Then I remembered something: I loathe the men’s locker room.
All men’s locker rooms. I was probably first scarred as a young boy, when my dad would take me to the YMCA near his office during my school breaks. We’d run around the track, and afterward he’d shower before returning to work. I’d just sit there, languishing on one of those wood benches coacted with Merv or Henry or Bob or Steve’s ass-cheek sweat, counting the never-ending minutes until we could leave. The old men would pass by, buck naked, their junk dangling to and fro, hairy, sweat-coated asses making me feel as if I were visiting some sort of convention for drop-out Ewoks.
I’ve never recovered. I hate walking through locker rooms, and I especially hate walking through locker rooms en route to the shower, naked. It’s uncomfortable and awkward and weird and a stroll I could do without. My least favorite moment—the worst 9 seconds—comes post-shower, when your legs are wet and you’re stumbling around, trying to slide your underwear over your dripping ankles, hoping nobody’s watching. You’re exposed, naked, bare, and it’s an immediate flashback to the YMCA.
Plus, there’s the inevitable nastiness of the room—the puddles, the used Band-Aid (with a dollop of blood on the white), the strands of hair, the dried piss beneath the urinal.
Never again, I cry.