Mirror, Mirror on the Wall.
While the Putney pool has cubicles in its ridiculously named mixed changing village(no Post Office, pub or supermarket),the YMCA has single sex open plan. Which of course means that nudity, or changing in full view of others is the deal and given the ideal of Christian brotherhood maybe the purpose.
A few months in and I realise there are different schools of how to behave in this environment. There is Old School. These are men who are not only old but obviously didn’t go to school. They wander around with their withered shanks and knobbly bits. They stand under the hair dryer as if in a three piece rather than the birthday version. Nudist or nutter? Who cares, but not easy on the eye. Maybe this is the YMCA doing its bit for Care in the Community. Way to Go.
Then there are the body builders. Big heroically muscled. The quest for the perfect body is not private, it is for public show. And where better than the mirror that is in between the toilet and the shower. And when better than chatting with another weight lifter about how many squats,pounds pressed were achieved that day. And in case you missed the session in front of the mirror these muscle bound philosophers will earnestly carry on their discussion as they power wander around the changing room. Their Greek like nakedness is not their problem, get a life, or at least some dark glasses.
Then there are those that have seen it all before ,been sportsmen in locker rooms all their lives, can walk from the shower to their locker,let the towel fall, have the clothes on before you can say jock strap.
Me? I have for some time been so embarrassed about the way I look that I have started shaving in the dark, so to be consistent I ask some of the young Christian chaps if its possible that I could turn off the lights while I move from speedos to boxers. Of course it means that I wear most of my clothes inside out for the rest of the day, but it does stop any peeping. No shame, no gain.
OMG. I thought I might google to see if anyone had written down any rules about nudity in the changing room. What a delightful surprise there is a whole cauldron of web sites devoted to the soft porn pleasures of watching (Chinese) women in changing rooms. Pleasant though these are(see link, over 16s only)) they do not help me in trying to work out the does and dont’s in open plan changing rooms. Self conscious wriggling under towels or all let it all hang out, wander and watch? Or tune into porn. Its a hard life.
Mumsnet do have a discussion thread on the subject, on how to react to nude men in mixed changing rooms. “makes me go aghast”,”only naked..not shameful..move away if it bothers you”,”report to reception”,”unnerving but nothing wrong”,”get over it”,”startling not offensive”. Which covers it(pun intended).