Getting buff in the buff

I have been going to the gym regularly since I was in high school and believe me; I’ve seen a lot of strange things go down. This ranges from the mildly strange, like people working out wearing jeans, to more extreme, with the random person who does Tai Chi in the middle of a crowded weight room. I’ve also seen bad things, like people passing during their first workout, people getting injured, and oh so many folks throwing up after intense training. Once, an enormous man asked me to hold 45-pound plates on his back while he did push ups. Naturally I obliged.

Regardless of which gym you attend and how sophisticated or rudimentary it may be, chances are you’re always going to have access to a locker room. This is where my confusion arises.

Why is it that just because multiple people are going to exercise within the same complex, must we all undress in front of one another? It’s not that I’m squeamish or overly modest. To tell you the truth, changing in the locker room doesn’t faze me at all. It’s just the fascination with who came up with this concept and why they felt it was appropriate.

Obviously there aren’t too many places that involve large numbers of people simultaneously undressing, but if you consider retail dressing rooms, medical offices or massage studios, they all offer individual places to change. It’s also interesting to consider that if you were to undress in front of other people anywhere public besides a locker room, you’d probably be arrested.

Understandably the layout of a locker room with individual changing areas would look something like a labyrinth, so maybe that’s where the bullpen atmosphere originated, but I’ve always found it a little curious.

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