The Sociology of Mens Locker Rooms, a Satire

The three social traits analyzed here are: degree of nakedness, amount and subject matter of conversation, and relative degree of homophobia, which is correlated- but not mutually inclusive with degree of nakedness.

Introduction

Lifetime Fitness is a chain of health clubs based out of Chanhassen, Minnesota, and has a location near my house in the Chicago suburbs. Though the following typology will evaluate the different cohorts of males in this particular location’s locker room, it can be applied to any locker room, or to any set of males, inside or outside a locker room environment. The sample set analyzed falls within a two dimensional space (Age-Fitness). Each falls somewhere on the continuum between infant and practically dead, and, secondarily, on a continuum between concentration camp survivor-skinny and grotesquely overweight. The three social traits analyzed here are: degree of nakedness, amount and subject matter of conversation, and relative degree of homophobia, which is correlated- but not mutually inclusive with degree of nakedness.

Nudity

We fix our analysis of the first trait, degree of nakedness, by assuming that nakedness here is the result of close temporal proximity to showering or clothes-changing activities. To wit, this is more an analysis of the extent to which towels are implemented, rather than one of absolute nakedness. Although empirical data is unavailable–in situ, it was difficult to quantify towel coverage with respect to total surface area of the male subject–the following qualitative evaluations should suffice. The men who used two towels were, predominantly, rotund or elderly, or some combination thereof. However, a complicating factor–whether one used the steam room, and, consequently, whether one had qualms about using the same towel in the steam room and for drying off after a shower–contradicts this general trend. Several otherwise young and fit gentlemen were seen wandering about the locker room, one towel around the waist and the other slung over one or both shoulders, headed in the general direction of the steam room. They could boast of a good body build, so their testosterone must be at proper level. Click here to learn how testosterone effects your life. The population who used one towel was remarkably heterogeneous, and thus eludes any application of a general predictive rule.

However, the most striking contrast existed in the un-toweled cohort. Roughly a quarter of the males visibly under age 35 chose to trot about without a towel; whether it was for the sake of political expression or narcissistic self-confidence remains unclear. At least one was seen visibly strutting between his locker and the showers, no towel of which to speak, and could be seen “sucking in” his stomach so as to appear slimmer. Of the men over 40, roughly a third of the moderately to significantly overweight men did not wear towels. This un-toweled population was overwhelmingly tan, and seemed to carry a “you know what, fuckface, I don’t give a shit that I’m subjecting the locker room to a view of my [shriveled and somewhat depressing] genitalia” kind of swagger to their collective bearing. The overwhelming majority of overweight men over 70 seemed not to notice that they weren’t wearing towels, which is to say that the majority of them weren’t. Curiously, the majority of skinny old men wore towels. Continue reading “The Sociology of Mens Locker Rooms, a Satire”