For the first time in a long time, I found myself at a fitness center the other day. Muscle memory my ass. The day after feels more like muscle amnesia. But the soreness I feel due to a 12 month hiatus from working out is trivial and temporary compared to what's really bothering me. There are things more problematic I'm reminded. Things that never change. I'm talking about the unneeded narcissism of the pre and post workout experience.
Plain talk. I'm not keen on the gratuitous male nudity that I'm exposed to every time I go enter a locker room at one of these fitness facilities. And, if you're a regular reader of this blog, you know that I'm not homophobic in the least. What you may not know, however, is I'm very much bromophobic (broh-moh-phobic). A bromophobe is someone like myself, man or woman, who takes issue with bromances, the non-sexual but unnecessarily close and often juvenile relationship between two or more straight men. They're the ones who are being humorous and honest when they say things like "I love you man" and "bros before hoes". Captain Kirk and Spock, Fred and Barney, the lead characters in any Adam Sandler movie – those guys. It could be you and your best friend or your husband and his.
And therein lies the problem. It's not the actual parade of male nudity that bothers me. It's the pomp and circumstance of it. The bromosexuals, as I call them, want to prove themselves, not only to their workout buddies, but to the other causal bystanders chugging protein shakes and admiring their post-workout physique in the mirror, only to see it deflate 45 minutes later. They will go to great lengths, literal or figurative, to demonstrate that they're part of the imaginary team and that they're totally unaffected by self-consciousness. They're the often unhung heroes who stroll from the showers to the lockers with no towel, as to non-verbally say “it's all good, my man, it’s all good”. But it's not. There is nothing worse than being a witness to casual conversation between nude buddies, well, other than being asked by buddy-less nude guy "how about those Yankees", as he attempts to convert you to bromosexuality.
It’s like hearing that another season of American Idol has record ratings; I find myself asking time and time again, is this really happening? Look, I know glorified karaoke when I see it and I know bromosexuals, even when they’re on the down low. I can spot one a mile away. Wait. This is a good time for me to reiterate that bromosexuals are not gay, just in case there is confusion. They're your decisively straight garden variety boyfriends, husbands, and fathers, plus a few actual homophobes, who turn out to be ironically intolerant once they get dressed and exit the locker room.
I think this all goes back to the fascination with sports and man's need to feel a part of the team. It transcends race, age and size. This is how we're socialized - have balls, play ball, and, when you're done, hit the showers and show balls. Dads have longed admonished their teenagers: "Be a man son. Only a wuss wouldn't drop ‘trou’ and go full monty in front of his brethren, even the black guys. No, it's not a myth but just do it anyway junior. "
Listen, I'm not saying that men should wear flesh tone wet suits when in the locker room. I'm just asking you to recognize that this isn't a sports movie and its requisite locker room scene after a big win. No hot female reporter is about to walk in and become smitten with you, while you say something crass and unoriginal like "sweetie, football is a game of inches". Just recognize where you are and who you are. We're grown men who have crossed over to the other side. We're no longer athletic specimens and many of us never were. So as spectators, we shouldn't subject each other to the unsightly scene of bodies everywhere losing the war of gravity. Shut up, get dressed, and get back to not being creepy. I’d appreciate it. One
1.) Again, I’m not suggesting that moving parts aren’t normal and acceptable in a fitness center locker room. What I am suggesting is use a towel liberally and minimize the nude buddy conversations until you at least have your boxers or man panties on.Question: Fellas, do you notice this lack of locker room decorum? Ladies, what's it like in the women's locker room?
2.) It’s not the penises that are a problem. It’s the proximity of the penises. There are rules of personal space at play. Respect the them. It's good locker room etiquette.
3.) Fellas, don’t use this post as an excuse to waste time wondering what happens in women’s locker rooms. I’ve already wasted enough time for you. It took everything in me NOT to drop the word “coed” somewhere in this post and, yet, at the very end I failed.
Bonus Takeaway) Wouldn't it be funny as hell to actually hear Captain Kirk say to Spock "bros before hoes"? I'm not a fan of the derogatory terminology, but funny is funny.
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