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The ideal locker room -- clean, quiet and empty.
The ideal locker room -- clean, quiet and empty.
How many G's are there in the Packers locker room carpeting?
How many G's are there in the Packers locker room carpeting?

The bare facts about locker room nudity

One of the occupational hazards of sportswriting is the inherent locker-room nudity issue. It might be the aspect of my job that makes me the most uncomfortable.

In my mind, it underlines my outsider / interloper status there -- the feeling of being somewhere I'm not always truly welcome.

While I'm not homophobic at all, players know when media members are taking a peek they shouldn't be and will be quick to judge you accordingly and you don't want that label. In the Packers' old locker room, the carpeting was a pattern of Gs -- the refurbished digs just have one huge G in the middle -- and I can't tell you how many times I stood, head down, counting Gs and averting my eyes while players I didn't need to talk to dressed, as I waited for players I did want to interview to enter the room.

The only place I think I'd be more uncomfortable would be in a women's locker room, which while titillating in theory has to be even more uncomfortable in practice. If the WNBA resurrects the Milwaukee Does someday, I won't volunteer for the gig.

My rule is a simple one: I don't talk to anyone unless they're at least wearing underwear. Even after a Monday night game with brutal deadlines. I instituted that rule after my buddy Antonio Freeman decided to use me as a de facto cornerback to demonstrate how to get off of press coverage -- an interesting and worthwhile lesson, except for one tiny detail: He was clad only in his jockstrap at the time.

Also, different players take different approaches. There's the proud-as-a-peacock tack, which given the vanity that a fair share of players have, is somewhat common. Essentially, they're saying, "I'm naked, and if you're not looking, you're missing out." There are a few of those in the Packers locker room now.

But with the proliferation of female media members in the locker room -- something legendary defensive end Reggie White, for instance, was vehemently (and wrongly) against -- most players have enough awareness to show some modesty and wrap themselves in a towel. Personally, I've always thought former Packers running back Dorsey Levens had it right: He headed for the shower in his shorts; when he emerged, he had a towel around his waist and would then pull his boxers on without removing the towel, a trick I've yet to show the dexterity to master myself at the local YMCA.

Which is what got me thinking about this topic. I don't know how it is at your gym, but I was in the locker room post-workout earlier this week, and because of a social commitment afterward, I was required to shower there. (Something I prefer not to do, for germophobic cleanliness reasons as well as self-consciousness.)

As I gathered my showering products (that's another problem for me; I'm too high-maintenance with my multiple "products"), I was aghast at what I saw next: An older gentleman, with a very prodigious belly (David Sedaris has a hilarious riff on this sort of overhang, but I can't use it here) stopping at a table to read the local newspaper strewn there.

The problem? The table top was at the same height as his ... um, well, I think you know what I'm referring to. So as curious as I was about what was in the Home Depot sale flyer, there was no way I was getting anywhere near that table. I can only hope that the paper was thrown away -- and the table properly OxyCleaned or 409'ed -- before anyone else came near it. But I doubt it.

Hey, I know this isn't usual sports talk. Heck, it's certainly not a topic you'd discuss in the locker room. (I personally don't mind fully-clothed locker room banter, so long as it's not coming from the neighboring urinal.) But am I wrong on this? If you're a locker-room nudist, feel free to convince me otherwise.

In the meantime, I can tell you there were approximately 44 Gs in every 2-foot by 3-foot area in front of each locker.

Talkbacks

papreps | Aug. 17, 2008 at 8:56 p.m. (report)

You will be a naked old man one day.

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packerfaninmn | May 23, 2008 at 8:55 a.m. (report)

I think it is alot of nonsense about nothing. Frankly it does seem a bit homophobic. You are changing and showering in the locker room. Just don't look south of the border for crying out loud. I don't see why anyone who doesn't immediately cover themselves in the men's locker room is exhibitionist or inappropriate. People are too preoccupied with getting in and out without worrying about your sensibilities. Again -- don't look there -- that is your problem not the other persons. The fact that you are so preoccupied with the other guys' things at table level makes me wonder if there is something latent going on with you.

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former y member | May 19, 2008 at 11:51 a.m. (report)

Consider yourself lucky, then, that you never saw the old guys in the Downtown Y locker room flossing their cracks with the community towels!!

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brewerfan13 | May 19, 2008 at 9:46 a.m. (report)

I loved this blog. I've had discussions with friends in the past about locker room nudity, and I have to add that it's not just nasty old men that walk around naked. Older women do it too.

Now, I realize I'm in a locker room and there will be nudity around me. But there's a difference between using the locker room to shower and change, and using the locker room like your personal bathroom.

Personally, I find it inappropriate and kind of gross to see someone standing there totally naked, slathering themselves with lotion after a shower, or standing for all to see while drying your hair. I mean really, is it that hard to do with a towel on? Or at least some underwear? Cover it up people!

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papreps | May 17, 2008 at 2:51 p.m. (report)

this is the best treatise i've read on the subject:
written by a woman

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