The Batty Broad likes to get her sweat on. Which isn’t difficult, by the way, since sweating is one of the things that I do best (I know, when will the list of everything I am really good at ever end? Jealous?) When I was in 7th grade gym class (as if there was any way of being more awkward or uncomfortable) , I once said “God I’m sweating” aloud. To which my gym teacher replied, “Girls don’t sweat, they glow”. Well then I must have been 3 mile island because I was glowing like a leaking nuclear power plant. Was she joking? Could she not see that there was sweat pouring from every orifice, including my eyelids? I must be some kind of hybrid man-girl.
Ever since my sweat glands decided to become, let’s just say “overactive”, I have had a love/hate relationship with exercise. I love how it feels to have a great workout, or play a great game of tennis but I am not always pleased with the outcome of looking like I was caught in a ten minute downpour after physical activity. Which is why the Batty Broad has always loved swimming. I mean first of all, you are already wet so being noticeably sweatier than any grown man isn’t an issue. Secondly, it’s great exercise. My only issue with swimming is that inevitably, at some point you have to be naked.
Now the Batty Broad is not exactly a prude. I mean nudity isn’t really something that bothers me per se. I just don’t particularly want to be naked in front of people that I don’t know. Actually, other than my husband (TM – The Man), I don’t want to be naked in front of people I do know either. Listen it’s not something that anyone is missing out on, I assure you. I am normally non-plussed by most things involving interactions with other humans (known or unknown). But I mean NAKED is just…well, what do you do with naked? My aversion, I believe, is directly related to an incident in which I woke up on a nude beach surrounded by naked people (but that’s a story for another time).
Which brings me to why, although I love to swim, I dread going into the women’s locker room after being involved in a wet (but non-sweaty) swim workout. I feel like I’m on a covert op, stalking out the locker room to ensure that there aren’t naked people and that my locker isn’t close to any naked people and that, god forbid, I don’t have to actually be naked in front of other people. But try as I might, it’s just unavoidable. I have had many awkward and uncomfortable “naked situations” but an incident in the gym locker room last week has made me seriously start considering never changing in a locker room again.
So last weekend I went to the gym to give my ass a break from me sitting on it all the time, and swim some laps. It was a beautiful day so the gym was pretty empty and I was pretty excited about the prospect of possibly neither having to be naked in front of people or seeing naked people. I go to the gym with my swimsuit on already so that the possibility of being naked prior to my swim is eliminated. I have a routine: go in with swimsuit on under clothes, take clothes off, swim laps, come back and shower off (taking off swimsuit in the shower) and then wrap myself in a towel, head to the locker and try to keep towel around me as long as possible while trying to put clothes back on. Just that last part is kind of a workout all by itself, it’s quite the scene. But I have a system. I don’t have to be naked (very much) nor do I have expose my nakedness to anyone else in the gym. It’s a little OCD but it protects my psyche and prevents me from having to walk around the gym wondering who has seen my naked.
Everything was going as planned but before I could actually start my Cirque de Soleil moves, trying to keep a towel around me while also trying to put on clothes, I hear the shower turn on. Uh Oh. Okay, keep calm, don’t make any sudden movements. Just keep proceeding with the plan and everything will be okay. Yes this is me talking to myself. I do however, look around to see if there is somewhere I can hide. I hear the shower turn off and and the woman is clearly drying herself off. I start trying to hurry but then another woman walks into the locker room and proceeds to get naked right across from me. OH MY GOD…I’m trapped. I make a mental note that I am going to have to carry a small paper bag with me in my gym bag because I’m starting to hyperventilate. I slap myself across the face (internally, I mean I’m not crazy – despite this story) and start channeling Cher in Moonstruck – “Snap Out of It!” because the thought of passing out in the ladies locker room, half naked and being surrounded by other naked people is a real possibility here.
So I tell myself to just keep changing and it will all be over soon. BUT THEN, shower lady decides to make her appearance and her locker is right next to me! I’m halfway through changing and trying not to look at her. Now shower lady doesn’t even have on a TOWEL! No, she is prancing through the locker room with nothing but a smile and shower shoes on. Okay, wait. You aren’t concerned about being bare-ass (and all other bare things) in front of total strangers but you need to cover your feet?! Worst of all, shower lady would like to engage me in conversation. Awesome.
Shower lady (who is COMPLETELY NAKED) – Hey, how are you?
Me (in my head) – How AM I? What are we old friends? Um, well, until you decided to stand less than a foot away from me with nothing but shower shoes on I was having a pretty good day. Have you heard of personal space? Oh my god, where do I look?
Me – I’m good, how are you? Why am I encouraging her?
Shower lady – I’m good!
Me (in head) – that’s GREAT- feels good to be naked in front of total strangers does it? Are you on some list of sexual deviants that I should know about?
Me – smiling, because I am at a total loss here. I mean what do I say? So, how are they hanging? Because lord almighty they are hanging.
I may have become temporarily blind for a moment
MEANWHILE, the other naked lady, who is in the shower now is MOANING. WHAT IS GOING ON HERE? Have I been transported into the middle of a David Lynch movie? Is Dennis Hopper going to arise from his grave and make an appearance as the creepy ladies locker room janitor? I start chanting in my head – there’s no place like home, there’s no place like home. WHY IS SHE MOANING? Is she in pain? Worse yet is she “enjoying” herself. I throw up a little in my mouth.
Back to shower lady who has now decided to not only talk to me but actually ask me to TOUCH her. She hands me a bottle of lotion and says, could you put a little of this on my back? I can’t reach the middle. I am so completely dumbfounded that I actually take the lotion for fear that she might start lotioning the rest of her body right next to me. Fortunately I am fully clothed now, so it’s only the tiniest bit less creepy but not by much. She is STILL completely naked. At this point I want to say to her – Hey, um, did you know that you are NAKED? Like maybe she forgot that she doesn’t even have underwear on. She is however still wearing those ever so conservative shower shoes.
So I decide to get it over with and just rub some lotion on her back. I’m not sure how you say no actually so I just tell myself “how bad can it be?” Here is a piece of advice. Don’t ask yourself that question if you really don’t want the answer. Answer: pretty bad. Because as soon as I start putting the lotion on her back – SHE starts MOANING. So now I have shower lady moaning and lady who is still in the shower moaning. Have I inadvertently wandered onto a middle aged porn set? Is Ron Jeremy around the corner?
I figure out if I just hurry up the moaning will stop and then I can leave and won’t have to listen to lady in the shower moaning either. But lady in the shower suddenly isn’t in the shower anymore. She is standing across the room, looking at the two of us and then she says: ”that looks like it feels good”. So before this turns into some bad 70′s, made for TV, Linda Blair starring prison movie, I put the lotion on the bench. Say “I have to go” and skedaddle out of there. If you have never skedaddled, it’s a lot like running but faster.
As I wander out of the locker room, dazed AND confused, I trying to imagine how I will ever go back into the YMCA ladies locker room again. My ears are ringing and I’m pretty sure my eyesight has been compromised. I’m hoping that I won’t be dreaming of old, moaning, naked ladies holding bottles of lotion tonight. I’m not sure what just happened but maybe I have had a small glimpse of hell. I vow to pray more reverently.
The Batty Broad has decided that she would rather be a sweaty “glowing” man-girl then risk another incident of partial contact nakedness. Whatever you do, don’t approach me with a bottle of lotion any time in the near future. There could be blood shed.
You have been warned.
The Batty Broad