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Old 04-12-2011, 05:24 AM
Illuminatiprimus is offline
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Men who do the "underwear towel dance" at the gym: why?


This has been mentioned on the dope before but I've never actually come out and asked people why. I've seen at the gym or at a public pool sometimes guys who will do everything possible to not have their genitals exposed at any time, up to the point of wearing the towel wrapped around their waste and then putting their underwear on underneath it, requiring a little shuffling as everything is moved around (hence the underwear towel dance, or UTD).

I really have to question why people do this. You're in a single sex changing room with other men, we've seen it all before, we're not interested in looking (well, I am, but I'm gay and therefore in a minority, and I don't make it obvious when I catch a glance). Shouldn't a grown adult be able to cope with the idea of someone seeing them with their clothes off? I don't think I've ever experienced this in Europe (particularly not Scandinavia) when I've gone to visit, but here in the UK - and it would seem in the US - men feel the need to do this strange and, in my mind, somewhat juvenile routine when in a changing room.

Can anyone enlighten me?
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Old 04-12-2011, 05:29 AM
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I'm a woman, but I'll take a shot at this:

Gay men might see their junk!
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Old 04-12-2011, 05:35 AM
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I'm a woman, but I'll take a shot at this:

Gay men might see their junk!
Nope.

Scared of being judged regarding the size of their junk.
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Old 04-12-2011, 05:49 AM
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With all the people using cell phones in locker rooms I can see why some men would be cautious.
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Old 04-12-2011, 05:58 AM
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With all the people using cell phones in locker rooms I can see why some men would be cautious.
Oh thats what they are doing........
now how can I find out if some put my thingy on the internet?
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Old 04-12-2011, 06:01 AM
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Nope.

Scared of being judged regarding the size of their junk.
Nope -

I was always taught that it's rude to flaunt your "wealth" - so we don't want to make others jealous.

Actually in honesty I have no idea - I certainly don't do it.
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Old 04-12-2011, 06:02 AM
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Simple self-consciousness I'd say.
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Old 04-12-2011, 06:05 AM
Illuminatiprimus is offline
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Nope -

I was always taught that it's rude to flaunt your "wealth" - so we don't want to make others jealous.

Actually in honesty I have no idea - I certainly don't do it.
You might be on to something - there's a guy I was sleeping with who had a really big dick (flacid as well as erect) who I saw doing the UTD when we went to play squash together once.
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Old 04-12-2011, 06:21 AM
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I've seen at the gym or at a public pool sometimes guys who will do everything possible to not have their genitals exposed at any time, up to the point of wearing the towel wrapped around their waste and then putting their underwear on underneath it, requiring a little shuffling as everything is moved around (hence the underwear towel dance, or UTD).


Ewww!
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Old 04-12-2011, 07:57 AM
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Simple self-consciousness I'd say.
Sure, that I get, but why are they self conscious about this in the UK/US and not, it seems, Europe?
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Old 04-12-2011, 08:02 AM
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They may be circumcised (or not) and are worried what others might think of that?

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Old 04-12-2011, 08:18 AM
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I'm one of those old geezers who wanders around the locker room with his towel slung over his shoulder. Want to take a picture with your cell phone? Go right ahead, but you must be one desperate puppy because 63-year-old bodies just don't look that good.

My theory is that this all dates back to high school. When my generation went to high school the gym shower was one big tiled room with a shower head jutting out from the wall every couple of feet. When your session in the gym ended, everyone headed for the showers at the same time. You either quickly got over any shyness you had about exposing yourself to other guys or you faced eternal torment.

It's been a looooong time since I've been in a high school locker room, but I understand that this style of gang shower no longer exists.
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Old 04-12-2011, 08:26 AM
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This has been mentioned on the dope before but I've never actually come out and asked people why. I've seen at the gym or at a public pool sometimes guys who will do everything possible to not have their genitals exposed at any time, up to the point of wearing the towel wrapped around their waste and then putting their underwear on underneath it, requiring a little shuffling as everything is moved around (hence the underwear towel dance, or UTD).

I really have to question why people do this.
Because you're looking at them? Or they're afraid you're looking at them? And it turns out they're right?

Actually, what I've observed is it's often the best looking guys who speed-change, if they change at all, and rush out. It makes sense in a way. Good looking, in-shape guys are going to get looked at more, which is fine on the street, but probably gets old quick in the locker room.

What I want to know is why the ugliest most disgusting guys come to the gym apparently for no other reason than whip their clothes off and hang out in the locker room, reveling in their manly nakedness?
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Old 04-12-2011, 08:37 AM
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In Scandinavia, there's a much more casual attitude toward nudity (which I wholeheartedly approve of). In the US, however, it's very strongly associated with sexuality: there are very few nonsexual occasions to be naked around other people.

Gyms are an exception, but a lot of guys might not be comfortable with that exception. They associate nudity around other people with sexuality. They don't like experiencing the locker room as a sexual occasion, so they remove nudity from the equation.

Doesn't seem that complicated.
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Old 04-12-2011, 08:52 AM
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In Scandinavia, there's a much more casual attitude toward nudity...
This is the most accurate statement ever made. When I was in Finland I used the pool at our hotel and I got changed in the locker room. It was different, to say the least. The locker rooms for both men and women were completely open and actually connected, so while they had signs indicating that women changed to the left and men changed to the right no one actually followed them, so there were nude people of every age and gender wandering about. It was a bit too much for me so I changed in a stall they had set up for that purpose (probably for the handful of prude Americans that they get every year) but it was surreal to see how nudity just did not matter to anyone there at all.
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Old 04-12-2011, 08:55 AM
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Back when I was spending hours on end around the pool, I became very proficient in what we termed a 'deck change'. Most guys just changed into and out of their swim suits under a towel on the deck instead of walking all the way to the locker room. I could be in and out of my clothes in less than 30 seconds most of the time.

It does seem silly to continue such a practice in the locker room.
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Old 04-12-2011, 08:59 AM
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With all the people using cell phones in locker rooms I can see why some men would be cautious.
I had to say something to a couple of body-builders once. They were taking pictures of each other in the locker room (nothing racy) but didn't seem to realize that other people might not want to be in the background.

My son does the dance with a towel and I asked him about it once. He is just a bashful guy and, because he swims, he changes clothes a lot in a lot of crowded places. Got into the habit and that is how he dresses in the locker room now apparently. He can actually change at the beach without anyone noticing. I would be afraid I would drop the towel.

I sometimes wonder at the people who seem to have no inhibitions at all in the locker room. It's one thing to not mind someone seeing your stuff but some people seem to be going out of their way to show it off. Is bending and squatting really necessary in a locker room?
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Old 04-12-2011, 09:01 AM
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This is the most accurate statement ever made. When I was in Finland I used the pool at our hotel and I got changed in the locker room. It was different, to say the least. The locker rooms for both men and women were completely open and actually connected, so while they had signs indicating that women changed to the left and men changed to the right no one actually followed them, so there were nude people of every age and gender wandering about. It was a bit too much for me so I changed in a stall they had set up for that purpose (probably for the handful of prude Americans that they get every year) but it was surreal to see how nudity just did not matter to anyone there at all.
I think Europeans do it on purpose. They wait 'til they see an unsuspecting American sneaking into the almost empty naked area and take their clothes off, then the whole family rushes in, strips naked and plays naked family hacky sack with the poor American stuck in the middle.

Don't think I didn't see the whole lot of you smirking.
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Old 04-12-2011, 09:02 AM
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<snip>* They associate nudity around other people with sexuality. They don't like experiencing the locker room as a sexual occasion, so they remove nudity from the equation.
Maybe, then, for this reason they're fearful of an inadvertent boner? Like, I'm naked so it must mean sex ... whoops! No! Not here!


*
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Old 04-12-2011, 09:10 AM
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Maybe, then, for this reason they're fearful of an inadvertent boner? Like, I'm naked so it must mean sex ... whoops! No! Not here!


*
I seriously doubt it. Are you an American woman? Would you be comfortable changing in a coed locker room? Plenty of American women wouldn't be comfortable doing so, and not because they'd get aroused.
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Old 04-12-2011, 09:12 AM
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I'm female, but I'm ok with people doing the towel dance. Most people naked are really nothing that appealing to look at, and it's much preferable than the "let it all hang out, I feel like drip-drying today" types who must be naked for as long as possible.
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Old 04-12-2011, 09:18 AM
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This is the most accurate statement ever made. When I was in Finland I used the pool at our hotel and I got changed in the locker room. It was different, to say the least. The locker rooms for both men and women were completely open and actually connected, so while they had signs indicating that women changed to the left and men changed to the right no one actually followed them, so there were nude people of every age and gender wandering about. It was a bit too much for me so I changed in a stall they had set up for that purpose (probably for the handful of prude Americans that they get every year) but it was surreal to see how nudity just did not matter to anyone there at all.
Here in Sweden just about every changing room I have ever been in has a door that opens wide so everyone outside the changing room can see inside. You just get used to it after a while.
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Old 04-12-2011, 09:29 AM
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Is it possible that those men feel the need to do that when you are around, since you admit that you peak. Some gay men (and other people) subscribe to the notion of 'gaydar' or the ability to pick out other gay men, by the same token a straight man may feel this also and tend to cover up if they detect it.

This would make it much more apparent and often to a person trying to peak as their efforts would be continuously frustrated by the men they are trying to see.

I do find it telling that you state that no one is peaking, then you admit that you peak because you are gay, but say that can't be the reason.

Last edited by kanicbird; 04-12-2011 at 09:32 AM.
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Old 04-12-2011, 09:48 AM
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My theory is that this all dates back to high school. When my generation went to high school the gym shower was one big tiled room with a shower head jutting out from the wall every couple of feet. When your session in the gym ended, everyone headed for the showers at the same time. You either quickly got over any shyness you had about exposing yourself to other guys or you faced eternal torment.

It's been a looooong time since I've been in a high school locker room, but I understand that this style of gang shower no longer exists.
This. One of the biggest disservices we have imposed on the American Youth is the ending of required showers after PE class. We are now raising an entire generation of uptight little prudes.
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Old 04-12-2011, 10:00 AM
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I just don't like being naked in a group of strangers, especially when they're mostly straight. Usually I don't "towel dance" though, I take my clothes to the shower area and change there. My gym is setup to make that easy enough.
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Old 04-12-2011, 10:02 AM
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This. One of the biggest disservices we have imposed on the American Youth is the ending of required showers after PE class. We are now raising an entire generation of uptight little prudes.
Who smell.
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Old 04-12-2011, 10:05 AM
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It's just a reflection of different levels of personal space and self-disclosure that are common in one society as opposed to another. Americans may be generally less open in some ways but more so in others.
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Old 04-12-2011, 10:18 AM
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I'm one of those old geezers who wanders around the locker room with his towel slung over his shoulder. Want to take a picture with your cell phone? Go right ahead, but you must be one desperate puppy because 63-year-old bodies just don't look that good.

My theory is that this all dates back to high school. When my generation went to high school the gym shower was one big tiled room with a shower head jutting out from the wall every couple of feet. When your session in the gym ended, everyone headed for the showers at the same time. You either quickly got over any shyness you had about exposing yourself to other guys or you faced eternal torment.

It's been a looooong time since I've been in a high school locker room, but I understand that this style of gang shower no longer exists.
Because for every single UncleRojelio who can read a post and comment sensibly on it, there are a dozen 12 year-old adults (like me) who think: Huh huh huh... poster's name is "Seven Wood" and he posted in a thread about naked dudes and dicks! huh huh huh!

That's only kinda a joke. Know how the evangelical gay-haters invariably turn up in gay bars buying drinks for 15 year old boys & such? And the theory that the reason they think The Gay is a menace is because, in their mind, NOT being gay is a constant struggle with temptation and so they think all dudes must feel the same way. The reality is much more likely: They're really gay and just can't accept it or haven't realized it yet.

I reckon a similar thing is going on in the locker room. If you have a propensity to peep despite believing it's wrong to do so, you're much more likely to assume other people are going to be peeping at you, and that they do so knowing it's wrong. So you deprive them of doing something you really would do given the chance.

Last edited by Inigo Montoya; 04-12-2011 at 10:20 AM.
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Old 04-12-2011, 10:27 AM
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I'll admit that I do the under the towel thing. I've gotten really good at it.

I'm not really shy but I'm sure other people don't want to see me prancing around with my wang hanging out. I'd rather be the youngin' changing under a towel than that old guy walking around butt-ass naked for all the world to see. Really, the locker room is to change and get out, not to try to talk to me.

That's it, I guess. I don't want to be like those old guys.
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Old 04-12-2011, 10:45 AM
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When did gang showers go away? I graduated high school in 2002 and we definitely still had them.

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  #31  
Old 04-12-2011, 10:49 AM
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Opinion?
Two reasons, by my reckoning.
Home morality, again as a kid. I've known some people who grew up with the mindset that being seen nude is a degradation worse than death.
Teasing by the 'bullies" when you were a kid. Valid or not (the teasing), it still carries into adulthood.
Okay, three reasons.
Because #3 seems to be a common concern that everyone is measuring them. If YOU (whoever you may be) are checking out everyone's junk, then maybe it's you that has a problem. But most everyone else doesn't care how you measure up.

Let's face it, they ain't checking you out for a date. Or if they are, there's already more than they're checking out than just your equipment. If they're self-comparing, there's only two options. Either they're smaller than you, so walk proud, or they're bigger and they no longer care about your endowment. But in reality, guys range all over the map when limp, but stiff, they're fairly much about the same. (Spare me the anecdotes about the occasional exception; I've been in the Lifestyle for 25 years and seen 'em all.)

So my guess is it's the reasons in the order I've listed them. I may be wrong; it's happened before.
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Old 04-12-2011, 10:51 AM
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When did gang showers go away? I graduated high school in 2002 and we definitely still had them.
Playing rugby we used to all get in a big bath together after the game.
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Old 04-12-2011, 11:01 AM
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I've seen at the gym or at a public pool sometimes guys who will do everything possible to not have their genitals exposed at any time, up to the point of wearing the towel wrapped around their waste and then putting their underwear on underneath it, requiring a little shuffling as everything is moved around (hence the underwear towel dance, or UTD).
You're reading way to much effort into this. I don't find it any more of a chore to not expose myself in the change room as it is to not expose myself in the food court. But I don't do the towel dance thing- I don't go to pools very often, but I recall them actually having little enclosed changing stalls now. I suppose it is just a cultural difference between generations, with neither being inherently more normal than the other.

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I really have to question why people do this. You're in a single sex changing room with other men, we've seen it all before, we're not interested in looking
But a guy who isn't interested in looking hasn't "seen it all", he's just seen his own. I honestly don't have enough observations of randomly selected naked guys to know how average or pathetic my genitals are. I'd expect the average woman to know more about what the average naked man looks like than I do.
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Old 04-12-2011, 11:20 AM
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When did gang showers go away? I graduated high school in 2002 and we definitely still had them.
But were you required to shower after PE class?
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Old 04-12-2011, 11:21 AM
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Playing rugby we used to all get in a big bath together after the game.
I have that DVD!
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Old 04-12-2011, 11:32 AM
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But were you required to shower after PE class?
I was in middle school (where we had gang showers), which I graduated in 2001. We weren't in high school gym class, but that's only because non-athletic PE (for kids who weren't in sports) was fairly pathetic. You don't work up much of a sweat playing badminton. And even then, I've talked to the janitors. They stopped requiring showers because it was getting to hard to keep them clean and fungus free.
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Old 04-12-2011, 11:39 AM
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Why does it have to be more than self-consciousness, like others have said? And obviously, you are staring.
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Old 04-12-2011, 11:41 AM
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I've talked to the janitors. They stopped requiring showers because it was getting to hard to keep them clean and fungus free.
And if there's one thing you do not want to see, it's a fungus-covered janitor.
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Old 04-12-2011, 11:58 AM
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When did gang showers go away? I graduated high school in 2002 and we definitely still had them.
Quote:
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This. One of the biggest disservices we have imposed on the American Youth is the ending of required showers after PE class. We are now raising an entire generation of uptight little prudes.
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...It's been a looooong time since I've been in a high school locker room, but I understand that this style of gang shower no longer exists.
High schools still tend to have communal showers (at least in the boys' lockerroom); it's just that nobody uses them. I graduated in 2003 and almost nobody showered after gym. Some of the sports teams did shower after practice. My school have a dance after most home games (football & basketball) and apparently the wrestling coach was really stict about hygiene. I didn't shower, not because I uncomfortable with nudity, but because nobody else did and I didn't want to be first. Most boys wouldn't even take their t-shirt and pants off at the same time (ie stand in just boxers).

I also had it drilled into my head since kindergarden that my "private parts are private" and I should never show them to anybody except a doctor (from teachers at school, not my mother). Even at the doctor's office all my physical exams were conducted fully clothed. The only time I remember having to drop my pants was when he was filling out a school medical form that asked for a hernia check and a Tanner stage.

It is really strange. When my father was my age any boy who did get the slightest bit upset at having to strip was branded a sissy, now it's the opposite and the boys who do shower naked get called gay or a fag. Of course hey also had to swim naked (in school, at the Y, & at summer camp and had regular mass physicals courtesy of Uncle Sam once they reached draft age.

Oddly the boys who transferred in from the "Christian school" next-door had zero hangups showering, didn't understand what the big deal was, but stopped anyway because of peer pressure. And the same guys who though showering with other guys was "gay" didn't have the slight inhibition skinnydipping or playing truth or dare or as long as girls were present ('cause if at least one girl is present it can't be gay ). Or getting drunk at parties and streaking.

I'm not one of those guys who goes to far as to shave at the sink naked or use the hand dryers on my pubes, but I don't bother coveruping to and from the shower (especially to the shower, why would I wrap a clean towel around my sweaty nether regions then use it after I showered ). Also unless it's a coed sauna (which I avoid) I just bring a towel to sit on.

Lack of enforced showering leads to more than stinky students. Poor hygiene has also been linked to increased skin infections, staph infections, poor body image (since the only other nudity they get exposed to tends to be from porno). And then there's those reports of people refusing to strip for decontamination after potential being exposed to lethal biochemical agents even when the sexes are seperated.


PS, I have a friend who works in "institutional" interior design and she says that new schools still prefer communal showers over private stalls. They're cheaper to build and maintain, us up less space, and are usually required to meet building codes. Most don't expected them to actually be used. Often having the water disconnected after an initial test and a locking gate installed so they can be used for storage.
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  #40  
Old 04-12-2011, 12:02 PM
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I just don't like to look at my body, and I assume others would rather not see it as well. I mean, I don't even go without a shirt at a pool. I always felt that, if I were in really great shape, I wouldn't give a crap, except on one small part:

I don't know about every other guy, but, in the rare times when I've seen any other penis than my own, I feel a little bit disgusted. Something about penises is gross to me. And, again, since it's gross to me to look at someone else's, I don't show mine to any other male.

ETA: alphaboi: I didn't know you were the same age as me. I graduated in 2003 as well, and I had the exact same experience in high school. The community showers existed, but no one used them.

Last edited by BigT; 04-12-2011 at 12:04 PM.
  #41  
Old 04-12-2011, 12:04 PM
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But were you required to shower after PE class?
If by "required" you mean socially, so as to not be known as the stinky kid who didn't shower after gym - yes. If you mean the school/instructors demanded it - no.
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Old 04-12-2011, 12:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Inigo Montoya View Post
I reckon a similar thing is going on in the locker room. If you have a propensity to peep despite believing it's wrong to do so, you're much more likely to assume other people are going to be peeping at you, and that they do so knowing it's wrong. So you deprive them of doing something you really would do given the chance.
So it comes back to an old French proverb, one I've found applies to so many situations:

"A man doesn't look under the bed unless he's hidden there himself."

Last edited by Mister Rik; 04-12-2011 at 12:11 PM.
  #43  
Old 04-12-2011, 01:00 PM
Dogzilla is offline
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I take pole dancing classes, which means I hang out with strippers. Nudity at the "gym" is pretty much de riguer. I've lost all modesty and have been known to whip off my shirt or change shorts right in front of casual acquaintances, where it's really inappropriate. I've become so desensitized to seeing mostly nekkid strippers all around me, that I don't think twice about changing in front of people. I can't imagine anyone being rude enough to stare/ogle while it happens. Not that I'd notice if they did.
  #44  
Old 04-12-2011, 01:44 PM
filmore is offline
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I have a message for towel-dance guy--You're the only guy I can remember in the locker room. Everyone else is just background. But you stand out. I think, hmm... why is he so self conscious? The same goes for shower-with-underwear guy. I'll be in the shower with 10 guys and I couldn't pick any of them out of a lineup. But the guy with the underwear really stands out and is memorable. I see him in the workout area and think, There goes shower-with-underwear guy.

It strikes me as odd that the techniques they use to be more discreet in fact make them much more noticeable.

However, I really wish shaving-at-the-sink-naked guy would wear a towel. Or at least step back a bit so his junk isn't pressing up against the counter.
  #45  
Old 04-12-2011, 01:47 PM
AHunter3 is offline
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Never seen this behavior. I go to the YMCA gym, not as often as I should perhaps. Been going for over 10 years. Could it be a regional thing?
  #46  
Old 04-12-2011, 01:54 PM
alphaboi867 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AHunter3 View Post
Never seen this behavior. I go to the YMCA gym, not as often as I should perhaps. Been going for over 10 years. Could it be a regional thing?
I think's it's more of an age thing; younger guys (in general) are more likely to do it that older guys. I can't recall seeing anyone more than a few years older than me doing it. Certainly not anyone over 40.
  #47  
Old 04-12-2011, 02:04 PM
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I can understand the derision for the towel dance, but it's possible to go too far the other way as well.

If I go to the gym and am looking for a locker, you can be sure I'm going to avoid the aisle where the 55 year old naked guy is bending over to pick something up off the ground or using the entire aisle as his personal drying space. Would it hurt to be a little respectful of people wanting to use the same area?
  #48  
Old 04-12-2011, 02:28 PM
Tom Tildrum is offline
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Originally Posted by Trom View Post
If by "required" you mean socially, so as to not be known as the stinky kid who didn't shower after gym - yes. If you mean the school/instructors demanded it - no.
Nowadays, the boys just douse themselves with Axe body spray.
  #49  
Old 04-12-2011, 03:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Markxxx View Post
With all the people using cell phones in locker rooms I can see why some men would be cautious.
My gym has a rule against cell phone use in the locker rooms -- and it's followed, as far as I've noticed. I had assumed most gyms had the same rule.

I think the PE observations up-thread are right about the biggest factor. My PE teacher in junior high was a former drill instructor, so we definitely worked up a sweat. Everybody showered after gym -- no exceptions allowed.
  #50  
Old 04-12-2011, 05:07 PM
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I don't - I'm 24, and when I took a swimming class in college a few years ago, I was literally the only male out of a dozen or so in the class who got nekkid in the locker room. The rest either waited for the one stall or just went home wet.

But I do see it both ways - at my gym I see grown ass men (40+) who just strip to their underwear and then put their street clothes back on. :/
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