So today was my first day in the women's locker room.
I gave some thought to The Moment this morning as I was dressing and selected both my over-the-jeans knee-high boots and big flashy earrings; for additional femme triggering/moral support I also wore the flamboyant black-and-white striped plush bucket-hat I picked up on sale at Target the other day...it makes me look like a slightly batty society matron out shopping on the avenue.
At the gym I stopped in at the office first to write a check for my yoga class, and expressed again my trepidation (see previous post) to Wendy, the nice woman who works there. I asked which door I should go in to have the shortest shot at a private changing stall, and she offered to walk me down. I accepted gratefully.
On the way down the stairs she mentioned that just inside the door she was taking me to there was a handicapped bathroom stall, and suggested I might be more comfortable changing there. I felt a twinge. I was braced for the full experience, all ready to elbow my way through the teeming crowds of naked women without batting an eye...and also I wondered just for a moment whether I was being gently shunted to a side-path (equal but different)...but I let both thoughts go and decided just to see how it was and figure out what do to in the moment.
We entered the door. Short hall, turn right. No one in sight. Big fans humming loudly. A glimpse of two young women in racquet-ball outfits chatting way down at the other end of the room. A ten-second tour from Wendy of the shower area, where the other changing stalls were...the sound of someone showering around a corner, otherwise deserted. I opted for the handicap stall, changed into my yoga clothes, and left the locker room without meeting another soul.
Yoga was more that fun...it felt like finding something I’ve been looking for for a long time. I am stiff and weak and couldn’t do some of the poses at all, and I’ll be sore tomorrow. I am definitely going back next week.
When I went back to the locker room after class the handicapped stall was taken, so I ended up in one of the private stalls in the shower area after all. Wet floor...had to carry my socks and boots out into the hall after to put them on. Didn’t meet or even see anyone this time either.
To summarize, no big deal. Anticlimax. The outcome I was hoping for. Yay! There still may be uncomfortable moments in the future, but I know my way around now. I’m good to go.
The most obvious differences between the men’s and women’s locker rooms at this particular gym: The tiles, lockers, walls and floor in women’s are prettier colors than in the men’s; every shower stall in the women’s has a curtain, while men get the “gang shower”; both facilities are clean, and the men’s doesn’t smell bad, but the women’s smells nicer; and, the voices murmuring far away had a higher softer timbre, gentle and unaggressive. I liked it. I felt I belonged there.