Tuesday, March 24, 2009


The One With Nudity

I use the gym on campus, since it's cheap and convenient to work. It's nicer than some private health clubs I've seen locally, and it seems like a nice 'campus loyalty' thing to do.

All of which is fine, but...


It's hard to be appropriately deanly after showering, standing in the locker room in the altogether drying off, when faculty colleagues walk in. “Hi, DD!” Uh, hi...

I'm not one of those guys who makes a point of just shooting the breeze while feeling the breeze. (I once belonged, briefly, to a gym habituated by some men who thought there was nothing better than hanging out in the locker room and discoursing earnestly on matters various and sundry while airing it all out. By contrast, I belong to the “dude, seriously...” school.) My economy of motion in getting from 'exposed' to 'not exposed' is almost Taylorist. And I don't care so much about being seen, say, tying a tie. But there's still an interval when there's just no getting around the fact of not really wanting to be seen.

Some of my admin colleagues have mentioned not using the campus gym for precisely that reason. They think it's tough to maintain an appropriate distance after being seen in all their glory. Admittedly, there's something to be said for that.

But that would be admitting defeat. And when you're supporting four people on a single community college salary, the prospect of paying for a private gym membership out of nothing more than modesty just seems a little tough to justify.

Wise and worldly readers – have you found a tolerable way to handle the post-shower dash at the campus gym?

I work out at the end of the day and shower at home.

It's not so much, manage, as avoid being seen in the altogether.

Scale down a level and there's just something not-so-professor-y about being nekkid in front of a student.
Get a giant gaudy tattoo on your belly.

People won't be able to look at anything else.
I'm currently going to physical therapy for my pregnancy (it's wrecking my back), at a warm-water therapy pool twice a week at the local Easter Seals.

One of my students is scheduled at the same time as one of my weekly appointments. Awk-ward! And not really movable.
What's the big deal? I remember my first job in Japan--for orientation, our whole office went to a hot spring hotel in the mountains, where we all got naked and bathed together in steaming rock and cedar pools (albeit separated by gender). Then we got drunk and crashed in the hotel, five or six to a room. We did that once every couple of months.

The weirdest situations are in old urban baths, where there is often a central check-in counter positioned to watch both genders' bathing areas--usually staffed by a wizened old lady. But once you've been to a mixed-gender outdoor public bath, the gym shower holds few terrors. :)
Wear a large, lifelike prosthesis of your masculine regions when showering and toweling off.

Make your nakedness a source of intimidation, not embarrassment.

It'll give you the upper hand in many conversations later on.

(Yes, I am twelve years old on the inside. Why do you ask?)
I suppose I am not to sure of the "big deal" either. (No pun intended.)

If you think it is somehow "not Deanly" to be seen in the buff--well I have to ask what it means to be "Deanly."

Seriously--is being a Dean something that means you are to be kept separate from the rest of the world? If that's the case, then perhaps you need to convince the school that you are important enough to have your own separate showers/changing room.

Honestly, it seems this is more a throw-back to the days of embarrassment in Jr High and HS gym classes, where the geek was embarrassed to be around the jocks.
Just smile, say hi and get dressed in a quick but not hurried fashion. Maybe steer the conversation towards something non-work related, like working out. I swim at my school a couple times a week and am usually there the same time as a much younger math professor. He's a "real" swimmer (shaved head and all) while I basically try not to drown for 30 minutes. He's tenure track, I'm an adjunct. I'm 50 and flabby, he's not 50 and not flabby. But we talk about classes, joke about student foibles, etc. As Wilson once said to a student embarrassed to run into him in a public bathroom in Princeton (a the stadium), "Son, in here we're all peers..."
I dunno, it's never bothered me. Modesty's a funny thing. It works the other way too. When I was a grad student, some of my grad student friends would get freaked out if they saw their advisor in the locker room, but I never fully understood this. I also don't understand why some of my colleagues didn't want their pictures on online dating sites like match.com. They said it would be too embarrassing if their students saw it. Well, so what? Do they think I'm not human? Why do they think I wouldn't want to date?

If you're doing something other than showering and changing when you're in a locker room, then that's when you should worry. But all you're doing is what everybody else is doing. Maybe just make sure you always have a towel for cover.
Maybe it's different in the men's locker room, but in the women's room we all tend to face the lockers when we're in anything less than our underwear. So, once I'm at the point that I'm covered, and facing the room, it's no big deal to talk to a student or faculty member. I also think it's a case of "fake it 'til you make it." If you pretend that everything is fine and normal, everything will be fine.
I work out at the end of the day and shower at home.

Enh, "Hang on, lemme pull some pants on," works. It's not like you're asking them to let you compose a symphony first.
You definitely don't need a prosthesis. Wink, wink.
Take a spare towel to the shower and wrap it around your waist.

I was a little boggled as an undergraduate when one of my Lit professors included his usual sauna times on his office hours, but hey it takes most kinds.
I think mthgeek called you on it: you're thinking of "faculty" as they might of students. And the question is why. You've revealed yourself here (all puns intended). You see yourself as no longer "of" the faculty at all, and it seems you see yourself as better. if the idea of an all admin shower, all-admin dining room appeals to you, you've imbibed the Kool-Aide.
It is also relevant that DD has mentioned in the past simply being kind of reserved.
I just go ahead and shower and dress. But with the ubiquity of cell phone cameras, I have often wondered how much a photo of a naked physics professor is worth. A naked female physics professor. But I figure that we're all in the same boat, sorta.
Just have to say that the line "My economy of motion in getting from 'exposed' to 'not exposed' is almost Taylorist" is brilliant.
I've run into a couple of my professors while they were in the buff in the locker room, and I've run into them when I was in the buff in the locker room. It wasn't a problem for me, and I didn't notice any discomfort from them either. It doesn't change the way that I view them at all.

But I am female, and I think that locker room nudity is easier for most of us females than it is for most guys. Were not afraid of being judged, and I think that were able to separate nudity from sex more easily?

My boyfriend and a bunch of our friends often workout at the campus gym together. My boyfriend has said that the guys never undress in front of each other, other than maybe down to underwear. My girlfriends and I are not bothered by showering and changing in front of each other though.

Saw this post on inside higher education so I'll add it here,

I disagree strongly, many people according with people who have religious views and have persona preferences should have the right to private showers.

There seems to be a hypocritical notion on both sides, one the one side people seem to scoff at opposite sex nudity but tolerate same sex nudity and scoff at anyone who complains about nudity, well it is a bit hypocritical.

Imagine this your six year old son or daughter is getting changed with his/her female teacher and showering togehter in the nude , reading the comments it would be perfectly acceptable that in other places it would be indecent exposure but not in the locker room. This is a bit hypocritical, in many states urinating in the bushes can land you permanently on the sex offender list, sometimes people lie and say that he/she was caught urinating or sometimes peopel go out of the way where nobody else is looking , we Americans are hypocritical at times not everybody of course.

A teacher from Indiana was participating in a German American cultureal exchange program and was fired for taking her students to Germany , why because the locker rooms were not segregated by sex. Now the person who promotes same-sex nudity has a double standard because imagine your child's teacher or a professor nude in the same room or shower as you, or what if you are conservative and don't want to be seen in the nude at all. Its one thing to voice an opinion and comment but its another thing to be hypocritical which many people are.
Haha... funny blog. I think some of what you feel is coming from the society that you grow up in. There are millions of outcomes in every situation. So, what that means is if you feel awkward it is because you chose that feeling to deal with the situation, which comes from what you have learned through out your life. For example, there are many societies that give not a second thought to nudity. Societies ranging from African tribes, European cities, Asian workplace retreats and American communities. My sister is a nudist and used to live in one of the societies.

Understand, you feel awkward because you chose to, not because you have to.
The prudes have taken over America. It used to be men didn't care about other men seeing them naked in a locker room. In fact before the YMCA began allowing women as members nude swimming was required in the pool as swim suits were not allowed. Showing after gym class was mandatory in high schools as well.

But today we have full body swim suits, and private shower stalls. Sad how the new prudishness has completely taken over.
the used of adult tattoos designs in college campus is forbid
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