Monday, May 12, 2008

Haunted by Hassel

"Haunted by Hassel", that could be the name of my new book. The latest unshakable experience happened as Chris Hassel played the part of "naked guy" in this week's What's Bugging Andy? If you haven't seen it, it's on the video player at's sports page. Proceed with caution.

After SoundOff Sunday night, our friend and colleague, Jon Miller, wrote an email of appreciation for Andy's observations about gym etiquette. Jon also attached a column he wrote a few years ago on the clueless people who often frequent fitness facilities. I've included most of it here:

Today's Topic: The Towel Belongs Around Your Waist When You Are Naked

Being that I have only been in the men's locker room, I cannot say for sure if this is a gender specific phenomena, or if it pertains to just the men.

But here are a few observations and questions I have made through the years, with most of them being recent.


Why, when you need to be naked in the locker room, do you walk to the shower with the towel over your shoulder, flip flops on to avoid fungus, and let it all hang out? None of us wants to see that. This does not just pertain to men who are in excellent shape. Men of all shapes and sizes do this. Why? Cover up, bro.


Why don't you cover up when you walk from your locker to the sink area to grab some gel, put on some deodorant or other sink and mirror related issues? This is not your personal bathroom. That is fine at home, and the wife might actually like that from time to time, but the rest of us men really don't care for it. Or at least I don't think they do.


I enjoy a good soak in the hot tub after a workout. There are not many things that are as relaxing as that, though the sign says to not wade into a hot tub after a workout. (Why the hell have a hot tub in the men's locker room if you are not supposed to get in it after a workout?) If you are going to enter the hot tub, could you PLEASE have some sort of swim trunks on your person? The towel around the waist, two steps into the water and off comes the towel is more than a bit unnerving for this man. This isn't Vail and your wife is not in the room. Please, have something that forms some sort of barrier, just for the peace of mind of others.

Now, should you encounter this person, the proper etiquette is to not just stand up and leave immediately. You probably need to wait at least one minute before moving on to the shower, as a courtesy. I know it's hard, but it's the right thing to do. And if this person should strike up a conversation, one word answers will do just fine, in your deepest voice.


If your health club or YMCA has individual shower stalls like they do at Prairie Life, and they have curtains on the stalls, those curtains are there to be used. What is up with going in and showering, lathering up and doing the 360 rinse off for all to see with the curtain drawn? Shut the curtain, man! Shut the curtain! If you club has the high school group shower column thingy, then it's understandable and certainly acceptable.


Is there anything more unnerving or frightening than when you are lacing up your shoes, getting ready to work out, and Towel Over the Shoulder Guy comes over to you and strikes up a conversation when you are sitting down? Why does one even have to address this as being wrong?

Listen, I am a social person, and I really do enjoy talking to complete strangers. Honestly. But I am probably not going to be too long winded when Johnson is at eye level and very much inside the Ring of Courtesy Space that I like to have when a naked dude is in the room.

Also, there is a widely known technique to put on one's underpants while at the same time sparing the rest of the room the moon shot…your towel is wrapped around your waist, you put on your undies, and then you drop the towel. It's not being shy about what you have, it's just a good practice to follow.

What can exacerbate the uneasiness when you encounter any one of these circumstances is when Spandau Ballet's 'True' comes on the radio, or Josh Groban starts to croon one of his toons on the piped in music.

It would be much better if they had on 'Arena Rock'in the men's locker room as opposed to some of the stuff I have heard.

I know that some of you might be thinking, 'Man Jon, what is your hang up here?'

To me, it's just about etiquette. Some friends and I have recently shared some of these stories, and we feel the same way.
I am not hating on anyone here, and if you happen to be one of the guys from any of the categories I have listed above (and I am sure there are others), I don't dislike you.

But if I tie my laces a bit faster, or if I slowly slide over in the spa, it's nothing personal. It's just me.

Jon Miller

Thanks, Jon. Next time send this in before SoundOff so we can steal some of your ideas.

What do you think? Are these observations fair? Or did Jon and Andy miss a few people that drive you a little crazy at the gym?

If you'd like, leave some thoughts in the feedback section. Who knows, maybe some of these folks will get a clue, and if nothing else, getting it off your chest can't hurt, as long as you're wearing a towel.



Anonymous said...

The chicks who come to the gym in full-on combat makeup--seriously, we all know that sweating 'brown' is not natural.

Anonymous said...

Hello security? Cleanup in blog 1!

Matt said...

i have found that every word that Andy said on Whats Bugging Andy sunday to be true. but not just last sunday, the previous sundays before.

Free Willy said...

Sunday's What's Bugging Andy was the best ever. Very funny.
I swim every weekday at Ames High School and here are my locker room horror stories.
A guy stands naked at the sink and shaves.
A guy walks to the urinal to pee naked.
A guy has been on the bench naked to stretch after swimming.
But my worst nightmare is-----------
When the scruffy Mountain Man sits naked on the bench and leaves a huge skid mark. Come on Man, Sit on a towel. He sits on my usual bench and I either have to move or sanitize. I saw him coming one day and put paper towels on the bench. When that did not work I was very close to yelling at him about sitting on a towel. I was going to leave a note on the bench. What should I do? Thank God he does not go swimming very often.


Andrew said...

If you're not embarrassed to say you're going to the Library on a might be a Bulldog.

If you think the midnight ride of Paul Revere was to get might be a Bulldog.

Anonymous said...

Spot on!!!

Anonymous said...

I never see any of these things going on in a girls locker room, ever. Why are guys so gross?!?! Put some towels on, ya freaks.