By Christopher Cudworth
As a matter of tradition, the phrase “hit the showers, boys!” used to ring out after every high school and college athletic practice. We’d drag our tired bodies back to the locker room, strip naked and stand under the forgiving spray in hopes of either getting either warm or cool water depending on the season.
Athletes once thought nothing of standing around naked in the showers. Why would they? Being naked at times is part of sports. It still is with the pros.
Who knows exactly what’s happening these days? Kids apparently don’t shower after gym class during school hours. One frustrated kid put the question up on the Internet, “Why don’t schools make kids shower after gym any more?” Here’s were her observations:
My mom was recently talking about how she had to take showers in gym when she was younger. My school doesn’t make us shower (actually, they dont LET us shower) and neither do any of the middle schools in our area. at first i thought it sounded horrible, getting naked in front of everyone like that, but then i thought it would be nice to go back to class feeling nice and clean rather than hot and sweaty. and the kids could wear swimsuits if they feel embarrassed. why dont they make them shower? do they want their students walking around sweaty and smelly?
One respondent’s succinct reply said a lot:
A number of reasons:
They would have to cut the class time to make time for a shower
Using all that water every day for hundreds of students adds up
incidents that could happen in the shower, like sexual harassment, because a teacher could not be present, also imagine the scandal if there was a homo sexual around you? Also guys running in on the girls etc.
Schools became afraid of being sued. You could slip and fall. lol
But i think you should be able to if you want to… but still that would still have to cut down class time, to allow time for the shower.
Yes, all the insecurities of the world seem to come together in the shower. Not to mention fears. Who can forget the scene in Psycho with the blood washing down the drain? School showers simply aren’t safe or emotionally healthy places…
So much ignorance and so many selfish fears afoot when it comes to showering after exercise. Let’s not forget that some very recent studies have shown that recreation time is actually critical to student performance in the class room. There’s also the growing challenge of childhood obesity lurking around every school corner. To help manage their wait, kids actually need to be working out hard enough to work up a sweat. That means they should shower following exercise for purposes of hygiene and potential body odor.
At the gym
Showering at the health club where I belong is kind of fun. They have giant shower stalls lined with cool tile and a never-ending supply of hot water. You can work out hard, take a rinse off shower, go swimming, hit the hot tub and come back for even more hot water before you change and head back out into the world. The showers are like a refuge from everything else that’s wrong in the universe.
My membership is coming up for renewal and I can pay $19.99 for the simple version of the club with no showers or else pay $25 or $30 a month and be able to visit the bigger gym with the pool and all. The luxury of those showers may be worth the extra dough.
Because for years the showers at the gym were a tarsnake of sorts. It was great to get done working out and hit the showers to cool off or warm up. Yet so many school and college showers were utilitarian. Our college locker rooms had those tower showers where everyone stands around a pole with water squirting at them. Sure there were towel fights and the occasional joke about a body feature, but no one really came to much harm from it all.
After showering we’d often stick our heads under the heated blow driers so that our hair would not freeze during the walk up the hill in freezing temperatures to the college Union. Yet it was sort of fun to have a Helmet Head made of ice. But some of us got sick of all that and started showering in the dorms not out of embarrassment but of convenience in getting changed.
During lunch hour workouts over the years, there were times when a shower was not always available. I’d run four or five miles and change back into work clothes after dousing myself with deodorant. That feeling of being grimy or sweaty under the clothes was never great.
My dentist used to run during his lunch hours and come back shining from sweat. Then he’d towel off with no shower and go back to work. Honestly that grossed me out. I switched dentists.
Home sweet home
Over time we develop a funny relationship with the shower. Everyone has a rhythm to their showering. Some are fast and efficient. Others take their time and dawdle, letting water wash their troubles away.
In summer nothing feels better than a cool shower after a long bike ride. If the legs need a shave I plop down on the tub floor and aim the shower head to the wall. Then I can shave and rinse. The feeling of smooth legs for cycling is simply I’ve grown to appreciate at a whole number of levels. It just looks better, but even the art of getting a smooth shave is a pleasure of sorts. It’s like painting a wall or writing a story.
Then you come out of the shower and move into your day with a zing and a tingle. The shower makes you feel truly alive, or at least brings you back from the dead after a killer workout.
Sharing the space with a treasured companion can be fun too. Everything’s better when wet. Of course I tried that once with a college girlfriend in a dorm during summer break and the floor maid heard us talking. She burst in to investigate as I hid behind the door. It was like one of those scenes from an exploitation comedy about teen lust. But she didn’t find me even though she asked my girlfriend all kinds of questions.
Yes, it’s a long and complicated history one has with the shower. Perhaps you’d like to share your experiences…for better or worse?