I’m sure everyone has seen the Miller Lite Man Laws commercials where guys like Burt Reynolds and Jimmy Johnson sit around and pass laws men are supposed to follow. I have a brand new set of rules I’d like to call “Man Laws for the Fitness Club Locker Room.”
I started working out again after I realized that I needed a health club to provide me with the equipment and the impetus to go. I had cancelled it not wanting to pay the cost, but I realized that I was paying a cost because I wasn’t getting in shape without it. Sigh. So, I returned to the “fitness club.”
I do not refer to it as a gym because fitness clubs (Bally’s, 24 Hour Fitness, et al) aren’t the same thing. They aren’t dark, sweaty basketball courts for washed out NBA players or neon-lit weight rooms where you go only if your “guns” can hoist your own weight in iron and the mandatory dress code includes sliced up t-shirts and baby oil. Fitness Clubs are for guys like me who have no intention of either becoming power lifters or professional athletes. We are the everymen, the chubby men. We use the word “impetus” freely and without a dictionary.
However, there is a problem with this arrangement – the locker room. Athletes who share teams and locker rooms can also share showers and group nudity, no matter how creepy that may be, because they have to do this every day. They get paid to be naked with other guys. It’s like gay porn without the gay or the porn…well, most of the time.
But, when you are at a fitness club, I maintain that there must be rules in place, rules that allow total strangers to be in a closed environment and feel at ease, even comfortable.
Henceforth, I present you with my Man Laws for the Fitness Club Locker Room:
Law #1 – Nudity Must Be Kept to a Minimum
There seems to be a really scary inverse proportion when it comes to age, weight and nudity. In the FC locker room, the older and larger you are, the more likely you are to be naked…often. Apparently, there is very little or no nudity in the women’s locker room. Despite all our imaginings of towel fights and joint showers for the ladies (i.e. Porky’s or Stripes), this does not occur. What is good for them should be good for us. Stay covered and change as quickly as possible. When you change, remain facing your locker until you have on clothing or are covered by a towel.
Law #2 – You May Not Walk to the Shower or Stand on the Scale Naked
Dude, if you weigh 250lbs with no clothes on, you aren’t going to add 10 pounds with your slacks and dress shirt. Would it kill you to weigh yourself with at least a towel on? And, why must you walk to the shower with your towel over your shoulder? Cover up, bro.
Law #3 – You Must Wear Flip Flops or Shoes at All Times
I don’t want to accidentally touch the tile floor and end up with your foot fungus. Enough said.
Law #4 – The Hand Dryer is NOT for Your Body or Your Gear
What the hell? When did this become appropriate? Just because your back hair needs drying doesn’t mean you can stand naked in front of the hand dryer! When you are dressed, you may be allowed to briefly dry your hair with the hand dryer, but at NO time may you be allowed to dry the sweat from your clothing or workout gear. Who thinks this is ok? Good lord!
Law #5 – When Using Spray Deoderant or Cologne, Proximity Rules Must Be Followed
No one wants to breathe in your Right Guard. No one! And no matter how hot your girlfriend says it is for you to wear Polo, it’s not ok for you to spray it on like you are washing down your dog when your locker is 2 feet from mine. There are few things more annoying than a cloud of deoderant wafting through the room because you need 10 seconds for each pit.
Law #6 – Respectful Nods and Greetings Are Appropriate and Customary
It is completely appropriate and even respectful to give a cursory nod or “hey, how’s it goin’?” to your fellow locker room members. It is not ok to start up conversations about controversial topics (religion, politics, body hair or odor) with anyone in the locker room. Just say hello and walk away.
Law #7 – Respect the Space of Others
Look, just because you take up half your bedroom laying out clothes and leave your wet towels laying all over the bathroom floor at home doesn’t mean it is ok here. Keep your stuff in a small perimeter of space and move as quickly as possible to clear the space for others. Don’t throw your wet ANYTHING on the floor and don’t leave it there while you workout or, even worse, for employees to have to pick up. These people aren’t your mother. And I don’t want to step over your soggy, bacteria-filled towel on my way to the door.
Law #8 – Do Not Make Weird Noises or Awkward Gestures
What is up with this? Guys groaning and shorting, shaking their bodies like wet dogs? Who are these people? For the 10 or 15 minutes you occupy that locker room each day, try to pretend you are a completey normal human being and not the total spazz that inhabits the other 23 hours and 45 minutes of your day.
Law #9 – If You Are Dripping, Stay Away from Others
Nothing is creepier than a guy standing inches from you dripping sweat or shower/hot tub/pool water. Ick! There is a reason God invented the towel. If, for some reason, you have to run to your locker to get your towel, at least apologize to the guy next to you and wipe up the soggy mess you leave behind.
Law #10 – Bodily Noises Are Only Allowed if Inadvertant
If you accidentally slip up and let one fly in the locker room, it’s ok. We understand. But, don’t try to be funny or simply act rude by belching, farting or God knows what else. This isn’t your bathroom or your car. There are other people here who don’t have any interest in the inner workings of your digestive system, so cut it out.
I am certain that if we can all obey these simple rules, our locker room experience will be a whole hell of a lot more pleasant for everyone. Thank you and God speed.