A Woman Debates Getting Naked in the Fitness Center Locker Room.
BY PAIGE TOWERS
You’re going to do it. You’re going to take your clothes off in this room full of other adult women because you are an adult woman too and there will be no more of this junior high let-me-hide-my-lady-parts bullshit. You are paying $90 a month for this place, plus that extra fee for the specialized Pilates classes and the locker rental, and that means that you deserve to treat this place like your personal boudoir. You should not have to hide yourself away in a sticky bathroom stall in order to change into your yoga pants. No, ma’am. Today, things change. Today, you are going to let your nips fly.
Yes—they are going to fly.
No more putting the sports bra on over the real bra, and then reaching back to unhook the first bra and wrestle it out from underneath the second bra, thus risking scapular injury before you even get to the kettlebell super thrusts because, seriously, they’re just breasts. BREASTS.
Or dare you even say that they’re just tits, which maybe makes you sound even cooler, more relaxed and, like, whatever, I’m just walking to the steam room with my tits flying because it doesn’t matter.
Look at the woman over there—her only clothing item a lacy black thong, standing with one bronzed leg up on a bench, leaning over and rubbing lotion onto her skin while chatting in Spanish with her friend, who is also only wearing panties. She’s not self-conscious about her body, about her tits, about the cellulite on the backs of her thighs and, honestly, doesn’t that look fun? Wouldn’t it be great to not be terrorized by the possibility of a labia slip? Wouldn’t it be freeing to rub lotion onto your skin with so much fervor that you become as slick as a fetus, instead of just lotioning up your hands and face like a nun? Enough of trying to prevent indecent exposure; enough of clandestine undergarment wrestling sessions where your mind is screaming, why are these panties sticking to my thighs, just get on my body already, DAMMIT.
Ahh, but Miss Thong, look at the way her small boobs swing around when she’s laughing. I really admire—
Oh my god. Did she just see you looking at her? Oh my god, I think she did. Why didn’t you look away quicker? Does she think you’re a pervert? What is she saying to her friend now? She’s telling her friend that you’re a pervert. I didn’t recognize any of those Spanish words she just used, it’s been almost a decade since high school, so—fuck, just keep your head down. Keep your head down and breathe.
Breathing, breathing, breathing… (ocean breath)
No, you know what? You need to relax. What happened to this place being your boudoir/nips-flying oasis? This is a not like that time when Tiffany Fisher told the whole girls’ cross country team that she saw your tampon string when you were peeling your leggings off, or how Mandy Nelson was transferred to the alternative high school after she apparently demonstrated how to do the Tootsie Roll in the showers after swim practice. Just show this woman and her friend that you could really care less about you or them being naked, and then they won’t suspect you of anything weird. They’ll just think: oh, another person of my gender not wearing clothes in the locker room—how completely acceptable.
Look at that group of naked Korean women over there—they just literally scrubbed each other’s backs with a fucking loofah. And see that lady by the towel rack? Judging from the way her skin sags she must be ninety, yet she doesn’t care. She’s past all that pull-your-underwear-off-one-leg-at-a-time-from-beneath-your-running-shorts nonsense; she’s just here to walk on the treadmill at 1.5 mph for as long as she goddamn pleases.
So no more messing around. Make this locker room your bitch. Do it. Right now. Drop trou, girlfriend. Don’t even neatly arrange your gym clothes and shoes on the bench so you don’t have to bend over to the floor to grab them and risk a butt flash. Show these women that this is not uncomfortable for you, show them that you don’t care if they gossip later about how your pubic hair is straight, or how Tiffany was right: your hips have gotten bigger over the summer—show them.
SHOW THEM, NOW. Three, (ocean breath), two…
SUGGESTED READSIn the Locker Room at Halftime
by Zhubin Parang (12/8/2004)
Open Letters: An Open Letter to the Gentleman Blow-Drying His Balls in the Gym Locker Room
by Ross Beeley (12/27/2011)
It’s Naked Time
by Colin Nissan (6/23/2010)
RECENTLYA New York Times Wedding Announcement Shortly After the Advent of the Time Machine
by Raj Desai (5/5/2016)
Inside Witnesses: One Crime’s Many Narratives: Gina Comes Back
by Marti Jonjak (5/5/2016)
List: I’m Not Sure How to Weigh In On This, But I’m Going to Weigh In On This
by Janelle Blasdel (5/5/2016)
POPULARI Would Rather Do Anything Else Than Grade Your Final Papers
by Robin Lee Mozer (5/2/2016)
List: Titles of Bach Chorales, as Translated By My Niece After One Semester of German
by Nolan Bonvouloir (4/15/2016)
How to Negotiate a Raise (If You’re a Woman)
by Maura Quint (4/15/2016)