Saturday, November 04, 2006

Gym changing room phobia

"Hi P", I say surprised, "how are you? I haven't seen you here in ages!"

A men's changing roomI'm in the men's changing room in the gym near work last week, and by accident my locker is almost next to the locker that my colleague P is using.

"Have you just done a class", says P sheepishly. P knows that I enjoy some of the group fitness classes here.

"Err no, I've just arrived, but I'm about to do a class :-)!"

Actually P looks very uncomfortable. Then I remember what P's Chilean boyfriend D once told me, that P really doesn't like being seen in changing rooms by people that he knows. With a small towel wrapped round his waist he dithers for a while, and then looks even more uncomfortable when he notices that I'm stark naked searching my bag for my gym kit.

In terms of nudity, I reckon I'm one of the least shy people I know. It's hard to be shy when one has been naked in the intimate company so many other naked guys, of different shapes, colours, sizes, ages, and so on. But even I would admit that with each friend or colleague, there's a physological barrier to cross when getting changed in their company for the first time. After you've done it properly with them once, and you've all seen each other's equipment, somehow you've bonded in some deeper way and it's no longer an issue.

I've been in this situation with P several times now. P has probably seen me naked on all those occasions, but somehow he's always managed to avoid the issue and keep his own bits and pieces private.

"Catch you later mate", I say as I head off for the class.

A few mintues later, P passes me on his way out, while I'm waiting outside the studio for the class to start. We smile to acknowledge each other, although P still looks uncomfortable.

But after another minute or so, I see P again walking back towards the changing room!

"Forgot my bag", he says as he passes me, as though apologising.

Definitely the worst case of gym changing room phobia I've ever seen!


Anonymous said...

I've had this problem before. Bumped into a colleague at the gym. He was completely naked and started talking to me. I didn't know where to look :-( Oh, did I mention that I had a crush on him at the time? ;-P GBD xxx

SouthBanker said...

I suppose its difficult for the naturists out there to identify with this phobia but being naked in changing rooms is just not everyone's cup of tea. Why dont the gyms bring back private cubicles??

Rory Maxwell said...

I think I can class myself as a reformed phobic... I used to hate being naked in public. Years of rowing and having no option but to change in public, not to mention living in lycra, seems to have cured me.

Bob said...

Amazing, other than for different backgrounds (i.e. Muslims) I thought it was only a problem for str8 (especially self-conscious they might be watched by gay men, which is fair enough). At my gym the showers are in cubicles: I resent it, except when it allows for stress-free masturbation!

Will said...

Like you, I'm completely comfortable with nudity and being naked in the company of any number of other naked men. I have to remind myself that just because he's gay a man might NOT share my comfort. I think it's so unfortunate when people are that uncomfortable with their own bodies.

PJ said...

and that's why god invented the cubicle...


Hedgy said...

It can be a bit difficult with some one you work for but after a few 'viewing' it get easier...I guess I have few peoblems in stripping