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?

I’m a woman, but I’ll take a shot at this:

Gay men might see their junk! :eek:


Scared of being judged regarding the size of their junk.

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?

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.

Simple self-consciousness I’d say.

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.


Sure, that I get, but why are they self conscious about this in the UK/US and not, it seems, Europe?

They may be circumcised (or not) and are worried what others might think of that?

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 you’re looking at them? Or they’re afraid you’re looking at them? And it turns out they’re right? :slight_smile:

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?

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.

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.

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.

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?

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.

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!

  • :eek:

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.