This article was originally published on Better After 50.
I 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?
- 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.
- 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.
- Fifty year olds do not need reminders of what their bodies once were, or in my case --what their bodies once were not.
- 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.
- 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.)
- There are cell phones with cameras in there.
- 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...)
- 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.
- No one wants to sit in the spot in the sauna where your privates have been sweating.
- There are a lot more people who are uncomfortable with nudity than are totally comfortable with it. Majority rules.
Read more from Better After 50:
50th Birthday Gift Ideas For Your Girlfriends
Parenting Adult Kids: When Do We Become Hands OFF Parents?
The Trouble With Millennials
Women and Alcohol At Midlife: Part 3