Friday, December 5, 2014

Locker room woes

I was a complete weenie today. While that admission is not the point of this post, it is integral to the story ... so hang with me.

I wanted to run today. Four miles, at least, but five preferably and I was hoping to do it at a pace that was strong but didn't make me feel like doody. It's a fine line right now, in terms of pace. I know I have to accept that I'm going to get slower and that it's OK but it's really hard, especially when running can already feel hard.

And it has.

So rather than feel the burn in my lungs outside though I must disclose that it wasn't so cold &mash; in the low 30s — I decided that I would run at the treadmill. Going to the YMCA also offered other advantages such as a hot shower and avoiding that post-winter run chill that seems to last for hours.

My run was good. Great, actually. I did 5 miles with 6 x 3 minutes at a strong pace with 2 minutes recovery. It was hard and I doubted myself but I felt strong — stronger than I have in weeks. By the time, I was a sweaty mess with a dopey grin. I headed to the locker room to take a quick shower before work.

I heard them before I saw them, not even turning the corner. The excited, tiny voices of children. These weren't just any children — it was a pack of boys, at least six of them and all at least 4-years-old. They were getting to go to the pool with a caregiver of some sort, whom I must say was doing quite well in keeping them corralled and entertained as they made their way from the dressing area to the toilets to the shower.

Each stop was right where I needed to be. And those places? Well, I needed to be there less than decent.

Before proceeding, a few things;

  • I am generally a modest person in the locker room, no matter the circumstances. I try to make a concerted effort that no one sees bare cheeks or chesticles. I have been scarred by the post arthritis water aerobics gatherings. 
  • I also know that the caregiver had no other option when getting the group ready for swimming. The YMCA branch is an older one and the access to the pool is through the locker rooms. There are no family restrooms in that area (that I know of) nor poolside showers as there are at some of the other locations.
  • I am sure, too, that the boys couldn't have cared less about the people in the public areas of the locker room. They wanted to swim and then see the Santa on the drive home.  
But, here's the thing: I would not want Miles to be in that situation. And maybe more importantly, I don't think it would be as acceptable if it were a male caregiver taking a pack of little girls into the locker room. These are generally safe areas but they need to be safe areas for everyone. I definitely felt uncomfortable.

I tried to wait it out but for all you moms out there, you can nod as I say this: A child rarely has a sense of urgency when going to the bathroom in this situation. The process is much more involved for reasons no one but the child understands. Trying to get a pack to do so, especially when only two toilets are available, is, well, futile.

I tried to channel my anxiety into determining an appropriate course of action. I decided to strip down in a private area before covering myself with a towel and making a bee line to the showers. I had on less clothing than I preferred in that situation but I was comforted by the fact that they could not go home and say, "I saw a naked lady at the Y today!"

So what's your take? What would you have done?


  1. This is a toughie. My YMCAs (there are a ton here and I have reciprocal memberships to all) have family locker rooms. Children of the opposite gender are not allowed in the Male/Female locker rooms. Period. I usually try to be quite modest too, but getting dressed and carrying all my shit from the bathroom to the locker is a PITA. The hitch for me? The 2 gyms I go to most are in my school district. The one I teach in. I have been in various states of undress when I've seen students and the last thing I want is for someone at school to say "I saw Mrs. F naked!". I'd probably die and then get fired. So, most of the time, I change in a bathroom or a tucked away corner of the locker room.

  2. I think you handled it well. I know that y is old - do they have an option for creating a small family locker room?

  3. Stockings have always been one of my fav parts!! Hope you are having a very merry season and thank you for a great contest!