Gym etiquette- Is it just me?

Is it just me?

Several months ago, in one of my more healthy and productive stints, I was at the gym.  I was feeling pretty good about myself at the time because I had finally achieved my goal and gotten to the point where I could run 3 miles and not immediately go into cardiac arrest, even if my beet-red face made me  look like I might perish at any moment.  I had been really working at it and my ticker was good, but my hips were staging a coup for running in shoes that weren’t really designed for that kind of running.  I guess the $30 TJ Maxx sneakers I had been training in weren’t exactly ideal.

Anyway, to celebrate my achievement and in an attempt to prod myself toward continued progress, I splurged and bought myself a fancy new pair of running shoes, like the real ones that cost a gazillion dollars.  For some reason, they only make running shoes now in obnoxious designs and colors.  Gone are the days of the discreet and low profile athletic shoe.  I guess they figure if you are crazy enough to run further than a city block for recreation as opposed to dodging raindrops or bullets and if you spend enough money on them to finance a small country for a month, then you should probably flaunt it so they made these iridescent shoes to help get you noticed or something.

My Adidas

My Adidas

I did not buy my shoes for the looks of them, but honestly for the function.  I needed something that wasn’t going to jam my right hip all the way up to my shoulder blade every time I landed my stride.  So, I got a pair of wonderful Adidas Supernova Glides.  And they really are wonderful.  Luckily, they mended my hip and I have had no injuries to report since making that modest investment.  And they most definitely got me noticed.

I was on my lunch break from work and had just finished up my 3 miles on the treadmill.  I was down in the locker room getting dressed to head back to the office.  I was hunched over a bench in the little section in between a bank of lockers when a woman sauntering back from the showers stopped and commented on my shoes.  She was telling me how much she really liked the color of them and how funky they were.  I didn’t initially look up while we were talking because I was busy trying to get out of said shoes and gym clothes and back into my work clothes.

I am a pretty modest person, even in locker rooms.  I just feel like clothes were made for a reason other than to make J. Lo and P. Diddy bajillionaires and in my case that was to cover my privates and to keep me from getting cold, even in 78 degree weather.  Hence, being naked just isn’t really my thing.  I much prefer being overdressed than underdressed.  Yes, I know this may make me out to be a prude.  So be it.

Well, my shoe admiring friend obviously didn’t have this particular hang-up because when I finally cast my glance in her direction my gaze landed a foot too low.  She was completely without apparel.  Naked.  The funny thing is that she actually did have a towel in her possession in her right hand but she clearly had no intention of using it for the proper purpose.  I was very disoriented at this point.  Wait a minute… I thought I was at the Y.  How did I end up in some B rate porno?  At this point, as I was trying with all my might to fix my eyes on a more neutral focal point, she was getting into significant detail about my shoes and her numerous podiatric issues.  By this time, I could tell that she was in no real hurry and would be perfectly content to sit around and have a very naked conversation about shoes or foot ailments or the absurdity of towels right there in the middle of the locker room.  What was going on here?

What is so wrong with me that this left me completely flustered?  I did everything I could to keep my line of sight just above her head.  I didn’t want to see anymore of her stuff than I had already seen- at all.  But here’s the thing- if she was confident in her non-scuplted, Medicare aged body, why couldn’t I be happy and proud in my pre-40 body?  But,  prude that I am, I almost felt like she was taunting me with her towel held out at arm’s length, draping across her wrist like a handbag and nowhere near the rest of her as if her body and the towel were magnets of the same charge and thus repellent.

Is it just me or should conversation be kept to a minimum, even in a locker room, until all clothing has been properly restored to its rightful place or should we just treat locker rooms as a naked communal space where we divulge medical histories, trade fashion advice, swap recipes and maybe pass around a hookah pipe?  Isn’t there an unofficial, unwritten law against that somewhere?  Shouldn’t there be a gym etiquette document posted prominently in the locker room that specifically discourages any kind of naked interactions?  Or is it just me?



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