from my skin and hair and suit. I’ve once seen another fat woman remove her suit after a moment of hesitation, probably after she saw that I could safely get naked without negative outcome (often all we need is an ice breaker to lead the way).

Now, since I’ve been coming before class to just swim around and goof off with my friend, I happen to be in the locker room at the same time as girls. Guess what? No way in hell am I going to hide away and change just because some kids are there too. One girl on Tuesday (about 10 or 11 years old) giggled nervously when she saw me naked, but her friend apologized to me for her. I figured that her giggling had to do with my breasts… Where do kids see naked bodies mostly? On the Web… so we’re talking mostly airbrushed and Barbie-cized bodies. So it’s not a bad thing that she gets to see my real body. After all, when she hits puberty, chances are she will feel awkward with her body, like most teens do.

Incidentally, when I’m at the pool with a whole bunch of kids around, I’ve yet to feel their stare on me. In the water, I’m just another person there, and that’s that. πŸ™‚

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10 Comments

  1. CJ_in_VA said,

    May 23, 2008 at 2:38 pm

    Amen. Locker rooms are for changing. I’ve never quite understood when other women (I can’t speak for the men – never been in a men’s changing room!) cram themselves into a tiny bathroom stall just so that other women don’t get a view of their bits. We’ve got areas with curtains in the locker room at my gym – sorry, too claustrophobic for me! I am what I am, in my 270 pound glory. If it bothers others, perhaps they shouldn’t look. πŸ˜‰

  2. Telle said,

    May 23, 2008 at 3:55 pm

    Actually this is one reason I haven’t tried swimming (I work at a college and have access to the pool over lunch). I’m scared to death of getting naked in the locker room. Maybe I’ll just have to take you as an example and get over it, because I think I’d really enjoy swimming over lunch once the pool opens again in the fall.

  3. ladyjaye75 said,

    May 23, 2008 at 4:26 pm

    You’ll see: we think that other people in the locker room are going to stare and judge but you know what? Most people just want to get changed and either hit the pool asap or get dressed and leave because the air is cold when you’re wet (at least it is where I go). Not saying you’ll never hit upon a bitch, but you’re way more likely to be greeted with utmost indifference.

  4. vivelafat said,

    May 23, 2008 at 5:32 pm

    I agree 100%. It is a little harder at the gym I go to, because I live in Vegas and a lot of the women in the locker room are cocktail waitresses and show girls (ie. thin, tan, blond and judgmental.) But I say screw em. I paid my money the same as they do, and if I want to get naked in the locker room, I think that’s my God Given right!

  5. Nicole said,

    May 23, 2008 at 6:02 pm

    Using a locker room regularly when I lived in Prague was immensely helpful to me in developing a better idea about what “actual” women look like. Czechs tend to be much less modest, and so swimmers of all ages and sizes would happily and unselfconsciously shed their clothes and shower, etc. It really had been ages since I’d seen any naked women outside of Hollywood, and it was a great wake-up call. Um, yeah, lots of women have bodies that don’t match up with Hollywood. Sounds stupid and obvious, but I really think I’d forgotten for a long time.

  6. May 23, 2008 at 6:50 pm

    I’ve been meaning to write a post about this too. I started going water aerobics two years ago, and somewhere along the way I just forgot to be self conscious in the locker room.

  7. lolarusa said,

    June 12, 2008 at 3:51 am

    I had a similar experience to Nicole’s while living in Finland. There are all sorts of situations in Finland where people of all ages, shapes and sizes get naked (such as public gyms and saunas) and I think it’s very good for an American psyche to see humanity in all its permutations, something we are unfortunately denied. I felt my self-consciousness lift like a weight that I didn’t know was there.

  8. Landwards said,

    June 19, 2008 at 11:57 pm

    Somehow i missed the point. Probably lost in translation πŸ™‚ Anyway … nice blog to visit.

    cheers, Landwards!

  9. Di said,

    July 10, 2008 at 1:40 pm

    It is funny that I just wrote a post about this same thing, from the other’s perspective.

    I don’t care if you walk around naked in the locker room, but I don’t like to do it. It is a matter of modesty. I don’t care what others think of my body, and I don’t think other women are going to stare.

    It is a cultural difference. I do not cover myself once I’m out of the locker room with my swimsuit on like most women at my gym.

    You can see the other’s perspective in my blog mylifeasanalien.wordpress.com

  10. Di said,

    July 10, 2008 at 4:05 pm

    Re: your comment to my posting: I see your point. Usually nobody is looking at others and they are just trying to go about their own business.

    I also think that is you are attending a gym, or swimming to improve your health, that should be commended instead of judging what the person looks like.

    Where I grew up, we don’t have the locker rooms and gym class like here. It is completely different, so I can’t relate, but I understand the fear of judgment aspect of it.

    I would hope that we all get to the point of not judging and of not caring about other’s judgment of us.

    Di


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