December 5, 2015

"Old-timers, guys that are 60-plus, have no problem with a gang shower and whatever."

"The Gen X-ers are a little bit more sensitive to what they’re spending and what they’re expecting. And the millennials, these are the special children. They expect all the amenities. They grew up in families that had Y.M.C.A. or country club memberships. They expect certain things. Privacy, they expect."

Said gym designer Bryan Dunkelberger — great name — quoted in a NYT piece by Choire Sicha titled "Men’s Locker Room Designers Take Pity on Naked Millennials."

(I have no idea why growing up in a family with a Y.M.C.A. membership would create high expectations. Really, I just don't understand. I don't know what "all the amenities" means to a naked man of today.)

54 comments:

PB said...

Next the young will think they invented Victorian manners when they start that craze.

chickelit said...

There used to be a YMCA in Madison on the west side near the mall. My dad taught SCUBA diving there. He used to take me and my brother along for some fun time in the pool. I still remember soaping our naked butts and sliding around on the slippery tile floor in the shower room.

Tank said...

In the gym shower, I think all the amenities means hot water and a bar of soap. No?

I go to a Retro Fitness gym which is about 85-90% young people. I haven't noticed this problem at all. Maybe the ones with these issues go elsewhere?

hombre said...

Is it possible that Choire Sicha, author of the NYT piece, never had a childhood "Y" membership? Lol.

Is it possible for the liberal elite at the NYT to become further estranged from the heritage of the United States?

Is it possible for millennials to become more confused about their entitlement and their sexual identities?

Robert Cook said...

I was never a member of the Y.M.C.A., but I'm sure they had common changing and shower rooms. Perhaps the gentleman means to refer to private health clubs that cater to affluent members.

Spiros Pappas said...

It's because people are fat. This is phenomenom is aggravated by low self-esteem and ridiculous images of doped up athletes and movie stars.

Michael K said...

When I was a small child, a friend took me swimming at a country club. I was very shy and did not want to strip down in the shower room. I suspect the millennials are very childlike in this respect as well as in their micro aggression fixation,

Big Mike said...

I don't know what "all the amenities" means to a naked man of today.

And as a card-carrying member of the "60-plus" generation, I don't either. We had what Dunkelberger would call "gang showers" in middle school, high school, and the army. No big deal. Main thing we wanted were showers that didn't turn scalding when someone flushed a toilet. That would have felt like heaven to me back when I was a young draftee.

Bob Ellison said...

It's a generational shift, but also an east/west-coast difference. Eastern men don't much care about wandering through the locker room naked. Westerners care quite a lot, and use towels, robes, and other devices to minimize it.

Dr.D said...

When I swam at the YMCA as a boy, it was required that all swim nude. This was said to be a way to assure that any skin disease would be evident. How could the delicate flowers of today deal with such a requirement?

PETE. said...

All the YMCAs around here have private, curtained shower stalls for both men and women and it's the younger men who walk to and from the showers with a towel wrapped around them.

Otto said...

The 69 original bridges of the Merritt Parkway were designed by George L. Dunkelberger. Each bridge had a unique design.

Thought i'd add to a slow day

The Godfather said...

We swam naked in the Y pool when I was a kid; we showered with our classmates and teachers after sports in my prep school (and I'm pretty sure there were group showers in the gym at my Ivy League college). Of course we were all male. And I mean that we were actually male, not that we identified as male but some were actually the other thing. Believe me, I would have noticed.

Somebody said...

In our area, the Y has morphed from the traditional urban gymnasiums into a chain of high-end suburban health clubs, with lots of fancy equipment, Zumba classes and book clubs. The amenities include individual shower stalls with curtains, which some of us much prefer over the old gang showers reminiscent of high school.

Somebody said...

In our area, the Y has morphed from the traditional urban gymnasiums into a chain of high-end suburban health clubs, with lots of fancy equipment, Zumba classes and book clubs. The amenities include individual shower stalls with curtains, which some of us much prefer over the old gang showers reminiscent of high school.

Barry Dauphin said...

They expect certain things. Privacy, they expect.

They're not gonna get it if they work for Facebook.

Laslo Spatula said...

Two Millennials in a communal shower:

"Excuse me..."

"Uh: yeah?"

"Can you scrub my back?"

"I -- I really don't feel comfortable doing that. Sorry."

"No reason to be sorry, I figure it doesn't hurt to ask."

"I guess."

"Wow."

"Huh?"

You really must work out a lot."

"What?"

"I wasn't 'looking-looking', honest. I just noticed your muscles when you were soaping up your thighs."

"It is a Gym."

"Yeah. (pause) I remember the first time I showered with a naked man..."

"Look: I--"

"Whew!"

"What?"

"I thought I was about to get an erection; it happens sometimes when I wash my balls. That would've been embarrassing, right?"

"Yeah, that would..."

"So did you see any?"

"See any what?"

"See any gym-chicks that you'd want to fuck. That's why us Men are really here, am I right?"

"I actually come to the gym to exercise --"

"Man, I wish there was a Bidet in here."

"Excuse me?"

"A bidet. Shoots water up your ass."

"I know what a bidet is--"

"I hate having to pull my ass cheeks apart in a public shower just to get myself clean back there; I took a dump before hitting the shower. Do you take a dump before your shower?"

"I don't mean to be rude, but I'd rather not talk in the shower..."

"Oh, yeah. I understand. (pause) Geez: I think my Scrotum Piercing looks infected. What do you think?"

"Dude, I am NOT looking at your Scrotum Piercing..."

"OK: I get it. (pause) Pick up the soap, Bitch."

"What?"

"The soap I just dropped. Pick it up."

"I'm not picking up that soap..."

"Don't tell me you have been thinking it the entire time we've been in here."

"Thinking about what?"

"Me bending you over."

"I think I'm going to go dry off..."

"I didn't mean to offend you: that's just the Vibe you were giving off."

"I wasn't giving off any vibe --"

"Make sure you put some talc on your balls -- it'll keep them from chafing."

(no response)

"After we dry off do you want to get some energy drinks and watch the chicks in Yoga Class...?"

"Look: I need to be getting home..."

"Sure, sure. Hey."

"What now?"

"Did I tell you that I remember the first time I showered with a naked man...?"


I am Laslo.

madAsHell said...

gang shower

I thought this was going to be one of those X-rated threads. Sorry, my bad.

Jim said...

I can see why the youngsters would want privacy. Growing up on cam, with parents watching everything. helmets, padding etc for even the simplest of things.
I loved the Y. Naked swimming, naked sliding around on the tile. We hiked the canyons around my town in the desert, and always got naked to swim in the pools. Never seemed like a big deal, just something everyone did.
Maybe its because I'm over 60, but things seemed less forced, structured, and natural back then. more freedom.

Tank said...

Tank went to a YMCA Camp. There, the sh**house was a small cabin with a plank with three round holes in it. You could punch your pal while you both took a crap. I don't care about the showering, but I do like to take a crap by myself.

I was in the shower at a gym once with a guy who had Tourette's Syndrome. I am ashamed to say that that was really funny. Really. Still funny when I think about it.

Ann Althouse said...

@David I had to delete you for violating the rule against adding extra spaces. Please try again.

Bob Ellison said...

Are you really all ignorant of the fact that the New York YMCA is a big country club?

the gold digger said...

Since when has the Y been a fancy place equivalent to a country club?

bbkingfish said...

The Young and the Naked.

I am getting in touch with my inner screenwriter.

SteveBrooklineMA said...

The Milwaukee Athletic Club had nude men's swimming for 100+ years, until they ended it about 12 years ago. Not as interesting as Otto's bit about the Merritt's bridges, but it's all I've got to add.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I'm over 60.

Suck it up, whippersnappers.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...
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Bob Loblaw said...

Since when has the Y been a fancy place equivalent to a country club?

That made me laugh. I had a Y membership in a tony area in my 20s. The showers were basically two small attached rooms - one with a bunch of tiny lockers, and one with the actual showers, which were attached radially off of two metal pillars. Not only was there no privacy, but if you faced into the stream you were looking at some other guy's junk.

Jupiter said...

“We had an attempt at a coed sauna, thinking it would work well,” Mr. Kavanaugh said. “But it didn’t. I was surprised at the amount of puritanical behavior around mixing the sexes. I guess it goes to wanting more privacy.”

“If there was a man in there, women wouldn’t go in,” he said. “If there was a woman in there, men wouldn’t go in. It became very strange. I’m surprised at how less enlightened we are about crossing and mixing genders.”

Here in Eugene, the Human Rights Comission proposed a law making all locker rooms available to both sexes. My tax dollars at play. The City Council, who are mostly idiots who have no-show government jobs in return for constantly raising taxes and hiring more idiots, were all for this idea. Then it went away. Not sure whether someone actually obtained a clue, or they just lost interest.

I am guessing that women don't want to get naked around male strangers because they are rape-averse, silly bitches. How puritanical! And of course, guys may or may not be rape-averse, but by now, we have all learned that being alone with a woman is a bad idea. Even one you know, and even if both of you are fully clothed.

Jupiter said...

Bob Ellison said...
"Are you really all ignorant of the fact that the New York YMCA is a big country club?"

I think I speak for the majority here when I say, that everything we know about the New York YMCA, we learned from the Village People.

JCC said...

Was this written to reinforce our already - let us say - dim stereotypes about millennials?

It's working.

CWJ said...

Troughs in the mens' room at sports venues are pretty much a thing of the past though we had them here as late as '08. I wonder if the same generational observation applies to this as well. But on the bright side, we now have lines as well as the ladies, So equality!

The Godfather said...

@Althouse: Could you be more specific about "that thing of putting in a lot of extra line breaks"? I just read a fairly lengthy dialogue by Laslo, which had lots of line breaks, as dialogue typically has, and you didn't reject it, so I assume that's OK.

But what about what I'd call paragraph breaks? Like what I just did. It's intended to make the writer's point clearer to the reader.

It might help if you could explain why you object to excessive line breaks. I could see the problem if you were planning to print out the comments (such as to send them to Homeland Security -- which would be a public service in some cases I'm sure), and extra line breaks mean you'd need more paper. And that raises the question: When Hillary! printed out her emails and sent them to the DOS, did they have lots of extra line breaks? (Ordinarily, I would have started a new paragraph with the "And that raises" sentence, but I was afraid I'd tick you off.

tim in vermont said...

Google, as always, has the answer if you can formulate a hypothesis.

the U.K.’s Observer has found that men today are less content with the size of their dongs than ever before.
Roughly 1,000 gentlemen in the U.K. participated in the survey, which found that just 79 percent were pleased with the size of their penises. That’s down from 86 percent in 2008. Twenty-one percent, or one in five, of guys today claim to be unhappy with the overall size of their packages.
So what’s the reason for the increased level of dissatisfaction?
Researchers blame pornography and the media for nurturing men’s body image issues — a problem they say can disproportionately affect gay guys, though we’d beg to differ. In our estimation, straight dudes seem more concerned about penis size, as indicated in this study that found that heterosexual men frequently size each other up in locker room showers, and will often “slap their cocks around” to make them look bigger.
- Queerty

I didn't know that last thing was a thing. I think that the fact that women have become a lot more open about their preferences ("It's a preference, not a judgement!") has contributed as much as images of Mark Walburg's torso in "Date Night."

John Henry said...

I wonder if this has anything to do with gayness? Us older guys never thought there would be anyone eyeballing us sexually in the locker room. It was just us guys.

Now I think most millenials think that something like 30-40% of all men are gay (rather than 3-4% it actually is) and worry about it. Much the same way I would have felt uncomfortable being naked in front of a bunch of women.

The article did get written about in Slate in the "Outward: Expanding the LGBTQ Conversation" column in Slate as and article titled "If You Are Not Comfortable Being Naked Around Other People, You Are Not an Adult"

I seem to recall that Ann once wrote here about JAC having problems with naked men in the locker room. Perhaps you could ask him, Ann?

John Henry

John Henry said...

FWIW: When I was in 5th grade I went to a new school where we were expected to shower after gymn class. I was petrified to the extreme when I found I would have to do that. I got used to it after a bit.

So all through school showering with a bunch of naked guys then the Navy.

On a ship at sea, showers are turned on for 15 minutes a day. Imagine 30-40 guys and 5-6 showerheads, on a wet soapy deck, pitching and corkscrewing, all trying to take a shower at once. So no inhibitions at all after that.

Of course in the 60s & 70s we didn't have to worry about someone getting a hardon and "accidentally" poking us when we all slid against the bulkhead in a heap. Anyone who did get a hardon would have been severely ostracized and asked to leave.

Or shitters. We had 6-7 crappers, regular toilets but no partitions at all between them. That was much harder to get used to.

But we did not have to worry about gays or women watching us, either.

John Henry

John Henry said...

I wondered if there would be any pictures of Navy heads on the Internet. Didn't find any right off but did find this. http://www.militaryspot.com/gallery/showphoto.php?photo=1403&size=big&cat=

The crappers are conveniently arranged in an L so you could have face to face conversations without turning your head while taking a dump.

Not sure about that guy in the middle. He seems like he is eyeballing his neighbor's crank. (And a lovely crank it seems to be) Or perhaps just his magazine.

John Henry

James Pawlak said...

Could it be that we "Old Farts" became used to such showers by: Military service; And, the showers which were required in school gyms before pool or after other classes?

walter said...

"Or shitters. We had 6-7 crappers"

With the lead up..I thought you might be describing a fetish group I'm unaware of. Oh..they're probably out there..

tim maguire said...

I belonged to the Y about 5 years ago and the showers were in an open room. I also used to belong to the New York Sports Club, which had private shower stalls. I didn't care much one way or the other, which I think is pretty common.

walter said...

"The Milwaukee Athletic Club had nude men's swimming for 100+ years"
Wow..that must have caught a lot of skin diseases early.
"We're doing it this way to identify skin diseases..dive in."

Anthony said...

Public showers are better because people are apt to do disgusting things in private showers.

Laslo Spatula said...

Once you take a shit in the Middle of Times Square you can shit anywhere.

Theory, only.

I am Laslo.

Laslo Spatula said...

"Or shitters. We had 6-7 crappers, regular toilets but no partitions at all between them"

I saw a video like that. But with chicks.

I only watched it one more time.

I am Laslo.

David said...

"The Milwaukee Athletic Club had nude men's swimming for 100+ years"

Have they eliminated it now? Probably with female members. The female members are not all that interested in the member part of the male members, I would guess. At least not during the day at the pool.

I had the first massage of my life at the MAC. Huge ugly Russian guy named Igor. Scared me to death. It was years before I tried a massage again.

MAC also had "nap rooms." Guys could go in at any time of the day for a snooze. Also a buffet that you could get and then sit in the pool are and watch the nude guys swimming. Or try not to watch.

I'm pretty sure that the nap rooms were used for naps but you never know.

All a long time ago.

David said...

Ann Althouse said...
@David I had to delete you for violating the rule against adding extra spaces


Sorry. Unintentional. As I recall my comment was that these people must never have participated in team sports. That shows in all aspects of their lives, not just the communal shower aversion.

BN said...

Anybody mention first world shit yet?

Lucien said...

Does anyone still believe that personal modesty might be a virtue? Even though it is not one that I personally display, I try not to denigrate it. It may underlie not just issues concerning showering, but the whole question of sex-segregated restrooms. Some may assume that considerations of modesty result from religious upbringing,but I see no reason that has to be the case. There's an article over at Slate saying that if you don't like being naked in public, you're not a grown-up. The author doesn't even seem to consider that modesty might have some value.

Conserve Liberty said...

A 28-year-old man I know who was a Division III college athlete says all the team members knew (or strongly suspected) each others sexual orientation. They had pillar plumbing (a stainless steel pillar with several shower heads around the top) in their gang showers.

He claims he just went in, got his shower and went out. Heteros congregating around a pillar was part of the deal. Awareness of being 'sized-up' was part of the deal.

The choice was to tolerate it or dress sweaty. Though this was never my experience I can understand why men want privacy now.

Char Char Binks, Esq. said...

Dr.D said...
"When I swam at the YMCA as a boy, it was required that all swim nude. This was said to be a way to assure that any skin disease would be evident. How could the delicate flowers of today deal with such a requirement?"

It's because the coach was checking you out, and wanting afterwards (if you were lucky).

Char Char Binks, Esq. said...

I never said "wanting".

mikee said...

As a shy person in my youth, and a fat, happy to "drop trou" person in my late fifties, my explanation is that after a few decades, one realizes nobody else cares, beyond those locker room wits who might wish to draw attention to themselves through idiotic behavior.

And most gym towels don't reach all the way around my ever-increasing girth, so there are practical considerations, too.

Peter said...

But how can one discuss "gang showers" without also mentioning those multi-user, trough urinals?

So, OK, we're richer now and we can afford more privacy, and most of us like that. That, and adult men know even a false accusation of pedophilia is likely to ruin their lives, and thus make sure facilities provide privacy for children when they're in a position to specify these facilities.

Is there something complex here, or do these two factors explain it?