10 Reasons To Wear A Towel In The Locker Room

10 reasons to wear a towelI was getting dressed in the locker room at my gym last week when I overheard a conversation between two ladies about the tough cardio class we had all just barely survived. One lady was in her bra and panties, the other naked, but for a towel.  I looked over at them, about to commiserate on the ass-kicking, when I realized the woman in the towel looked familiar.

“You look familiar,” I said to her, forgetting my comment about the class. I am always a little nervous when I say the words “you look familiar,” because I have Prosopognosia and I expect replies such as, “that’s because I’m your sister in law, you moron,” or “that’s because I was at your house for dinner last week.”  But I was safe this time.

“Well, yes, you look familiar too,” she said smiling.  And then she told me her name.

“Oh,” I sighed, “you look familiar because you’re my gynecologist!”

And everyone around us had a nice laugh as she made a lighthearted comment about how she didn’t recognize me with my underwear on.

And this is what went through my mind: “Thank god she was wearing a towel, because I do not need to see my gynecologist naked.  And thank god I had my panties up because my gyno is only supposed to see me naked in her office exam room with my feet up in stirrups.”

I normally am naked for as little time as possible in the locker room, engaging in a method of covering up while the underwear goes up that employs not less than two towels and a few minor gymnastics moves.  But there are other women who seem completely oblivious to their nudity, happy to strut about naked in the locker room or to blow dry their hair dressed only in their birthday suits.  And yes, I think that is a bit odd.

I entered the locker room with a friend the other day, and her comment, after she almost collided with a naked tush, validated my feelings.  “I just can’t deal with the naked bodies,” she said.  She’s quitting the gym; I’m not (I like to eat way too much.) I’m not offended by the nakedness- I’m intrigued.  I’m fascinated by the complete and utter lack of modesty, and I truly think it is wonderful that women of all sizes and shapes love their bodies and are proud of them.  But do I need to love their bodies too?

At the risk of being un-PC and prudish, the answer is a resounding, “no.” I’ve given this a bit of thought (can you tell?) and I have come up with ten reasons why women might want to wrap themselves in a towel before they go prancing around the locker room:

  1. The body near you might be your patient or your client.  They don’t need to see you in the buff before you appear in court on their behalf (or worse, on your ex-husband’s behalf), before they drill your teeth, or before you show them their next dream house.  You can’t “unsee” a naked tush-especially one with cellulite.
  2. Twenty-somethings do not need a good look at what their bodies (however fit) will look like in thirty, forty or fifty years.  You naked old people might singlehandedly be contributing to an already unacceptably high suicide rate among young adults.
  3. Fifty year olds do not need reminders of what their bodies once were, or in my case–what their bodies once were not.
  4. Is there a term for the female version of the Pecker Checker? There is a natural curiosity when others have what you don’t have- huge, pendulous breasts for example, or hair versus no hair (don’t we all want to know if the Brazilian is in or out of favor?) I don’t want to look– really–but sometimes, you know, one can’t help oneself, especially if it’s (literally) in your face.
  5. The gym locker room is not your home bathroom. While gyms often do provide razors, Q-tips, soap and shampoo, note the lack of a.) doors, b.) a 10X magnifying mirror, c.) your toothbrush, d.) anyone passing gas with impunity (the men’s locker room may be another story.)
  6. There are cell phones with cameras in there.
  7. The gym provides a perfectly acceptable place for toweling yourself off in private.  Toweling off in the shower area prevents minor flooding on the locker room floor near where I am walking in my socks (and not because I think bare feet are bad…)
  8. The locker room is neither a place for a show (if you are especially fit), or a place to make a statement (if you are not quite so fit)-and whether you intend it or not, that is what it seems you are doing when you engage in any of the following activities completely naked: a.) blow drying your hair; b.) rubbing lotion all over your body; c.) applying your makeup.
  9. No one wants to sit in the spot in the sauna where your privates have been sweating.
  10. There are a lot more people who are uncomfortable with nudity than are totally comfortable with it.  Majority rules.

So ladies, let’s get the locker room etiquette down- especially at any gym where the towels are plentiful and free. I am happy you love your body–but remember–the person next to you might not.

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10 Reasons To Wear A Towel In The Locker Room was last modified: by

Ronna Benjamin

Ronna Benjamin

After 28 years of practicing real estate law, Ronna Benjamin realized how much she loved writing and how much she hated lawyering. She jumped into the world of writing at Better After 50 and never looked back! She is loving her “second act” as Partner and Managing Editor at Better After 50. Ronna writes humorously about the things BA50s are concerned about – personal experiences with adult children, the quirks of aging parents and in-laws, and her own emotional and physical health issues (i.e., insomnia, anxiety, and bulging waist lines). A native Bostonian who loves to spend time with her husband and three adult children, Ronna also enjoys sailing, cooking, running, and biking–and she tolerates skiing so she is not left home during family vacations. Check out her new book “We Are Better After 50 Because…” co-written by Ronna and her BA50 Partner Felice Shapiro, a perfect gift for the birthday girl in her 50’s! 

  11 comments for “10 Reasons To Wear A Towel In The Locker Room

  1. March 11, 2014 at 8:35 pm

    I am with you. Please towel up!

  2. March 12, 2014 at 10:15 am

    Great post… but I don’t agree. A safe, all female space like a locker room is the last place a woman should feel as if she has to cover up her body. Although I’m not in favor of anybody who parades around naked too damn much, I do feel that being naked in a changing room is inevitable and okay. if you don’t want to see me in my birthday suit, just avert your eyes. I’ll be covered up again soon enough.

    • Ronna Benjamin
      March 13, 2014 at 11:02 am

      Point well taken Roz, and I don’t have an issue with the naked bodies, just the ones that parade around naked!

  3. Barb
    March 12, 2014 at 11:12 am

    Okay, I confess…. it was me! This is hilarious Ronna. 🙂

  4. Cathy Chester
    March 13, 2014 at 10:01 am

    I always have a smile on my face after I read whatever – WHATEVER – you write, Ronna. I loved this piece.

    PS I cover myself up completely at the gym (when I was a member; notice past tense!)

    • Ronna Benjamin
      March 13, 2014 at 11:01 am

      oh thanks Cathy, just trying to find the light side of life! Glad it is working for one reader at least!

  5. Patty
    March 19, 2014 at 5:54 am

    i admire women who DO feel comfortable being naked in a locker room. I am not uncomfortable having someone see me naked and I don’t hide as I dry myself off. But I just am personally more comfortable being in my underwear after I’ve dried myself off. That said, I am totally fine with how other women like to do it. And I applaud women who are comfortable enough to walk around naked. I think we are raised to be uncomfortable with nakedness unless it is nakedness of a gorgeous body(and who has that?…I’m 66 and clothes are my friend for sure!), but I’d like that to change and “not give a damn” about how I or anyone else looks, especially in a locker room where we should at least feel free to get dressed in whatever manner is most comfortable for US, not the other person’s insecurities or issues. I’m with you Roz!

  6. July 31, 2015 at 11:11 am

    This is a funny commentary, but I have to disagree. My daughter grew up in Germany, where people are less hung-up about nudity in places where it naturally occurs, such as locker rooms and saunas. In fact, nudity is required in saunas there, though one sits on a towel, of course. All that exposure to naked female bodies in their infinite variety gave her, and me, a higher level of comfort with our own bodies and the understanding that almost no one looks like the airbrushed images we see in advertising. In the locker room, no one looks quite as good as you’d expect, nor quite as bad. And it’s a good thing, not a bad thing, to understand that youthful beauty is fleeting, and that normal wear and tear on the human body is, well, normal and nothing to be ashamed of. And it’s good to be confronted with the undeniable evidence that the human frame comes in many models, even though advertisers would have us all strive for one model. I say, let it all hang out, ladies–in the locker room, that is.

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