Friday, December 2, 2011

Awkward

I have lived in the US  for nearly 4 years. I think most of the little differences between Australia and the US I have accepted, or just no longer think about. In fact it was interesting for me having my family visit recently, as they pointed out many of the things that I found strange when I first arrived but now just consider normal.

There is however one thing in the US that I still find quite confronting. It's what Americans consider an acceptable amount of male nudity in a gym locker room. I am used to modesty being hidden behind a towel, with the obvious exception of when getting dressed. Board shorts being worn in the spa, sauna and steam room was and is the norm in Australia. So when I joined a gym over here, I was taken aback to see grown men happily parading around in the locker room with nothing covering up their boy parts. I thought perhaps it may have just been a liberal attitude to nakedness in the particular gym that I was visiting, but as I went to other gyms I soon realized that being out there and lovin' it is par for the course. The health club we use now is really strange though. I finally got my head around incidental nudity, i.e. a requirement to get from your locker to the shower and back. I'd also reasoned that wearing a towel in the steam room and sauna, or nuding up for the jacuzzi was more practical then bringing you own shorts and having to carry them home dripping wet. All fair enough, but when this locker room has a big screen TV with couches and men glady sit/stand around in the buff talking about the score of whatever sporting event is happening, I find it a bit too much.    
 

On to the even more awkward part. As the health club I use is in the area that I live and work, I have started to run in to people I know there. Perfectly ok when exercising, or in the lobby, or even while both parties are fully clothed in the locker room. I wasn't aware that my CEO is also a member of the same health club until I recently saw him in there. It was in the locker room, but thankfully I was heading out as he was heading in. So if I had to express my concern as a mathematical function:

CEO/Minion office nudity co-efficient = 0
CEO/Minion Locker room nudity co-efficient ≠ 0

If a million monkeys type away on a million type writers, I will eventually run into my CEO while one or both of us are in a state of undress. What is the protocol in this situation? Does the clothed party pretend not to see the naked party? Is there a requirement if both are naked to talk about something manly?

"How about those <INSERT LOCAL SPORTS TEAM>, this could be their year".