An unexpected and vaguely unpleasant side-affect of cycling to work has been an increase in the amount of male nudity in my life. Whilst I quite like being able to leave the house without any much more thought than ‘have I got my shorts on the right way around,’ I wasn’t enamoured of the idea of having to make myself look presentable for the working day from an underground bunker in our building. It was a nice surprise to find that the showers at work are actually quite passable and in some ways it’s quite refreshing to get showered and then be at your desk within a few minutes. Somewhat less savoury is sharing this pre-work ritual with a number of middle aged bollock-naked men.
There are lots of individual shower cubicles so it’s quite beyond me why there are some men who choose to stride about with their lads out and exposing their hairy arses to the world. I don’t want to see them, and surely, surely, they must feel some modicum of embarrassment about being au naturel in front of people they will soon be sharing a PowerPoint presentation with? It’s an unpleasant and vaguely alarming sight of a morning – I mean, who wants to see what the ravages of age have in store for my already less than athletic body?
Having spoken to my other half I understand that this is seemingly a very male phenomenon – she assures me that despite many men’s most basic hopes, women do not wander changing rooms with their bosoms on display for one and all. Men however, despite the absence of any female presence, seem to revert to some primal peacockery. As well as the older gents showing off their wrinkly old wares like antiques dealers on Bargain Hunt, there are of course the statuesque and burly blokes, happy to pull off the lurid Lycra and make everyone feel inadequate. It’s a phenomenon I’ve thankfully not been (ahem) exposed to since I was at school. Back then there was at least a mild curiosity factor – reassurance from looking around and realising that despite all the terrible things going on inside my pyjamas, at least they were going on in other boys’ pyjamas. But we’re all grown up now and have seen enough television on Channel 4 to know what’s what.
So please, if you are one of these people, a couple of points, first of all, we’ve all got one (or two) so no need to share and secondly, remember the words of the great Douglas Adams, it’s a hoopy frood who knows where his towel is kept. Try around your waist.