paul cadmus ymca locker room
Paul Cadmus ymca locker room

I recently read a two articles on the subject of nudity in men’s locker rooms. The NY Times posting talked about how architects’ designs are changing to fit needs for privacy in male locker rooms. The reaction post from Slate was critical of adult men being afraid of their bodies based upon insecurities. Both articles related this to a millennial complex due to after gym shower time in school locker rooms becoming non-existent in the 1990s. I personally feel it’s healthy from a stand point of curious natural (non-sexual) sexuality for men to want to or be able to view other men nude. Even though I felt the title of the Slate article was horse shit (If You Are Not Comfortable Being Naked Around Other People, You Are Not an Adult), I wasn’t in complete disagreement with its sentiments. Nonetheless I thought about my own past experiences and found two elephants in the room that weren’t examined in either.

One weekend, years ago at my local Bally’s gym (when I had a nice muscular body) I was completely nude at my locker having just gotten out of the shower. Out of no-where a co-worker pops up to discuss working out (ok). We chatted as I went about my business of getting dressed. That Monday at work, mysteriously it seemed like many of my gay subordinates needed extra attention doing their jobs. At the end of the day, my gay manager told me “So-n-so said he seen you in the gym this weekend. He said you have a beautiful body.” Sigh…I chopped it all up to these are some of the hazards of living in a “gay mecca” like Atlanta, GA and working in a large call center. While I appreciated the nod to my hard work in the gym, what about the privacy surrounding my nude body that was now erased at my place of employment?

Fast forward a couple of years while interjecting my continuous love affair with porn; there are thousands of amateur porn clips on the web featuring “hidden” or “spy” videos of unsuspecting men in locker rooms and saunas. I feel somewhat nervous when I see an unattended large gym bag particularly positioned on a locker room bench or counter. I feel like in this technologically advanced age, I would be a fool not to be suspicious of a possible video recording device located in a strategically placed gym bag.

I wholeheartedly understand the observation of millennial shame and insecurity as it relates to personal nudity; even though I don’t fall into that generation, I’m still a product of my own men’s locker room experiences. So if the day returns and I decide to shower in a gym locker room, I will dance the dance of keeping my towel on while shimmying and pulling up my underwear underneath.