Saturday, February 8, 2014

Doors? What doors? Apocalyptic breaches of bathroom etiquette

I’ve seen more naked guys than the gay equivalent of Wilt Chamberlain. Or the female equivalent of Wilt Chamberlain for that matter.  
Maybe that statement needs some context.
I’ve been an avid gym-goer for several years now. I go early in the morning, pump a little iron as the kids say and then go to work and sit on my butt all day, completely undoing whatever progress I’d made earlier. You know, because it’s important to maintain the status quo. 
Anyway, if there’s one thing you learn by going to gyms during the hours most frequented by an older crowd, it's that old people have no shame. They give zero craps.
So pretty quickly you get used to the idea of seeing an old dude brushing his teeth at a sink while his bait and tackle rests on the counter.
You get used to it and you also make a mental note to keep your own tooth brush as far away from any and all surfaces in a locker room as if the toothbrush was your daughter and the surfaces were Justin Bieber - after he’d had a bunch of old man balls rubbed all over him.
Now I want to make it clear that being naked in a locker room doesn't bother me. It’s what it’s there for. I’m frequently naked in locker rooms and occasionally in other rooms, as well. 
But being a repressed, Catholic-raised prude at heart, the thing that does get to me is this need to make a show of it, aka the dude scrubbing the counter with his pork and beans. Or the other guy who feels the need to walk clear across the room in his birthday suit to weigh himself.

Trust me sir, you are not a high school wrestler trying to make weight. The extra three ounces or so that a pair of tighty-whities would add to your final total is not going to mean the difference between an athletic scholarship to the Ivy League or a lifetime spent setting up rings on the independent circuit, hoping that one day maybe Vince McMahon will sneeze in your general direction.
But the other day at the gym I experienced something I’d never experienced before.
When I first arrived, I wandered over to the sink area to grab a paper towel to blow my nose. I just so happened to glance in the mirror and what did I see behind me? Under the wall of the toilet stall was pair of feet, surrounded by pants. The international signal of someone using the facilities.
A sight I’d seen a thousand times. What I’d never seen before was that the stall door was completely open.
Luckily I was at an angle, so I couldn’t actually see the guy, just his feet and the open door.
I’m pretty sure the lock wasn’t broken. Even if it was, it’s not hard to keep the door most of the way closed while you do your business.   
It was weird, but I did the best I could to put it out of my mind and carry on with my day. Then there was a second incident when I returned to the locker room to take a shower.
I headed to my usual shower stall, the first one in the row. All of the showers have doors with that frosted glass which makes for a nice, private shower experience.
The doors swing in and the first stall’s door seemed to be open.
But when I got closer I noticed something horrible. There was a man in there. Showering. With the freaking door wide open.
I can’t say for certain whether this was the same man from the toilet incident, since I’d never seen his face, but I’d say the odds leaned that way.
Waltzing around the locker room naked is one thing. Maybe it borders on a weird sort of passive aggressive indifference to what the rest of the world thinks.
Pooping and showering with the doors open, the doors that the good lord and the facilities management team have provided, is a whole other kind of monster. A complete and utter disregard for bathroom etiquette.
And as we all know, bathroom etiquette is the stuff that our society was founded on. Well, a combination of that and Hammurabi’s Code. But mostly the bathroom thing. And with etiquette breaches of that size that I just witnessed, well, we must be nearing the endtimes.

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