Speaking of Locker Rooms
Simon Sheppard, QSyndicate.com
Sure, gay desire is great anywhere at all, but few places are dearer to the
hearts of many queer men than the humble gym locker room. Men getting
undressed, heading for the steam room, showering en masse - it's hardly any
wonder that locker rooms are wonderlands of lust.
"For many of us," says one gay guy, "the locker room is the place we first
saw other guys naked. That's a powerful memory – one that, for me, carries a
lot of associations even today."
Not all those associations are necessarily pleasant. As queer guys grew up,
some of us found the locker room to be a place of concealed desires,
homophobia, and shame. But we're all big boys now, and a trip to the gym
should be self-affirming – even for those of us who forged notes to get out
of gym class, right? And once you're done with your lifting, spinning, and
stretching, once your body is pounding with endorphins and gleaming with
sweat, a trip to the changing room can be hotter than a sauna.
"Working out really puts me in touch with my body – hell, it makes me
horny," says a fitness buff. "So when I get to watch the guy I've been
eyeing across the weight room strip down and shower, it's all I can do not
to pop wood."
The Village People notwithstanding, things can get trickier at the
all-orientation Y than at an avowedly gay gym, where an open expression of
dick-centric interest is more likely to be welcomed, statistically speaking.
But lust in any locker room can lead to trouble; more than a few guys have
had their gym memberships yanked for pounding their puds in the steam room.
So many a man prefers to limit his locker-room lust to something a bit more
Mr. Fitness Buff continues: "I've become quite a locker-room flirt. At my
gym, most guys wear towels, so I drape my towel so it shows off my...assets.
If I'm feeling especially shameless, I'll just leave the towel in my locker.
And if there's somebody nearby who interests me, I'll turn my back to him
before I bend over to dry my feet."
No need to depend on body language, of course. A simple "How was your
workout?" is a threadbare but reliable conversation starter. An enthusiastic
reply, some promising eye contact, and who knows where things will lead?
(Well, maybe to bed, but maybe not even as far as a cup of coffee. Some
locker-room friendliness is just that: asexual. And some flirters are in it
for the flirtation alone. They may be partnered, not-too-slutty, or even
married...to a woman.)
Then there's the well-known "locker-room troll," the fellow who would never
dream of pumping iron, who's in it for libido alone. Maybe less attractive,
older, or simply a devoted voyeur, Ted Troll just sits and watches and
watches, the sort of lust-based lurker who can make even the most
even-tempered guy a bit uncomfortable. On the other hand, one gym bunny
confides, "I'm really into being watched. If some man, no matter how
unattractive I might find him, plops himself down across from me in the
sauna and stares at my crotch, my crotch can't help but respond." Let's face
it – no matter what we say, for most of us, those trips to the gym are at
least partly about being ogle-worthy.
Being naked amongst a bunch of other guys can be glorious or grueling. A
feeling of dick-based camaraderie? Insecure comparisons of biceps, pecs, and
cocks? Frosty attitude or sweaty socializing? The choice, bub, is up to you.
Cultivating a healthy attitude as well a hunky body should be every
health-club homo's goal.
So remember to have good, clean fun. And don't forget the combination to your lock.
Simon Sheppard is the author of Kinkorama: Dispatches from the Front Lines
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