Locker Room Protocol

I had an interesting experience in a family locker room recently. Have you seen Mr. Mom? That 1980’s film where Michael Keaton does a disastrous/hilarious job as a stay-at-home dad? Remember the scene in the elementary school parking lot? “You’re doing it wrong!” Well, that was me. Except it wasn’t in a parking lot. It was a locker room. And I was naked.

Here’s the situation – I joined a new gym last month. In addition to the adult men’s and women’s locker rooms, there’s a family locker room. It’s coed, which sounds more weird than it is. The common areas – toilets stalls, sinks and hallways – are coed, but then there are private shower and changing rooms. Additionally there is a “Mother’s Shower Room” that is only for moms and young children. It’s less private (several shower heads on a wall with no partitions), but much more roomy than the tiny shower/changing rooms.

So, it was our second day at the new gym and the kids and I hit the family locker room after the pool. We headed straight to the Mother’s Shower Room, because I wasn’t about to repeat the scene from the previous day when my kids and I shared a shower head in a private shower room. I’ll sacrifice privacy for sanity any day. The kids and I were the only ones in the shower room. Each of us was standing under our own shower head (naked) shampooing our hair. The water was warm, the kids were smiling, likely one of them was even humming a happy tune. I was thinking about the poor suckers with multiple kids squished in the private shower rooms. “They don’t what they’re missing.”

A few minutes in, I looked up and noticed two tween boys standing by the entrance to the shower. Twist. Now, the shower room was not private, so I was expecting other moms and kiddos to join at anytime. But these dudes seemed a little too old to be showering with Mama, let alone somebody else’s Mama. I stared at them… and they stared right back (and up and down). My mind was working over a response – I felt like, “What? Haven’t you ever seen a naked lady?” was inappropriate, but couldn’t seem to come up with an alternative – when their Dad walked in and joined the staring contest. I was quicker on my feet this time, rapidly moving into the fetal position to cover the goods. After a few (too many) seconds of standing there, he ushered his kids out the door as I hollered, “EXCUSE ME! This is the Women’s Shower Room!!”

To which he responded, “No. It’s actually the Men’s Shower Room.”

Shit.

You’re doing it wrong.


The locker room is not a place I want to do it wrong. I’ve learned my lesson and doubt that I’ll ever botch things up in coed locker room again. But what about the women’s locker room? I just want to be normal and follow protocol. But, from my observation, protocol looks like hiding behind a much too small towel and making every effort to avoid a nip slip or moon landing. And while senseless nudity (i.e. doing makeup or hair in the buff) can be obnoxious, the privacy emphasis seems like overkill.

You know the anonymous naked person who minds her own business? Yeah, that’s what I’m aiming for. Not worried about staying covered, but also not strutting around unnecessarily. Just a normal, practical amount of nakedness.

But, I am wondering what the general consensus is regarding locker room protocol? If you would be so kind, please chime in here. What level of nudity do you think belongs in the locker room?

Also, my new parenting goal: Raise children who, by the age of 10, give me a head’s up if I am about to walk in on a naked man and his naked sons showering. That’s it. That’s what I’ll be focused on for the next 5 years.

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11 Comments

  • Reply
    Jamie King
    05/04/2016 at 5:28 pm

    This is hilarious. I once walk head on into the men’s locker room at LA Fitness wearing my headphones and looking down at my phone (I blame you, INSTAGRAM). Next thing I know, I look up and there before me is a totally nude, old man peeing in the urinal. He looks up, I look away. And run. Mortified.

    I think nudity in the locker room is necessary, unavoidable, and fine….to a degree. But senseless, do your hair / makeup, or stand around with one leg up (ahem, spread) on a bench kind of nudity is….uh, no thanks. 🙂

    HAHAH. Sorry that happened to you. I’m bound to make that mistake someday. I’m sure of it.

    • Reply
      hellodaynatalie
      05/04/2016 at 7:24 pm

      Oh man. The one leg up visual! I’m with you on the nakedness – can we all just not cross the line?!

  • Reply
    sugarnightnight
    05/04/2016 at 7:33 pm

    Ok… you got me on this one!!! Truly at your expense, I have been laughing so hard my cheeks hurt. I am so glad you have a sense of humor. I think your parenting goal is achievable! Love how you live out loud!

    • Reply
      hellodaynatalie
      05/04/2016 at 7:36 pm

      Thank Jenn. Yeah, I think I’m good on that goal too. I think my kids would just run away screaming.

  • Reply
    natjtan
    05/05/2016 at 3:19 am

    Oh Jezus, and only a few weeks old new member! Let’s hope you’re not forever know as the lady who showers in the guys changing room!

    I always say if you have any body hang ups spend a summer in a Spanish changing room or at a Spanish beach. Those ladies don’t give a hoot. They sunbathe toplesss, swim topless (not for me. I may unite my top if face down, but it’s on face up. However I change into my bra before I leave and you just have to whip in on and off. No one looks anyway even if you think they are), order drinks topless. In the changing room, they chat naked, mums deal with kids naked, they walk to the showers holding the towel, not wrapped in it (I’m a little uncomfortable however with the 9 year old kid that accompanies his mum. He’s a nice boy, but is old enough for the guys changing room), you just go with it, follow along and get on with it!

    Sadly I haven’t any changing room tales as good as yours. In fact they’re tame, but I never understood the girl in London who got changed in the toilet.

    • Reply
      hellodaynatalie
      05/05/2016 at 10:20 pm

      I’ve got to get to a Spanish locker room! Sounds like quite the experience! Ha.

  • Reply
    Intentionally Fit Life
    05/05/2016 at 9:01 am

    Oh my gosh!! I would be mortified!!!! Mostly because I just don’t like being naked and I see the same dads in the pool/locker room often and well, that’s just awkward. I think I’m still blushing just from imagining this happening to me. As far as general locker room nudity, I guess I don’t get it why some women strut around with a towel around their neck while completely naked to do their hair or makeup..,but that’s just cause I don’t like being naked. Lol!

  • Reply
    Ella Friberg
    05/05/2016 at 9:05 am

    Oh my gosh!! I would be mortified!!!! Mostly because I just don’t like being naked and I see the same dads in the pool/locker room often and well, that’s just awkward. I think I’m still blushing just from imagining this happening to me. As far as general locker room nudity, I guess I don’t get it why some women strut around with a towel around their neck while completely naked to do their hair or makeup..,but that’s just cause I don’t like being naked. Lol!

    • Reply
      hellodaynatalie
      05/05/2016 at 10:21 pm

      I’m so glad I haven’t seen the dad around. The tweens on the other hand…

  • Reply
    kristinstorey
    06/02/2016 at 9:07 am

    Oh my goodness! I got a good laugh out of this. That’s all. Thank you. Sending love.

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