Locker rooms are the equalizers of the world. When I started working at a fitness center, I discovered that I could get to my cubicle quicker if I used the women’s locker room as a short cut. At 8:30am, it is filled with a gaggle of ageing Korean women. Their bodies are wrinkled and sagging, and they have no shame. They sit naked on stools in front of the mirror, talking to each other loud enough to be heard over the hairdryers. It’s not your standard first-thing-in-the-morning scene, and I was slightly scandalized by it. I’ve only used the locker room to change a couple times; the worst thing about it is the prospect of being seen by my coworkers. I’m not sure which makes me less comfortable – being seen naked at work, or seeing my coworkers naked. I never had to consider this when I worked in an office.
Over the course of the past four months, I’ve seen a lot of women changing in the locker room during the course of my work. I’ve seen all body types, all ages; this must be what it’s like to be a doctor. I can’t say that seeing strangers’ naked bodies on a daily basis feels completely normal to me, but it’s a lot less jarring than it used to be. I’ve discovered a curtained off area marked “private changing area” that I’ve been using to avoid the naked-at-work nightmare; it takes the edge off.