Monday, February 15, 2010

New Locker Room, Same Butts

Since I've been following my triathlon training schedule, I have been back in the pool swimming laps a few days a week. And you know, wow, I had forgotten how much I love swimming until I snapped on my goggles and pushed off the side of the pool, gliding through the water and finally being alone with my thoughts. One of my favorite parts of lap swimming is the solitude. It's impossible to carry on a conversation, you can't really see anyone, and its virtually silent except for the splish-splashing of the other swimmers, too caught up in their own little world to notice you. The pool where I swim has a cover on it for the winter, so it is even more quiet than it usually would be. As a chronic yabbermouth, having this forced quiet time is really therapeutic for me. Thirty minutes practically fly by, and at the end of my workout I feel relaxed, calm, and at peace.

And then I go into the locker room.

I've dressed in many a locker room, and over the years I have learned that each one has its own set of etiquette. As a newbie in this particular scene, I wasn't sure what the rules were. I am specifically referring here to nudity - each locker room has its own unwritten rules. Some locker rooms are full of women who stand in the corner, face the wall, change as quickly as possible, and make a stealth escape. Others have women who stand in the middle of the room, naked as a jaybird, and exchange recipes for bean dip. You just never know what you're going to walk into. I'd put myself somewhere in between. I don't mind being naked, but I do realize that not everyone wants to see me that way.

So I was halfway between getting out of my suit after my swim when I realized...I didn't know if this was a naked locker room or not. I was in a bit of a pickle.

A quick scan of the room provided no help. It was practically empty, with just two other women who were already dressed. I was going to have to just go with my gut, pun intended. I walked nonchalantly into the shower area and saw my first clue - there was no obvious place to hang my towel. This was a naked locker room, it was clear to me now. If people brought towels which which to hide themselves post-shower, there would be hooks. There were no hooks. I left my towel behind.

As I tried in vain to get the chlorine smell out of my hair and skin (it never works), I had to laugh at the absurdity of it. I mean, we're grown women, we know what we've got. And trust me, none of us has anything to be ashamed or particularly proud of. We've got c-section scars, stretch marks, cellulite, real boobs, and back fat. By the time we get back into our cars and drive back to our respective workplaces, all of those things have been effectively camoflauged, but in the locker room, its all the same butts.

So I walked my butt back to my locker (naturally I had chosen the one furthest away) and dared someone - anyone - to imply that my choice to go toweless was anything other than practical. No one did. No one cared. They'd seen it before.

The ear infection has sidelined any swimming for a while, but I still have my suit and goggles in my gym bag, ready to go when my ears return to normal. I'll remain camoflagued until then, but hopefully soon I'll be back, keeping it real in the naked locker room.

Have a healthy day, naked or not.


'Drea said...

I can barely swim but I love my time in the water. I find it as effective as yoga when it comes to getting centered and relaxing.

Twitter; roadUKRunner said...

Haven't swum in anger in years and it's great to get back to learning technique all over again. Male changing rooms just the same, only a problem when no space to turn around!

The (not so) Reluctant Athlete said...

Swimming is so therapeutic. Someone told me about this cover you can get for your iPod and headphones so you can listen to music while you swim and I said NO NO NO NO NO! I need my quiet time!

jenn w/ 2 n's said...

Ha! Great Post! I'm looking at training for a sprint tri but I am No GOOD at swimming. I don't know the right way to swim? I mean I won't drown but I don't think I could swim for too long. Any tips?