Thursday, 10 February 2011

Changing room etiquette

You've got to love the changing room!

It feels like the one place you could butt, uninvited, into strangers' conversation. Especially when you go shopping by yourself for that all important outfit, and you really could do with another pair of eyes to critically assess the pros and cons of the dress you've chosen. Is the fit alright? Does the colour suit? Does it go with these shoes? You step out of the changing room, and into the corridor so you get the full length effect. And then from behind, you hear a gasp of approval as another girl on her way to the next changing room calls out appreciatively, 'That looks so good on you!'. You heave a sigh of relief, and you know that dress is as good as sold!

Sometimes there's a refreshing honesty when that nod of approval comes from a total stranger. My favourite so far was when a changing room 'buddy' told me the dress made my butt look enhanced. Um...thanks?

Then there's the other changing room: the one at the leisure centre. I'm not a gym goer. I was once roped into a 12-month contract at a fitness centre, and could only hack two months of going to the gym before I got bored. I spent the next ten months fighting to get out of the contract without having to pay the early cancellation fee. It put me off gym-ing. But since I've recently taken up swimming, I've become a regular on the changing room scene again. There's a camaraderie which is not unlike having a nice conversation with your friends. As we wait for a shower cubicle to become free, it's not uncommon to get talking with the other women. And trust me, nothing is too trivial or political to talk about at that point. It tickles me, though, that most of this conversation is had with each of us starkers, clutching our various showering paraphernalia, with our womanly bits out without anybody batting an eye lash. Regular conversation without clothes.

And it's all fine and dandy until an authoritative voice belonging to a female member of staff announces loudly that there's a workman due in the changing rooms in fifteen minutes to repair a broken hair dryer or something. Then, and only then, will you see the bunch of us moving at breakneck speed in order to be in a fairly decent state by the time said man arrives in our sanctum! A part of me wonders how it would have looked if he'd walked into a roomful of females with their womanly charms on display..

Like I said, love the changing room. Love the sisterhood in there even more :)

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