Sunday, March 23, 2014

Locker Rooms for All, Within Reason That Is

Men's locker rooms have always been wide open spaces with nudity being on constant and continual display. Women's locker rooms have evolved to this over the decades. Some women still can not get used to it and will get wholly dressed in the shower stall rather than get dressed in the locker room itself. This is if there is such a thing as shower stalls. Some locker rooms do not even give the option of shower stalls.  In addition to dressing in the open, you also shower in the open.  This is more common still for men's locker rooms than women's but with public facilities' funding at issue, expect more of these shared features, not less.

At age 65 neither bothers me at all.  I'm not crazy about my body at this age but I am beyond even thinking about some other woman ogling my body.  If she is that desperate for a nude image, so be it.  Even I have limits though.  Put a boy who has reached puberty into the locker room, because his grandmother or mother thinks this is ok, and my soaking wet and naked body is not amused.

This happened a few weeks ago at my rec center. A grandmother had her grandkids with her and brought her middle school aged boy right into the locker room with her as I emerged from the shower into the locker room. He came up to my neck.  He was not disabled in any way.  This is not the first time this has happened to me either.

"He needs to leave the locker room now.  He is too old. He is at puberty." I said to her. She told me I had to wait.  She was busy.

"No, he has to leave now.  I am nude and he is at puberty.  Get him out of here. There is a family dressing room outside if you absolutely need to dress yourself with a boy this old."

She was ticked off but they exited.

This has also happened to me in my condo clubhouse. The boy was even older I encountered there who was with his mother.  I told her the same thing and she flipped out, telling me that she could not put him in a men's locker room as she would not have him exposed to older men's sexual organs. She too left in a huff while I wondered if she was home schooling him because otherwise there was no way he was not seeing other males nude, in schools, camps, extracurricular activities and so forth.

I talked to both the head of the rec center and the lifeguard at the condo about these events.  They told me that the policy is age 6 at the condo and age 7 at the rec center for having opposite sex children in the locker room with you as parent or grandparent.  That sounds reasonable to me. I did have such a four year old male staring at me in the locker room just last week while his grandmother was getting him ready.  This did not bother me as I expect him to be curious about everything at that age. Eventually he got bored and started looking at something else.

I believe some women are being deliberately obtuse about this issue.  I say women because I don't think this is happening at all in a gender reverse scenario.

Thus, I want you to imagine that some father or grandfather takes his pubescent or at puberty daughter or granddaughter into the men's locker room. You can't imagine it, can you?  This is because if he did it, not only would every male in the locker room flip out but I'm sure the police would be called. Everyone would be thinking pedophile and incest in huge capital letters. It would be nothing short of shocking for this to occur which is why it doesn't.

Why then are we so complacent about women doing this with male children and grandchildren?  I know we are complacent about it because of all the other women in the locker room, I am the only one to say something when this occurs. The other women just cover themselves with more and more towels and turn away from the boy.

Further complicating this issue is that we now have Arab-American women in these same locker rooms who are in the traditional garb of Muslim women. I saw two of these women in the locker room several weeks ago. They dressed in the shower stalls and came out wearing the traditional veiled outfit on the older woman (60s) and a modified scarf version on the younger one (30s). My nudity did not seem to bother them but if it had, they can't complain about it.  Their religious views cannot have any sway in this publicly owned rec center. I did wonder, however, what their reaction would be if a puberty aged boy was also in the locker room with us. I do not think they would react tranquilly to that situation.

Interestingly, it never seems to cross the mother's and grandmother's minds about the effect their thinking is having on the boy in their charge.  I cannot imagine that the boy wants to be placed into this position.  It also never crosses their minds that they  are abusing the other women in the locker room's rights. We have a reasonable expectation to not be subjected to the scrutiny of boys who have reached sexual age and awareness in our public locker room. Plus how about girls who have reached puberty encountering these boys in their locker rooms?  I don't see them handling such an encounter well either.

I also wonder if the boys say anything to their fathers or grandfathers about being made to leave the locker room. I can't imagine any adult male thinking this was a great idea on his wife's part. He should be intervening in her perception and handling of this boy. But perhaps there is no adult male in this family, which is why the women are clueless about handling a boy of this age.

Bottom line, if your male child or grandchild is above 6 or 7, start using the family changing room if there is one; send him to the men's locker room alone; or just put robes on everyone and go home and shower and redress there

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