So, I’ve joined enough fitness clubs to know that I just shouldn’t join any more fitness clubs. So, what did I go and do? I joined a fitness club last month. And I already regret it.
Okay, I don’t really regret it. It’s good for… well… fitness. But the one hesitation I had in joining a club was that too many people who belong to fitness clubs do not know and abide by the Locker Room Rules, and it drives me CRAZY.
Now, I know that probably only 3 or 4 people who belong to the club I belong to will read these rules, so this will probably have minimal benefit and will amount to little more than a means of catharsis for me. That’s fine. I also already know that I’m going to be too hard on some anonymous people who are probably really fine folks in real life (i.e. non-fitness club life). Well, sorry.
So, just read these, picture smoke coming out of my ears, don’t take me too seriously, have a laugh, and for crying out loud follow the rules.
Rule #1A: Don’t be naked for longer than you need to be.
For the love of all things that are holy, would you please put some freakin’ clothes on, you nasty, dirty old man?! I cannot stress this enough. I don’t want to see you combing your hair with nothing on but your black socks. Who the heck puts their socks on first when they get dressed anyway?! Those come at least after underwear, if not after t-shirt and pants too. I mean, are you serious?! Is this a joke? Or some sort of experiment in social perversion? Does something happen when you turn 70? Does all modesty go right out the window? Do you just figure that everyone’s got more or less the same stuff, and you’ve seen it all in your seven decades, so no one’s going to mind?! Have you given up on life? I really want to know. I don’t hang out that naked in the privacy of my own home. Why in God’s name would you just mosey around completely naked (except for your dress socks) in the locker room—combing your hair, shaving, brushing your teeth, talking to your other old, nasty naked buddies, as well as some younger strangers who are awkwardly trying to be polite and frantically trying to escape from you even though they’re not fully dressed yet?
Please. Please. Get undressed, walk to the shower, towel off, walk (promptly) back to your locker, at least get some underwear on, then (and only then) take care of any other business you have in the locker room. This one is common sense, people.
Rule #1B: If you’re naked, don’t sit on anything.
The other day I was getting ready to set my book, iPod, and water bottle down on the bench by my locker so that I could lock my locker and head out to the gym. Suddenly, nasty old naked guy (see Rule #1A) sat down butt-naked on the bench right where I was going to set my stuff. First of all, don’t ever get that close to me when you’re naked unless you’re my wife. Ever. Ever. Second of all, if I had gotten to the locker room 10 minutes later, I would unknowingly have had nasty old naked guy butt residue on my book, iPod, and water bottle. I’ll never set those things there again. But, where am I supposed to set them?! For the love of God, can’t you put a towel down?! Can’t you just get dressed?! Do you sit down on stuff while you’re naked at home? No way, your wife would go ape! Just have some dignity and get some underwear on, man! Please!
Rule #2: Don’t strut, because we’re not impressed.
The only thing that drives me more crazy than nasty old naked guy is “I’m-on-a-beach-pickin’-up-chicks-in-my-mind” guy. Fellas, this is just a bad practice inside or outside the locker room. Outside the locker room, it’s a little more understandable, I suppose. If my head were as empty as yours and I had nothing else to offer a woman but big muscles, I might do the same thing. But in the locker room? Really?! You’re strutting in the locker room? For whom? Do you think I’m going to reconsider my sexual orientation? Do you think I’m going to tell all my female friends about you? Do you think I’m going to drive as fast as I can to work and tell all my single female coworkers that there’s a handsome, strutting young buck with extremely low self-esteem in the locker room at the gym where I work out and that they should get over there immediately? Dude, you need a role model.
Rule #3: No talking on the cell phone.
Nobody is interested in hearing you make an appointment for your next colonic, and we’re not impressed hearing you make deals with your stock broker. You are a legend in your own mind and you’re not impressing anyone. In fact, it demonstrates that you are an idiot. At the very least, please don’t talk on your phone while you’re standing next to me at the urinal or sitting in the stall next to me. I mean, who are you talking to?! Would they even want to talk to you if they knew what was going on on the other end of the line? Unless you’re trying to talk someone through how to diffuse an atomic bomb, it can wait. Okay, rock star?
Rule #4: Give some serious thought to your choice of locker.
A general rule of thumb is that everyone enjoys a space of at least two to three open lockers on either side of their locker. If the locker room is as empty as it typically is at my gym, and you pick the locker right next to mine (especially if I’m standing right there and am not fully clothed), there’s something wrong with your head. I’m immediately in defensive mode. I’m assuming that you’re not right and I’m either about to be mugged or… worse (let your mind wander). You make one wrong move toward me and you’re getting kung fu-ed right in the grill. Just leave me at least 2-3 locker’s worth of space, best buddy. It’ll be much safer for both of us.
Rule #5: There’s a time and a place for making new friends.
The workout area is a great place to make friends, friend. The locker room isn’t. If you don’t know me, don’t talk to me there, unless (and only under these conditions) we are both more or less fully dressed and I am not in some compromising position. If I’m in my boxers and I had to bend over to put my socks on (which come AFTER boxers [see Rule #1A]), don’t come up behind me and talk to me. Just don’t ever do that, pal. Whatever you have to say can wait. Seriously, putting on socks only takes like 5-10 seconds. Don’t people know this? Is this not common knowledge? Am I doing it wrong? Is there some nuance I’m missing? Here’s some hints: if I’m avoiding eye contact, giving short answers, moving away from you, putting chairs or other furniture between me and you, or calling for security, it’s probably because I’m not dressed yet and I’m not quite ready to make friends just yet. Nothing personal.
Rule #6A: Clean up after yourself.
Seriously, I thought we all learned this one in preschool. Didn’t we? Was I at some advanced preschool for the highly gifted where they taught advanced subjects like “Throw your used band-aids in the trash – 101”? Or, “Don’t leave your underwear on the floor when you go play – 101”? I really don’t think I’m asking too much, here, fellas. Why in the world would you leave your bandages in the shower area? Am I supposed to use the shower now and have whatever affliction ails you now oozing down between my toes? Razors, soap wrappers, soap… are you leaving them for me? Are you trying to be thoughtful? Like I’m going to pick that up and gratefully use it after it’s been exposed to your (unmentionables). Take it away with you. Your mother does not live at the gym and is not going to come in and clean up after you. YOU NEED TO PICK IT UP.
Rule #6B: Put your towels… geeeeeeez, I mean c’mon this is so obvious!!!
See that bin that says “TOWELS” on it? It’s not an advertisement. It’s not some metaphysical statement about the existence of towels. It’s not where you get them either, smart guy. It says that because that’s where the gym staff would like you to put your towels when you’re finished with them. Notice there are no “TOWELS” signs on the floor, on the lockers or on the hooks outside of the shower stall. That’s because the towels don’t belong there. And if you say anything to me about “that’s what the janitors get paid for,” I will kung fu your face and then tell old nasty naked guy to come see if you’re okay and if you need a hand.
Am I being unreasonable? Seriously, I just want the regular, accepted rules of society to apply to locker rooms too. That’s all. In civilized society, most people behave like civilized human beings. Until they get into a locker room. Then all of a sudden they’re 2 year-olds who just found out that it’s fun to run around without a diaper on and talk to people while they pee on the floor and play with their toy cell phone.
Get it together folks. B out.