The Male Locker Room

An amusing discussion over at Andrew Sullivan’s blog on John Amaechi noting that in NBA locker rooms guys "check each other out" all the time. One reader writes Andrew:

I don’t get this whole "taking a shower with your gay team-mates thing." I am straight.  Straight as an arrow. I like women. I like boobs. I do not find the penis sexy. Very, very straight …

And I check out guys in the shower. I am always curious what other guys look like. I am always comparing and contrasting. Any guy who tells you he does not sneak a peak is full of crap. If you shower in a gym, it does not matter if you are showering with gay guys, straight guys, Chippendale dancers or the Dalai Lama himself … everyone is checking everyone else out.

I work out at the Flatiron Athletic Club, which was last year named the best gym in America, and my routine is workout, shower, hot tub. I now hot-tub about six days a week, and it’s awesome.

The spacious locker room dynamics are fascinating. You have some guys who are all-towel (minority). Some guys who are towel-less but comfortable (majority). Some guys who are towel-less but slightly uncomfortable (they just happen to hold the towel in a certain location). And some guys who are totally brash and aggressive in their flaunting (minority).

Regardless of the category, I can vouch for the emailer’s observation above: everyone is sneaking a peek while maintaining a base level of maturity and professionalism. And as Andrew says, if you’re someone who, a) feels "violated" if someone else gets aroused in your presence or, b) you’d feel uncomfortable showering with gay people, it’s your own insecurity that’s the problem, not anyone’s orientation.

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