A conservative stereotype of a gay man in a locker room might include imagery of a homosexual Wile E. Coyote plotting various harebrained ways in which to see others' unmentionables. Peeking out from underneath piles of towels. Crawling through the air vents. Anything to see those naked men!
But the fact of the matter is that gays are more fish out of water than kids in a candy store when it comes to locker rooms, and neither I nor any gay man I know has exhibited any behavior in a locker room that wouldn't be out of place in a nunnery. The same, however, cannot be said for our straight brethren.
As someone who goes to a mostly straight-attended gym, a concern of mine in the locker room is, frankly, that someone will think I want to see them naked. Spoiler: I definitely don't. And to make my lack of intentions known, I stare down at my feet while walking so diligently that I look like I'm auditioning for The Handmaid's Tale.
On the other hand, the straight men in the locker room act as though they're auditioning for Sean Cody. Walking around naked: Of course. Toweling off your no-no for two full minutes five inches away from me: Okay. Having an in-depth conversation with your bro friends about Shark Tank while assuming the Captain Morgan stance buck nude? You do you brah?
In Germany many public bathhouses provide a space for both men and women to mingle freely while nude. Often Europeans are able to check any sexual hangups at the door - understanding that there is no shame in the naked form. If this is the accepting, cosmopolitan attitude I'm experiencing at the uber-bro club I attend in downtown Chicago, cool. But, honestly, it's not. It's just not. These are the same guys that landed in the hospital for butt chugging in college, and now they're shaking their Chicago-style dogs in front of each other's faces, and I don't know what to make of it.
If I, a gay man, did half the things the straight guys in my locker room do, I would definitely draw the ire of my gym mates. Do I want to eat pretzels in front of people with my junk out? No. Do straight guys? Apparently. Are these antics about dominance - like bucks rearing their antlers? Are the straight guys totally oblivious? Did I accidentally rush a frat house instead of joining a gym? Let me know if you've had similar experiences to help us shine some light on where the light don't shine.
Insanely random P.S.: The pic above is a still from a video that Bruce Weber claimed was created for Abercrombie & Fitch. The clothing brand for homosexuals denied any involvement. Hmm. You can read about the history here.
This post is the opinion of this contributing writer to Instinct Magazine. Opinion pieces do not always reflect the stance of the magazine or the other contributing writers.