There was a naked man in the changing rooms at the gym yesterday. Now, obviously a certain degree of nudity here is normal as, by its very definition, a changing room is a place where people get changed, and when people get changed, there is that inevitable moment of transition from one set of clothes to the other when you will be essentially starkers, give or take a pair of socks. There's also a certain amount of to-ing and fro-ing to the showers, although actual nudity at the showers is generally confined to the actual shower cubicles themselves, with most people either wearing a pair of trunks and on their way to the swimming pool, or firmly wrapped up in their towel. Fleeting nudity, in this context, is tolerable. Brazen nudity, however, is not. You can probably get away with walking to the showers with your towel over your shoulder, but if you don't have a towel with you, then frankly you're just walking about in the buff, and you might just as well have your hands on your hips and your foot on the changing benches as we all try not to catch your eye. Or an eyeful.
I'd just been for a swim, and was just coming down the steps from the pool and on my way into the sauna when I caught sight of this guy: he was walking down the corridor to the showers, butt naked and without a towel, striding purposefully in my direction. Even in an environment where bare flesh is fairly commonplace, his total nudity stood out a mile. Naturally, I frowned my disapproval and turned a sharp right into the sauna as he turned the other way into the showers. I was alone in the sauna, and so, without really thinking about it, I selected a seat on the topmost bench facing the glass door and the shower cubicles beyond. This ill-considered seat selection meant I had a grandstand view when the naked man emerged from his shower cubicle. He had no towel, of course, so he proceeded to attentively and unhurriedly smooth the water from his body. From his whole body. His whole body. Now, I wouldn't do this in the privacy of my own bathroom, nevermind in the middle of a busy gym changing room. Still, each to their own, I suppose..... except now he walked straight towards me and pushed open the door into the sauna.
Now, I know that in scandinavia it is commonplace for people to be completely nude in saunas. I've been to Finland a couple of times, and I know that this is the way things are done and have done it myself. The thing about that is that it is considered ill-mannered and unhygienic to do this unless you take in some paper-towelling that you then sit on. In the UK, at least in my gym, we tend to wear our trunks or our towels when in the sauna. Well, it has wooden benches, so the idea of someone's naked arse and sweaty undercarriage sat on a porous surface like that is pretty horrible, isn't it? Anyway, naked guy came into the sauna, but instead of sitting down quietly, he shut the door and then, still standing up, he pressed his back against the wooden wall next to the door. That was odd enough, but he then proceeded to move his body slowly against the wall, as though he was scratching his back, or, heaven help us, his arse. He did this for about thirty seconds, and then sat down. After another thirty seconds, he then began squirming around again, and this time it was impossible to shift the impression that he was trying to ease some discomfort by rubbing his naked backside against the wooden seating in the sauna..... After about a minute of this, I got up and left.
I don't know how often that sauna gets cleaned, but I'll bet it isn't ofen enough, and I'm not sure that my swimming trunks are protection enough against whatever is being ground into those wooden benches in the sauna. I'm also pretty sure that the shower gel in the showers is not disinfectant enough to provide any real protection either.
There are worse things to catch than swine flu, you know.
Technology at a glacial pace Part 2
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