Is there ever a totally legitimate time to be naked around a child who is a stranger to you?
That question may sound provocative, but a recent post on the “Am I the A**hole (AITA)” subReddit actually brought up an honest debate about the topic.
The Original Poster (OP), known as nude-ta on the site, got right to the point in the title.
“AITA for being naked in front of a child at the gym”
OP began with some contextual details.
“Earlier in the week I was at the gym around 6pm, and headed for a shower after working out.
“At my gym, the showers are individual cubicles, but don’t have doors and are lined up opposite each other, so basically open despite being individual.”
“I usually shower naked, as it’s a men’s locker room (not unisex) and most other guys do (I’m in UK if that makes a difference, I’m led to belief US culture is a bit more reserved).”
Then OP named the key development.
“While I’m showering, a guy and his young son (probably around 9 or 10 years old) enter from the pool and begin to shower in the empty showers opposite me, both stripping out of their shorts to also shower naked – there was no interaction between me and either the dad or son.”
“I leave the shower, towel dry and head back to my locker.”
Then came the confrontation.
“A few minutes later the dad and son also come out and are at a locker a few down from me.”
“At this point, I’m still undressed, before putting on any clothes, I spend some time to pack my gym kit and wet towel into my bag, essentially taking a few further minutes to air dry so I’m not damp/humid when I start to get dressed.”
A bystander apparently had qualms.
“Another random guy in the locker room then starts to shout at me.”
“He’s like “mate, there’s a kid right there, put on some boxers or a towel or something, that’s disgusting.’ “
OP was taken aback.
“I was a little shocked as until that point I hadn’t even considered anything might be an issue.”
“I responded by saying ‘we are in a locker room, you have to expect to see naked people. If he doesn’t want his son seeing that then they should use the family changing room.’ “
“The guy just tutted and left the changing room, and as I was leaving, I saw him at the front desk making a complaint but I’ve heard nothing from that.”
OP was left guessing exactly who was the driving force in it all.
“Dad and son didn’t say anything, but I had assumed from them being in the showers that they were not uncomfortable with nudity and realise there’s nothing sexual about being naked in a changing room – although he may have just been non-confrontational.”
“So, AITA for either the situation in the first place, or for how I responded to the guy instead of just covering up when he called me out?”
Anonymous strangers weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
Most Redditors sided with OP.
“NTA Sounds like normal locker room behavior, except for the getting yelled at part. The expectation is you don’t interact or flaunt your nudity and you don’t deliberately look at other naked people, and you followed that just fine – as did the kid and parent.”
“And I’m from the US where people are more sensitive about nudity.” — sqitten
“NTA. If the locker room has showers and doesn’t have individual stalls aside from the toilets, then it was specifically designed for people to behave exactly as you behaved, and it’s unreasonable for anyone to get annoyed at you.” — AtticusFrenchToast
“NTA. That dude is basically white knighting, I don’t know a better word to describe it. He is getting offended on the behalf of someone who doesn’t even seem to be bothered. He really doesn’t need to do that, if the dad was bothered then he is perfectly capable of saying something himself.”
“I assume the kid has the same equipment as you so it’s not like he’s seeing something he hasn’t been/isn’t supposed to be exposed to yet, and even if he hadn’t, he’s in there with his dad who you said was also naked so too late for that.”
“Anyways I think that dude just likes to be offended or something. If the person he’s being offended for doesn’t seem bothered then I’d just ignore him, he’s being a busybody.” — WitheredFlowers
Plenty of people spoke from experience.
“NTA. (also a US resident). I used to work at a gym. There’s always random old naked dudes using the hairdryers to dry their pubes and other such nonsense. In the ladies, we get to see a lot of buttholes and plenty o’tiddies.”
“It’s life. If this kid ever joins sports, the dramatic arts, or anything else that requires either changing clothes or washing off the funk, they’re gonna see a ton of nudity. But lets be real here, the kid was SHARING a shower stall with Dad.”
“He got got real upclose and personal with the twig and berries, plus he has his own tackle. He knows what time it is.” — Hawksbabe19
“NTA – I grew up in Canada, and seeing some old dude’s wrinkly sack at the community pool changing room was basically a rite of passage…” — spccbytheycallme
“UK woman here – you wouldn’t get this sort of comment in the female changing rooms. Literally everyone is naked in there like clothes never existed.”
“It’s normal and you’re right, there are family changing rooms if needed. That guy should mind his own business.” — Barmyblonde14
“From my German POV (I think we’re a bit more relaxed when it comes to nudity compared to the UK and especially the US) – definitely NTA, your reasoning is solid (if there’s a family room they could have used then they would have if needed).”
“Hereabouts, when I’m in the pool shower room, I’ve even seen some dads bringing in their (little, like up to 4-5 year old) daughters because they don’t want them to be unsupervised, it’s not an issue and preferrable to them possibly drowning if left to wander around alone by the pools” — blubb444
Looks like OP can plan to keep things the way he has when returning to the gym in the future.