Tuesday, May 20, 2008

If you're reading this in the buff, I don't want to know...

I am a very social, outgoing person. I will talk to just about anyone, just about anytime. I will strike up conversations with complete strangers without a moment's thought. Yes, I am that person who starts talking to you over the banana selection in the grocery store, or while waiting in line at the post office, or sitting on the benches at the playground. I know this isn't everyone's cup of tea (including my own hubby, who is far more introverted than I) and that some people are positively put off by having a total stranger start chatting with them, however innocuous said chatting may be.

You know what puts me off? There is one thing, socially, that I cannot take. I have this thing about having conversations with total strangers if either those strangers or I myself am in a state of undress. Call me a prude, but yikes, I cannot stand it.

Unfortunately, my current fitness regime is now affording me at least six chances a week for Naked Stranger Chat to occur. You see, I've been going to the gym at least once a day to work out (trying to go while the kiddo is in school, but some days I have to bring her with me, deposit her in the Child Watch "Kids' Gym" play area and then do my thing) and those during-the-day hours are when the Y women's locker room is positively crawling with nude oldsters. (Thank you, Silver Sneakers program.) I mean, kudos to the seniors who are committed to keeping in shape and staying active and healthy. I salute you. I just prefer not to do it while either of us are au naturel.

And I'm not just talking about a friendly nod or "Hi" here, either, lest you think I am insanely uptight. No, I'm talking full-on, multi-paragraph conversational exchanges. Like the other day, when I was cornered en route to my locker by a larger, older woman who wanted to learn all about my iPod - or "iPer" as she called it. (I'd left my earphones in as an evasionary tactic, thinking if I clearly couldn't hear anyone, they wouldn't talk to me. Wrong. They just came closer and talked louder. Eek.) She started out three lockers down (a decent space) and advanced inexorably even as I backed away 'til there was no more away in which to back. Even worse, I was trapped between a row of lockers, the full length mirror (so it was like she was in front of and behind me) and a bench upon which sat another naked old bird. She was busily covering every last ounce of her skin with a generous slathering of lotion (seriously - at one point she lifted each boob in turn in order to lotion up the area underneath, thoroughly and meticulously) so clearly, I did not want to get any closer to that action. Lotion Lady joined in the iPod conversation, as they both have grandkids who are perpetually plugged into those silly contraptions, and it was an excrutiating four minutes before I could extricate myself and flee the scene. I've had other, slightly less terrifying conversational situations with the nekkid Silver Sneakers crew, (notably yesterday when the locker room was positively buzzing with chatter about the snow flurries we had in the morning. I know, snow in May - gah!) and I'm getting a bit better at not getting that "deer in headlights" look I've caught in my reflection (there are mirrors everywhere in the locker room) though I think it is more of a "naked appendage wobbling within my personal space border" look, which is perfectly understandable. I mean, these ladies put their business everywhere - on the benches (no towel underneath them), at the sinks, in the toilet stalls, using the hair dryers. Seriously, why can't they just get dressed first, do all these things later? Though as long as they get dressed before they talk to me, that's all I really care about. (I also make absolutely certain that no bare flesh belonging to either myself or the kiddo ever comes into direct contact with any of the benches, or the floor - last week, the kiddo and I observed a woman giving herself a Naked Pedicure. Not just a quick repair job on a stubbed toenail, mind you, but full-on, filing the callouses off the bottoms of her heels and clipping her toenails - there were nail clippings and bits of skin flying everywhere. Ew.)

Maybe when I'm a senior myself, I won't have such issues and will cheerfully stand around in the buff, talking to total strangers about my grandchildren, the weather, the temperature in the pool for today's Osteoarthritis Water Aerobics class, or which episode of Matlock or Murder, She Wrote was on the day before. Maybe. That day, however, is still a few decades off, so in the meantime, I'll have to come up with some other strategy to avoid Naked Chatting in the locker room. *shudder*


Anonymous said...

Yet another reason to take my funky butt home and shower and change in private!

Today's adventure cracked up both me and Sose.

Anonymous said...

I personally am not bothered by seeing other women nude in the locker room. If their comfortable with it then I'm comfortable with it. But of course I never stare at them anyway.

But I totally agree with you about how disgusting it is when some of them sit bare-butt on the benches.

Most of the women at my gym are young, so it's mostly the 14 through 40 year old women and girls that are the ones prancing around naked at my gym. But I have hear horror stories before about old women who like to spend very long periods of time naked in the locker room at other gyms or Y's.

I think part of the reason the old ladies are so comfortable with being naked in the locker rooms is because almost all of them were in school in the days when schools required all of the students to shower in those wide open group showers after gym classes? My high school stopped requiring kids to shower the year before I started there. Some of the girls still choose to shower on their own, but we didn't have to, and so some of us never did. But a couple of my friends were required to shower in gym class at their junior high and high schools, and so now when we go workout together at the gym, they are far more comfortable to shower and change, and even walk around nude in the locker room. I guess they just got so used to it in school that their no longer uncomfortable with it.

And no, I'm not naked as I'm reading or typing this. LOL.


Givinya De Elba said...

That is truly gross. I am sorry you have to contend with that. When I swim, I drive straight home.