by Cyn Collins
I’m a woman, happily partnered, in my late 20s. Yesterday I was at the gym and came out of the sauna nude, having not remembered to grab a towel. When I got to my locker, I found that two women—one of them middle-aged, one of them probably in her 80s—were having a conversation near the locker. As I politely excused myself and reached to open my locker, the older of the two women slapped my bare ass and made a comment about the days when she “looked like that.”
I had no idea how to react. What would you have done? What is proper locker-room etiquette in a day and age when same-sex couplings are common? Does the age factor matter here? How “spunky” is too spunky?
Lost in the Locker Room
That’s cute. What happened sounds more like a compliment than a come-on. (Did you know the YWCA categorizes all women over 40 as “Silver Foxes”? Crikey, why don’t they just sell us death planning services while they’re at it? But I digress.) I personally would have jumped out of my skin, yelped, and then laughed nervously and said something like, “That’s why we’re here, to keep our asses in shape.”
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But let’s say it was a come on. I personally feel that it’s a little uncouth for another woman to hit on you when you’re naked and vulnerable in the locker room. If you were in a co-ed locker room, I would say the same thing. They have co-ed locker rooms on Battlestar Galactica, and you see that the characters don’t hit on each other while in a state of undress—they respectfully wait until they’re (almost) fully clothed to make their moves. Since that’s how we’re going to roll in the future, why not start showing that kind of respect today? My experience in locker rooms is that wherever one falls along the sexuality spectrum, nice ladies generally keep their eyes—let alone hands—to themselves, regardless of their proximity to buff hotties they might like to get to know better.
Of course, some people don’t respect boundaries, and you have to take these situations one-by-one as they occur. If someone gets up in your space, ogles you, or slaps your ass, don’t hesitate to let them know in no uncertain terms (and there are certain terms you should definitely use) that you don’t want their junk in your face or their hands on your hardbody. It can be hard to be upfront, but when it comes to this kind of harassment, it’s best to nip it in the bud before your bud grips your nips.
Published on 2/5/09. Photo by Rebecca Weeks (Creative Commons).