Originally Posted: 2006-05-09 12:09

Dear San Francisco Gymnasium Nude Guy

Dear San Francisco Gymnasium Nude Guy:

First off, let me tell you that some of my best friends are gay. And I don't mean that in a "some of my best friends are gay" way. I mean that in a "some of the deepest and most significant relationships of my life are with gay people" sort of way. Since we're all exercising here together in this San Francisco gym, its pretty safe to assume we're a bunch of queer-friendly folk.

That said. The locker room is, first and foremost, a place for transitioning from the street-clothes state to the ready-to-work-out state. We all go there, we shower, we put on our baggy shorts and iPods, et cetera and so forth, we exercise, we reverse the process.

Further, it is commonly accepted that a certain amount of nudity is implicit in the San Francisco locker room experience. Heck, it even happens across the States. In locker rooms across the heartland of of this great nation, guys get naked in order to prepare for weightlifting, or bocce, or any array of other manly activities.

Now here’s the issue. When you get naked and pose, one elbow resting on the locker, in an affected sprawl of theatrical ease... Rippling your pecs, naked as a damned jaybird... Trying to make eye contact with the rest of us...

Well sir, you are not observing the Locker Room Protocol.

Again, for clarity's sake, I am all for you discovering a sexual partner or three. This is, after all, the City of Love. I wholeheartedly encourage you in your constitutional pursuit of butt-sex bliss. However, the Locker Room Protocol was written for the comfort and security of all exercisers, and I must insist that you strictly observe its guidelines.

For your convenience, I attach a copy herewith.

Rule 1. No conversational gambits while I am naked. Naked time is private time for me, and we're not going to find common ground over today's baseball game or Oprah while my boys are out and about. If you absolutely must initiate conversation, for example to inform me of an impending terrorist act, wait at least until I get my underwear on.

Rule 2. No attempted eye contact of longer than two seconds. This rule may be bent if we are already having a conversation; however, if I am naked at the moment, we are not having a conversation (see Rule 1) and as such you cannot make eye contact with me. A longing, lustful, wouldn’t-it-be-nice-to-bang-you look that lasts for over two seconds, when you don’t even know my first name, is out of order while in the locker room.

Rule 3. No peacocking. Peacocking is the process of loitering or gaggling about in a flashy manner, typically while naked. Naked state in the locker room is required to be a transitional state – you are not permitted to lazily clean your fingernails while naked, or run your fingers absentmindedly through your hair, or initiate cell phone calls, or otherwise laze or loll about. This rule goes for double if I am also naked (see Rule 1). In other words, simultaneous Rule 1 and Rule 3 violations go on your permanent gymnasium record.

When all gymnasium attendees observe the Locker Room Protocol, they are entitled to the following Benefits.

Benefit 1. You may initiate and continue conversation with me, on general polite topics of your choosing, including but not limited to Oprah or the baseball game on television. If you flex your muscles or otherwise peacock (see Rule 3) while we are having said conversation, I may change the topic to something more innocuous, such as weather or C++ programming, or I might even terminate the conversation without warning. But be forewarned that if I am naked when you initiate conversation, I will refuse eye contact and grunt noncommittally only (see Rule 1).

Benefit 2. While I am naked, you may steal furtive glances at any part of my naked anatomy. You know you want to, and I know you want to, so I will accept this as long as you don’t make a big deal about it. I’m really not all exciting to look at while naked, but if it floats your boat and I have no idea that you’re checking me out, go ahead and get it over with. Note that if you spend too long looking at my naked anatomy, say over two seconds or so, I may call you on a Rule 2 violation. Err on the side of caution here.

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