Monday, February 28, 2011

On naked men: A love letter to the fig leaf

Posted By on Mon, Feb 28, 2011 at 1:05 PM

Dear Men of the Downtown YMCA,

First, let me just acknowledge that if you're going to be nude anywhere, the locker room is a swell place to strip down; the YMCA's locker rooms even come in two flavors. If you're of a mind to show some skin in the poor-people dressing room, there are concrete benches, fans and a urinal or two. For the classier folk who know the secret code into the upper-crust locker room, there are flat screens, leather chairs and complimentary scented goo.

  • Oh, to be one of the guys ...

To that last, let me add naked men. Lots and lots of naked men, whose apparent goal is to never let this skin touch anything but God's grace.

"But aren't there naked men in every locker room?" ask the curious youth in the audience. To those inquiring minds I say, "Yes, but not like this. You may have never seen naked men like this." (And because I hate to leave the women folk out, I hear it's exactly the same in their parts, except maybe worse.)

I don't know if it's some product of the code on the door acting as a signal to begin male bonding, or if I just never got the notice that hanging out while hanging out is male bonding in the first place. But if it's a flesh feast in any normal space, it's a veritable luxury of riches in the executive suites. (Not to mention scientific confirmation that humans don't age — they melt.)

I'm talking bare bottoms enjoying a self-administered rub-down with lotion, or cologne or Oil of Olay. Or showering, drying off, then losing the towel and kicking back to catch the latest from Libya; or just chatting it up, bits enjoying their newfound freedom. I even had the pleasure of a nice young man falling asleep in a chair located right in front of my locker — balls to the walls.

Of course, inspired as I was, I even tried to get in on the act. I changed; I took my shirt off; I felt the sweet breeze of refined air. But then I put on my socks and instantly felt overdressed.

I know that clothing must be exchanged for clothing in the pursuit of athletic perfection. I just ask that the aura of au naturel from those dear devotees of disrobing be tempered with a little scrap of, um, anything.


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