The Women's Locker Room is a Weird Place to Be

Submitted by L_ANSARI on Fri, 09/15/2006 - 3:50am.

Day 44
September 13, 2006

Did I actually write “2007” as the date for my last blog entry?!?!

Ok, wishful thinking perhaps. At least by 2007 I would be finished with this godforsaken diet. Who knows, by next year I might be a svelte 120 pounds! Maybe I will be the Aikido/Jujitsu/Kung Fu master I have always dreamed of being, have six pack abs and crack heads without sweating like Uma Thurman in Kill Bill (Vols. I or II, your choice. They both rock). After a hard day of cracking heads (for I will be compelled, nigh, duty bound, to use my powers to fight evil bad guys) I will drop by a bookstore to admire a display of my latest best selling novel and then fly home with my Supersonic MAC 12 Turbo booster Jet Pack. Yeah, maybe that’s what I was thinking.

Since beginning the Jenny Craig diet I realized early on that exercise was not optional. I have been dragging myself to the JCCSF at the corner near my house under the guise of “getting in shape.” I believe it is really just another way to schedule in an activity that will irritate me and stomp on my self-esteem. But I digress. After attempting Pilates and never quite getting into it, I decided to suck up my fear and utilize the whole fitness area. I don’t know about you, but I have been afraid to the point of developing unhealthy Howard Hughes-like levels of paranoia about working out in front of other people. I’m not one for calling attention to myself and the fitness area is a huge open room thundering with the sound of dozens of synchronized feet pounding on treadmills. The community center experienced a complete overhaul a few years ago and the new and improved gym is chock-full o’ state of the art equipment which for me translates into “intimidating” equipment.

As I mentioned in an earlier blog entry, I am proud of myself for taking a deep breath, approaching the information desk and quietly asking, “Can I sign up for an orientation please?” But this also meant, as much as I didn’t want to, I would have to use the women’s locker room. I feared the day I would have to learn the locker room system. I don’t get why this freaked me out so much. I guess I imagined that as soon as I walked into it a big sign would appear over my head saying “Novice! Never been in a gym! Totally out of shape! Will sneak Oreo cookies later!” I didn’t want to have to deal with it. But since I was using the weight machines and the cardio equipment, there was no way I could justify getting in the car and driving home dripping with sweat. It just felt oogy. I realized I had to relent and use the gym shower like everyone else in the world who isn’t like Howard Hughes. I bit the bullet and learned how to use the lockers (I still go to the one all the way in the back corner) and the showers (that was a traumatizing day). But I have come to one conclusion after spending a decent amount of time in the locker room.

The women’s locker room at the gym is a weird place to be.

I have often thought of writing about it but other blog entries have muscled out the gym story. But now, its’ time has come.

The locker room wing at the JCCSF is a big open room full of all kinds of people in a various states of pre or post workout. There are the new moms who are drying off with their babies after a “baby beluga” swim class. I say “swim” but really it’s moms in the kiddie pool holding onto the babies who get their feet wet a little. These moms tend to gather by the back lockers where they can put their babies on the carpeted floor while they get dressed, safe in the knowledge that at best a child can maybe roll over a few times but really isn’t going anywhere. I love swim class day. Nothin’ cuter than six or seven babies piled on the floor wearing towels with froggy eye or bunny ear hoods. Oh my God. Cutest thing ever. I guess I’m partial as well since my son was a “beluga buddy” last year.

Then there are the really elderly ladies who like to use the pool and sauna. I heard a gaggle of ladies just last week talking about the glory days as flappers in the 20’s. One woman exclaimed proudly that she could still do the Lindy Hop… or was it the Charlston? She did a little kick with her right leg and laughed. All the other women laughed with her. I was tempted to walk over and introduce myself just so I could get their stories. I’m sure they have quite the stories to tell. Occasionally you will see someone crying or whispering urgently to someone else. People talk about their husbands, their kids, and they gossip, gossip, gossip like crazy.

As far as I have come, I am still irked by the fact that I can’t bring myself to disrobe in public. I’ve tried. I just can’t take off all my clothes in front of other people. I never realized I was so shy. I go into the little dork booth in the back corner of the room next to the ironing board (yup, I said ironing board) and quickly throw on my underwear. Underwear and bras are ok. I could dance around the whole gym and do a little shimmy on the make-up counter in undergarments, no problem. But exposing my naked butt to strangers? Uh-uh. Not in my lifetime. Or not until I get a rock hard a@! and lose the dimples.

But I am in the minority. There is a reason the two booths with curtains are always available. It is because everyone else is wandering around completely naked. And they’re not just naked; they are naked and blow drying their hair, naked and chatting with their naked neighbors, naked and stretching, naked and snacking… Sounds hot, like the stuff of men’s fantasies, right? But the truth is there are many kinds of bodies in the world and many of the bodies I would never want to see naked in a million years are in this particular women’s locker room refusing to put on clothes.