The Four Stages of Nakedness in the Locker Room

3 Jun

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There are, in my opinion, four stages of feelings that males have about being naked around other males. They evolve with age.

The first is when you are born. From then to, let’s say around the age of five or six, kids just don’t give a shit. Let everything (not hang) out into the open. Need to change you clothes—do it right at the kitchen table. Why the hell not? Then they start going to school and I imagine that’s where some of the shyness starts to build. Suddenly social cues and circles matter and fitting into the group becomes something that’s important. With that, the first stage of nakedness comes to an end.

Stage II, age 7 to about 13, give or take when the kid goes through puberty. Here everything stays hidden. At friends’ houses bathrooms are turned into dressing rooms. In camp, showers are taken with bathing suits on. It’s a crazy time, and a difficult one. Life is hard in Stage II, especially when puberty comes around and everyone starts looking different.

Stage III, high-school until, well, that’s the thing. I’m not really sure when Stage III ends and that’s why I’m writing this post. Stage III is what I would label as the best stage. You’re comfortable but not too comfortable. If you need to change in the locker room you do it right in front of your locker; there’s no longer a need to go searching for a stall. Or to do the whole wrap-a-towel-around-your-waist-thing. You don’t waste time with such shenanigans due to a fear of being naked in front of other men—but when you do find yourself in such situations, you don’t take your time with it either.

Until you hit Stage IV. Stage IV people are not ones you want to be around. Stage IV people are those who appear to enjoy being naked in a locker room and treat as if it’s something they’ve been looking forward to all day. They walk from the showers to their lockers to the sinks, seemingly never even considering the thought of throwing on a towel. When they do, eventually, grab one, they proceed to stick one leg up on a bench—whether or not you’re sitting on it really doesn’t matter—and dry and pat and everything down, one leg at a time. After that they put a shirt on first, and then socks because of course they save underwear and pants for last. They might even shave first.

I had forgotten about the existence of Stage IVs; given that I’m not in an office every day I usually go to my gym already dressed as needed and shower back at my apartment. It had been a while since I had spent time in a gym locker room but recently, due to some new scheduling stuff, that has changed. It didn’t take long for my reintroduction to the Stage IVs. My first day back I got a very warm welcome.

Now I’m not the kind of man that gets freaked out in a locker room. You just do your thing, keep your head down, or up, and take care of your business. For me, my issue with Stage IVs stems more from curiosity. Perhaps issue is the wrong word. Really, I just don’t get it. How and when does this transformation happen. In 20 years will that be me? Is it a conscious decision or more of a natural evolution? Do Stage IVs even realize what they are, are they just completely oblivious, or as you get older do you just not give a shit about stuff like that? I guess 10-year-old me thought Stage IIIs were kind of weird so maybe it is just something that happens over time.

One of these days I might have to ask, though I’m not exactly sure how that conversation would go.

Oh, also, if you ever decide to write a blog about naked men walking around a locker room, be a bit creative with your Googling when looking for a photo for the post. I made a few mistakes before typing Ryan Gosling in and, well, I think I need to add some more stages.

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