THIS MORNING, FOLLOWING A WORKOUT AT MY GYM (a rather irregular act for me, but that’s for another posting), I went into the locker room to gather my things. Standing at a sink, a totally naked man was shaving.
Now, I suppose that sounds like a dog-bites-man lead, if there ever was one. A locker room is not such an unusual place to see a naked man shaving. But for some reason, whenever I see guys doing this sort of thing, I don’t know, it unsettles me. Let me explain.
I realize that naked guys in locker rooms are rather like raisins in Raisinets; without them, locker rooms would have no identity or purpose. But I’m not talking about the vast majority of us guys who dry off and change clothes, exposing ourselves only briefly to our locker mates. Nothing wrong with that. Again, that’s what locker rooms are there for.
I’m talking about the guy who walks around with nothing on and is in no apparent hurry to get dressed. He carries on conversations in the buff, attends to himself and just, shall we say, hangs out. I’ve seen this not just in the gym I go to now, but in many such locker rooms over the years, and this type of guy seems to show up in all of them.
He doesn’t seem to be engaging in exhibitionism, and there’s nothing sexual about it. It’s more like he has a supreme sense of comfort and confidence. It is as if this is his zone of liberation, and he’s going to savor the privilege slowly and luxuriously as he would a glass of rare scotch.
I’m real happy for these guys and even a little jealous of how comfortable they are with themselves in this state (maybe I’m too up tight). But their comfort is just a bit too unselfconscious for my taste. It's off-putting.
Not only that, some of these guys really don’t freshen up the décor when they’re completely unclothed, if you know what I mean. They're not too easy on the eye. Many of them would help things a lot by just covering up.
Also, every once in a while I’ve actually known one of these guys and had to carry on a conversation with him. It’s pretty difficult, and distracting. You have to concentrate intensely on not losing eye contact, which is tougher than it sounds.
I'm not going to make a big deal out of this. This issue does not deserve to be treated as any more than a pet peeve. I will not crusade or pillory these guys for what amounts to a clash between my sensibilities and theirs.
But I don't know if I can take watching another one of these totally naked guys sitting on the locker room bench, with one leg up in the air so he can clip his toenails. Can't he do that at home?