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Out There: Locker Room Etiquette

Every so often, we need a refresher course.

Yesterday, while changing in the locker room post-swim, a very naked lady bent over inches from my face and started wildly shaking the water out of her hair.

Listen, I’m not a prude by any means, but if you’re going to be close enough for me to go spelunking, perhaps consider donning a pair of skivvies.

What happened to the days of towels and modesty? Isn’t there a social contract that states one shouldn’t talk to naked strangers? And just where did that hair in the drain come from?

It’s been made painfully clear that most gym-goers are in dire need of a refresher course on locker room etiquette. Let’s get to it, friends.

Cover up.

You may be proud of your rockin’ body, but the locker room isn’t quite the place to show it off. There’s no need to put your makeup on sans towel, and there definitely isn’t a need to sit on the club chair spread-eagle while watching SportsCenter.

Avert your eyes.

When you ask how someone got that scar or for the meaning of that tattoo, what you’re really saying is that you’ve been staring at his or her body, and that’s more than a little creepy.

No one wants to see you doing naked squats in the sauna.

Sauna dos: Sitting quietly with a towel on.

Sauna don’ts: Anything else.

Keep your cell phone in your bag.

What’s with all the amateur photography in locker room mirrors these days? I really don’t want to be caught mid-change in the background of someone’s #gymselfie. If someone is going to take a semi-nude photo of me, I demand the Kardashian treatment: proper lighting, strategic posing, and extensive Photoshop.

They have toilets there, you know…

I will unabashedly confess to peeing in the shower at home. It’s my domain, I clean it regularly, and dammit, if I want to drink a shower beer while peeing myself after a long run, that’s my right as a homeowner.

But I don’t own nor clean the gym shower, and neither do you. When I see a yellow rivulet heading toward the drain in a communal shower, there is not enough bleach in the world to make me stop screaming.

I just want to change my clothes—not my life.

I live in Utah, home of Mormons and multi-level marketing schemes. It’s not unusual for strangers to approach you at the grocery store or on the trails to try to sell you something, be it supplements or salvation. My husband, Neil, was changing at the gym last week when a naked guy sidled up just a little too close for comfort.

“Psst,” Birthday Suit whispered. When Neil didn’t respond, he got even closer: “Psst. You want this?”

Neil felt a nudge on his thigh. When he looked down, he saw Birthday Suit trying to hand him a pamphlet.

Do your nail clipping at home.

The same goes for body-hair removal, flossing, exfoliating, or any other personal grooming habits that leave behind visible sources of DNA. You’re not a member of One Direction; no teenybopper is going to sweep up behind you and collect your toenail clippings to sell on eBay.

If you wouldn’t do it in front of your mom, don’t do it in the locker room.

If you only follow one rule, make it this one.

If you have a locker room attendant, tip well.

They don’t make nearly enough money for dealing with your crazy.


About The Author:

Susan Lacke does 5Ks, Ironman Triathlons, and everything in between to justify her love for cupcakes (yes, she eats that many). Susan lives and trains in Salt Lake City, Utah with three animals: A labrador, a cattle dog, and a freakishly tall triathlete husband. She claims to be of sound mind, though this has yet to be substantiated by a medical expert. Follow her on Twitter: @SusanLacke