Well That's Awkward

I mentioned before that I've been going to a spin class at my gym. I'm enjoying it pretty well, or, rather, I enjoy having done it but think it's akin to torture while actually doing it. I've come to terms with wearing bike shorts and having special shoes, and I think I'm even relatively comfortable with the fact that I'm sure I make ridiculous faces when I'm working hard. There's still one thing that's weird, though, and that's that I don't know where to point my eyes.

This class, like most group exercise classes, is mostly women. Most of whom don't wear a lot, and most of what they do wear is either tight-fitting or revealing, or both. Which, when you're working and sweating as hard as you do in that class only makes sense--sometimes I wish I could wear that little. But the upshot of all this is that there are very few places I can look where I won't be staring at someone's butt or cleavage. I'm not actually ogling anyone, and, actually, I couldn't even if I wanted to because I can't conveniently wear my glasses during that class. And without my glasses I can really only make out vaguely human-shaped forms around me, with little in the way of detail.

I try to get to class a few minutes early, wearing my glasses as I walk in. And I keep my glasses on while I warm up, only taking them off when we really get going. The idea is to let everyone see that I'm nearsighted so hopefully they won't think I'm a pervert if I accidentally stare at them. I know this is a ridiculous thing to think about, but it seriously does go through my head every time. I even make a show of squinting when I look up at the instructor.

I often wonder if I'm the only person at my gym who has these kinds of anxieties. It seems like there must be someone else thinking about it, but to all outward appearances everyone is just completely nonchalant about everything. I mean, take the locker room for example. I'm used to there being nudity in a locker room. I mean, this is the place specially sectioned off for people to change and shower in. Of course people are going to be naked in there. But for whatever reason, guys aren't just incidentally naked in this locker room. It's like a little miniature nudist colony in there. There are guys just relaxing, sitting around naked. Guys watch TV in there, totally naked--at any given time there will be two to five guys standing and sitting around the TV in the buff. No more than one of them will even be holding a towel, much less have it wrapped around himself. And guys will be standing around having long naked conversations, standing closer than I'm comfortable standing near people even when all parties are clothed. There's one guy that seems to be on a similar schedule to me, who every day has something like a ten-minute conversation with his friends, one foot up on a table while he rubs lotion on his legs and groin area.

Now, again, I know that there's going to be some amount of nudity in a locker room. I just don't know how it happens that people are so completely casual about it. Like, do you just get to a certain age or something and completely stop caring? I mean, if I'm naked there is no person on this Earth, male or female, old or young, familiar or a total stranger, who I could talk to while standing within arm's reach without being painfully aware of my nudity the entire time. And it has nothing to do with sexuality, either--when I don't have any clothes on, I feel... well, I feel naked. Isn't that where that expression comes from, "feeling naked"?

The thing I want to know is if people really are that nonchalant or if it's just that no one wants to be the only one to admit that he's not. I certainly try to act like it's all completely normal for me, just so I'm not the one to make it weird. Maybe everybody else is secretly thinking "I'mnakedi'mnakedi'mnakedi'mnaked" while they're talking about stocks or worrying about not accidentally ogling some woman during spin class. I have this sneaking suspicion, though, that it's really just me.

What do you think?


Kate the Great:

I think that, if I were you, I'd find a different gym. I'm very comfortable with my (pasty, chubby) naked body, but I can't imagine just lettin' it all hang out in a locker room while I watched TV.

The lotion-rubbing guy sounds particularly heinous. Uuuugh.

Erika Lange:

I think... you're funny & you make me smile. As for the gym/spin class a lot of people have lost all inhibitions. I believe that modesty and privacy are very good values. IMO your discomfort is normal - the other behaviors... not so much...


Regarding your eye sight problem: Sunglasses... really dark sunglasses. No one is the wiser!