Lessons from the YMCA locker room

Sep 24, 2008

#Fitness#Weght Loss and Body Image

We recently joined the YMCA (que: YYYYY EMMM CEEE AAAIIII ) and I’ve been going at least three times a week. The children do fine, I get an hour to myself and work off some angst and stress. It’s the best investment we’ve made truly for our own good in a long long time.

There are a lot of families at the Y. There are moms. Kids. Teens.

There are also a lot of old women.

Old. Flabby. Women.

Who don’t use towels.

Probably because they don’t fit.

I remember walking around hiding my body back in my teens and twenties. Those same girls still walk around the locker room hiding behind a towel and scurrying to the dressing area like rats in the sun. They’re also so tiny you would hardly know they were there save for the swoosh of the air as the slightest frame wafts by.

Compare that with the older, more established ladies. They come in from swimming class dripping wet, peal off their suits and shower all while chatting about this or that. They walk to the locker with their towel in their arm. They make eye contact. They laugh. They are truly comfortable in their own skin. One lady walks up to me with her towel in her arm, “Where do we place dirty towels?” she asks. I tell her it’s down the hall, just before you leave the building. She thanks me and I half expect her to march down there butt naked in front of God and everyone.

As I’m wrapping my towel around half my body, allowing my left butt cheek to poke out like those hospital gowns that allow for so much dingity, I realize I’m nearing middle age. I’m not the age of self-consciousness, hiding my young, perk body thinking it’s so fat and ugly, but I’m not at the age of towel-less wrinkle pride with a body that’s suffered years and experiences and still carries on. No, I’m somewhere in the middle; half-heartedly covering my stretch marks and wrinkles padding bare-foot to the shower not quite too shy to hang up my towel before dissapearing in the stall but not proud enough to leave the towel behind.

As it turns out, I realized age doesn’t just bring wisdom, it brings comfort in ourselves. The kind of naked, boob-flapping nakedness that sings of self confidence. Or, at least, a lack of caring. And honestly, isn’t that the same thing?



  1. This is such a good post. What an interesting observation and great way to think about it. I don’t shower at the gym though! I’m definitely in the age of self-consciousness. grin

    By Chrissy on 2008 09 24

  2. I can’t wait to reach that age of being comfortable with myself. Sadly, it didn’t magically happen when I turned 30 this year.  grin

    By Jill - GlossyVeneer on 2008 09 24

  3. Is that your arm? Can I have it?

    By Kristina Brooke on 2008 09 24

  4. Welcome to the gun show…nice pipes!

    By Angella on 2008 09 24

  5. sooooo true. the old woman walk around our locker room naked, while i change in the shower.

    By feener on 2008 09 24

  6. Here you are learning the lesson, meanwhile I’ve been going to our YMCA for the last month ducking in and out of the lockerroom learning to prepare myself to be assualted by the site of a couple of naked old ladies and always shocked by how confident they are.

    It didn’t occur to me that I should learn something from them. When I change there I live in fear that someone will come in while I’m ducking from the shower to a bathroom stall, trying not to get my clothes wet or whatever.

    You are so much smarter than me.

    By Ammie aka Sleeping Mommy on 2008 09 24

  7. GO YOU!  Yeah and ummm I totally envy the women who bare all without a thought in the locker room.  I am so not there!

    By KD@ A Bit Squirrelly on 2008 09 24

  8. Awesome guns girlfriend!

    By Ree on 2008 09 24

  9. Nice muscle lady.

    By MariaV on 2008 09 25

  10. I am so gonna make my arms look like that!
    I was trying to get together a very similar post the other week but you’ve beaten me to it!

    By Vic @ glowstars on 2008 09 25

  11. Yep! Something does happen at middle age.  The magic of being comfortable in my own skin is something that I wouldn’t trade for anything in the whole world.  I am enjoying my own internal Divaliciousness.  I wish this for everyone.  Thank you for sharing - Nards

    By Nards on 2008 09 25

  12. I wonder when this kicks in??  I need me some.  But wait…. first I need to figure out what this “gym” place is…

    By autumn dahlia on 2008 09 25

  13. nice biceps, girlfriend! when I saw there was a photo coming at the end of this post, I was afraid

    By Jacquie on 2008 09 25

  14. Ha ha ha…we just joined the “Y”, too and I was just coming to a similar conclusion. I’m just glad when I was in the hot tub all the other women were wearing suits…my hubs reports that in the men’s room, most were au naturale!

    By Colleen - Mommy Always Wins on 2008 09 25

  15. WHAT? That should totally be illegal. I mean, naked junk in a tub together? That’s considered outlaw in most states. wink

    By Mrs. Flinger on 2008 09 25

  16. My husband and I were married for 2 YEARS before I let even considered letting him see me naked. I know, I’m weird like that. For all my talk about flashing my bewbs, I’m hopelessly shy about my body and could never walk around half-dressed in a locker room full of strangers. Well, there was that one time I flashed my neighbors, but that was an accident. I swear.

    By Sammanthia on 2008 09 25

  17. Holy pipes Batman - nice guns! And because it’s football season - wishing LB a super awesome 4th bday (early!)

    By Nicole on 2008 09 25

  18. ya know if i had arms like that I’d be walking around the Y in the buff.

    but I dont so I’ll be the one with the towel in the corner.

    By the mrs. on 2008 09 26

  19. I wish I could be comfortable in my own skin like those older ladies. I’m definitely not. Hell, I don’t even like to see myself in the mirror!

    By Renee on 2008 09 26

  20. It is so nice. I am almost fifty and I am finally comfortable in my skin.

    By carol on 2008 09 26