In the past two months I’ve seen a lot of vagina.
And no, I haven’t just realised that I’m a lesbian. I’ve joined the gym.
There seems to be something about women being segregated from men that gets many of us really excited to let it all hang out.
Each trip into the bathroom, I steel myself to wade through an ocean of breasts and genitals on my way to the loo.
To be absolutely clear, I’m not talking about momentary nip slips or quick, covert changes of underwear. I’m talking about full-on, full-frontal, unashamed birthday-suit action.= display_ad('x18', 'hidden-xs hidden-md mm_incontent', 'MM In Content'); ?>= display_ad('x20', 'visible-xs mm_mob_incontent', 'MM In Content (Mobile)'); ?>
And this isn’t about ladies feeling comfortable in the anonymity of strangers. It’s girlfriends after a workout, colleagues, mothers and daughters – all laughing and chatting, buck naked, making no attempt to cover themselves up.
Meanwhile, rows of lockable changing cubicles stand neglected.
I’ve even seen one woman ironing – IRONING!
Just yesterday, the first thing I saw when I walked in was a completely nude woman bending over and touching her toes. Unfortunately for me, I was at the back end of her.
I’m not saying women should be ashamed of their bodies. In fact, I’m the first to admit to feeling stabbing pains of jealousy when confronted by a toned, cellulite-free butt attached to long legs. My whole life I’ve assured myself that no matter how amazing women can look on the outside, everyone has lumps and bumps under their clothes. That theory has now been brutally shot down in flames.
My problem is this: why unnecessarily display your vajayjay? Is it that hard to wrap a towel around yourself, or duck into a changing room? Who can say they’ve been next to someone in spin class who they’ve never spoken to, yet know their preferred method of bikini-line grooming? I can.
Any men reading this might be experiencing flashbacks to plot lines of 1980s porn flicks. But I assure you, there’s nothing sexy about these scenes.
Nobody wants to side-step a stranger drying themselves a bit too thoroughly or put their bag down on a bench still warm from someone’s sweaty, post-workout bits. So ladies, please, I beg you: put it away.
Before you write me off as a massive prude – I visited several traditional bathhouses when I was in Japan this year. And yes, I stripped off and sat in steaming onsens with plenty of naked women, then got dressed without the luxury of doing it somewhere private.
I’m not offended by nudity – I just don’t want to see you naked. And I can’t be sure but I don’t think the added bonus was included in my fortnightly membership fee.
Cassie White is a journalist at Men’s Health magazine and freelance writer. On Sundays she bakes (like a boss) and Instagrams all her creations. Follow her on Twitter here.
Are you comfortable with seeing other people naked? Do you think there is a time and a place for nudity? Is it okay at the gym?