Bank Walkers and the Code of the Locker Room

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About J. A. Drew Diaz

"I’m a guy ... I’m a guy you want around when the ship runs aground, the garage catches fire, a fight breaks out, if your dog is full of porcupine quills. If there’s a raccoon crazed  on rat bait in your garage I’m the guy you want next door. I make my living with a cell phone and a computer---and in my garage I have tools for making tools. Every vehicle I have ever owned has a punctured seat because I jumped in with a tool in my pocket. My raw feed appears at standup2p.wordpress.com.

Comments

  1. There’s no denying that taking showers with other men or otherwise appearing naked is a necessity of military life and participating in a school sport. But some guys never serve in the military or play a school sport.

    Perhaps the reason why some men avoid public showers is because they have a sense of modesty. They don’t care to look at guys who are completely naked (as opposed to being merely shirtless) and don’t want to expose themselves to other guys. Boys whose physiques fall short of the athletic ideal may feel badly about themselves or simply don’t care to subject themselves to almost certain ridicule by appearing naked before bullies. So What? Everyone’s entitled to their own preferences. I work out regularly at a health club pumping iron. I always work up a sweat. Showers are available, of course; but I wait until I get home.

    I’m just curious … What is a “sissy” supposed to be?

  2. @bill- everyone is entitled to their own preferences. This is a story, as most of mine are, of MY value & skill sets; I’m working through what is important to me. I published the first version of this over a year ago & don’t know if a dozen people read it. It’s also a story of passing the torch and I’m going to pass the torch I believe in- if I can. Me I swam naked before I ever played a school sport.
    Oh & I guess it’s a comment on my penury vis hot water & clean towels.
    In the context of this tale sissies are guys ashamed of their bodies and that is according to my value set unfortunate- body shame seems to be more common today than in my day. Can’t see an advantage to being modest- but then as I opine in another piece modesty is subjective and situationally appropriate. I don’t streak, skydive, act or perform music; activities that I often consider exhibitionistic.
    In some of my stories sissies are guys who can’t run chain saws or hammer nails.
    My sons think I’m a sissy because I can’t afford a Benz.
    Whatever else we may be- few of us want to be incompetent at things that mean something to ourselves.

  3. It’s interesting that you say that “high school kids no longer shower at school”. In my kids’ school, not showering after sports is not an option – no matter if it’s 4th grade or high school. And of course, when they go swimming they’re not even allowed in the water unless they shower first.

    I’m not sure there’s one right way to do this, or if this is necessarily gendered. But I do think it’s very helpful for children to be comfortable with this type of public nudity; if you’re not, you end up feeling restricted. And I agree that as parents, it’s our job to help kids with this.

    OTOH, it”s also worth noting that there are big cultural differences here. For example, middle-eastern / Islamic culture has very different attitude to public nudity than what is common in north-western Europe. This can lead to some tension when you mix cultures.

  4. @lars- in re “not an option” good,for your district, pre-swimming- in their suits? Hygiene is not a liberal dose of Axe.
    As to cultural mixing; I trend to the When in Rome school of thought.
    My experience in locker rooms across the US is homogenous.
    In re gendered- I have no idea what goes on in the women’s locker room- the scene from Porky’s is the only reference I have & I don’t think it was documentary.

    • In my experience, some women walk around naked in locker rooms and others try to be discreet. I’m in the latter category. Actually I avoid showering in locker rooms, partly because I am too modest and partly because locker room showers gross me out!

      We were not required to shower when I was in P.E. In HS, except when we did swimming and then we were allowed to keep our bathing suits on. Many girls would only change their clothes in a bathroom stall. I don’t remember anyone being nude. Any girl who walked around nude in the locker room would have been mocked. This was the 80′s and we were a conservative generation at that age.

    • Nope, showing in your swimming suit is not considered good enough here – not in schools, nor in public swimming facilities.

      We tend to not quite lean to the “when in Rome” school here – in part, I think, because muslim minorities already tend to take their kids – especially the girls – out of sports activities as it is, and that can’t be good for the kids. They’ve come up with a kind of “loin cloth” that you’re allowed to wear most place when showing before using a public swimming facility, and I understand that that’s being used in schools, too.

      • Amr Madkour says:

        @Lars – I’m curious to know where all your expertise on Middle Eastern culture comes from. I grew up in a very conservative muslim country, and we all played sports (even girls) and took showers after gym. With regards to public nudity, there are a number of countries in the Middle East and North Africa where public baths are still common and men and women bathe separately. Like everywhere else, people have different degree of comfort with nudity.

        In other public arenas, there is no doubt that many Middle Eastern cultures can be more conservative in dress and appearance. But there are also those on the other side of the spectrum that would surprise you. A very large number of middle class families from the Middle East travel as tourists to other countries and are exposed to other cultures, and many more from all socioeconomic backgrounds immigrate all over the world. More often than not “tension when you mix cultures” doesn’t occur. And when it does, you can bet that bigotry and intolerance are significant factors. Regardless, my point is to say that your attempt to generalize about a culture and religion that encompasses more than one billion people is laughable at best, but at its worst belies a deep seated ignorance and xenophobia.

  5. I’m on the train this morning; a woman has her makeup laid out across the adjacent seat.
    There is a forced intimacy, exhibitionism & voyeurism associated with this that makes me uncomfortable.
    I’m intrigued by tools & their use and repulsed by forced knowledge of secrets I’d rather not know.
    Other than touch up her lipstick I never saw Mother applying makeup.
    When I got to the sleeping over & using her bathroom stage of dating I was intrigued by all the shit women had- for the life of me I could not figure out that weird pliers kind of thing- tampon puller?- that turned out to be an eye lash curler.

  6. I never had to shower for PE, ever. I also didn’t, ever.

    I had to “get wet” (not really shower, just be wet enough to jump in the water) before swimming in day camp, this was done in suit, no soap.

    I’m a trans woman, and I can say that besides my own,and my brother who is close in age, I’d never seen a penis in real life before 25. I didn’t show mine in locker rooms, nor did I see others.

    I was already pretty self-conscious about being topless (I have a chest malformation where the sternum goes inwards), I didn’t want to think about anything else than just getting the fuck out, right then.

    I’ve never sweat much for comparable exercise and heat, as many others do. I also lack much body hair (say armpit), so this always helped for odors. I never thought I was “inflicting” my presence on others, given I was required to stay in school, or wherever I was. I always bathed at home, never elsewhere (to bath at someone else’s home I have to stay a few days, which never happens – never been on a trip to a motel or hotel).

  7. @ Schala- well guess our experience of locker rooms was different.,I just work from my limited experience- which in the case of comparing it to yours is pretty uni-linear? different? I do know I was & am shameless- not better, just better for me. Too cool, that I am now in contact with a 2nd trans woman this month…l
    I do love,this world….

  8. Maybe it’s simply a generation thing. Hell, back in grade school (cars still had fins) we used the local YMCA and back then we couldn’t, as in not allowed, wear trunks in the pool. I guess you could say that my dad was a bank walker too … none of us boys (7 of us) were shy. Heck, back when we’d camp in the true wilderness, the only place to wash up was the river or what ever bodey of water was available, We did a lot of camping and that meant ZERO privacy. I agree, kids these days are really shy about locker rooms.

  9. @ Tom B- thx, that is how I recall the Y, but we moved to the burbs for my 1st grade.
    (on another thread we’ll tell these kids how God Damned heavy canvas tents & Coleman lanterns were.
    Not to flog my shameless self But this is how we bathed in the San Miguel- http://standup2p.wordpress.com/2012/09/03/bank-walkers-and-locker-room-code-draft/
    - or at least I did….

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