The lady blogs are all a-cluck over a piece in the latest issue of Marie Claire in which writer Lea Goldman practically begs her fellow gym-goers to “put your clothes on already!” — in the locker room that is. Goldman writes that she’s tired of women using the gym locker room to perform various tasks that would otherwise be done in the confines of one’s home — clipping toenails, brushing teeth, plucking eyebrows, and even “blow-drying their girly bits” — while she is simply trying to “get in, get out.” The thing is, Goldman knows her discomfort is her problem, but she still wants everyone else to bend to her whims.I’m sure there are some women who share Goldman’s discomfort with being up close and personal with strange naked women in the gym locker room. On those rare occasions when I actually go to the gym and am sweaty enough to have to change out of my workout clothes, I usually find myself worrying that I’m starring at the wide variety of pubic stylings the locker room has to offer. But I know that I am responsible for keeping my curious gaze as subtle and private as possible. If “hot chick in the corner with bacon strip for pubes” wants to brush her teeth in the buff, who am I to demand otherwise?
Locker-room peacocks would, no doubt, counter that I’m insecure about my body, that such prudishness is the telltale mark of a chubster. True, I’m no size 4, and I haven’t entirely made peace with my fullish figure (I prefer to call it my Marilyn-after-cheesecake build) …. But my discomfort in the locker room runs way deeper than mere self-consciousness. The fact is, at age 32, I still find the bare female form pretty foreign. I wasn’t raised in one of those “naked homes,” where, I imagine, girls pranced around braless and changed with their doors open. My God-fearing, disciplinarian parents valued modesty in their three daughters and raised us to be reserved young ladies who’d sooner wait in an interminable line for a private fitting room than doff our clothes in a communal one. I didn’t even own a bikini until I was 30 (it’s seen about as much wear as my Crocs), and my sisters — one-piecers to the bone — were aghast when my husband bragged about how good I looked in it. It’s no wonder, then, that I treat full frontal — be it in movies or magazines or at the gym — with the same wonder-tinged-with-alarm that kids reserve for a solar eclipse: Stare too long and risk going blind.
To that I say, DON’T STARE. Goldman assumes that if you are at all leisurely in getting changed at the gym, you’re “peacocking” or flaunting your appearance or comfort with your own body. I doubt that’s true for many, but even if that was the primary motivation of trolling through the locker room naked, whether Goldman chooses to stare or not is her prerogative. And really, Miss Goldman, if the sight of a “doughy naked woman, her nipples the size of salami slices, holding aloft a compact as she carefully plucked her eyebrows” makes you that squeamish, no one is stopping you from taking your things into a bathroom stall and changing away from all prying eyes — including your own. [Marie Claire]