Sunday, February 8, 2009
Practicing good hygiene is as much a part of being a gentleman as anything. So is physical fitness. Sometimes those two pursuits conflict. I like to take advantage of any opportunity to get some exercise. That means biking to work (when the weather and daylight cooperate), going for a jog during my lunch break, and hitting the gym on a regular basis. Naturally, these activities produce serious amounts of sweat.
Luckily, my workplace and my gym have readily available shower facilities. One is semi private. The other is semi risqué. (not only is it in full display of anyone who enters the bathroom, but there’s a spot in the hallway with a half decent view through a clear window) In any event, taking public showers is part of being a man. Especially an athletically inclined man. Still, there are some pitfalls that a gentleman will want to avoid and a few items and techniques he’ll appreciate.
Before you untie your shoes, make sure you have a secure personal locker. If there are functioning showers, there should be at least a handful of lockers. If you can have one reserved for your personal use, that’s even better. You can keep it stocked with the items that you’ll need. They would be:
Body Wash Even if you’re strictly a bar soap guy, the aim is efficiency and messing with a wet bar of soap is too much of a hassle. However, you do get manly points for soap on a rope.
Powder Gold Bond Body Powder, Shower To Shower, regular generic talc, just something to keep you cool and dry. Your body will produce some residual sweat after you’re done exercising. You’ll want to keep yourself fresh. Apply to your feet, nether regions, and anywhere your workout clothes get swampy.
Moisturizer I know what your thinking. Foofy, right. The thing is that the more you shower, the more your skin dries out. And if your exercising outdoors it only makes matters worse. Either way, keep your showers short and the water on the cool side to keep dry skin under control as well.
A Clean Towel This should go without saying too, but I find it wise to pack a smaller, thinner towel. Again, it’s all about efficiency and simplicity. Choices should be made favoring that over your personal comfort.
Shower Shoes They don’t call it athletes foot for nothing. Plus, it allows you to rationalize away your own Tobias-Fünke-like nevernude issues.
A few optional items include cologne, a washcloth, hairbrush/comb, pomade (other hair product) and electric razor.
Forgive me if they seem more essential to you. When you’re bearded, balding and not into cologne, it makes some typical concerns seem extraneous.
Above all, keep it quick and simple. Get the sweat off and get out. Do your serious cleaning at home. Nobody likes a lingerer in a public shower. Not only is it suspicious, but somebody might be waiting for that head and being a gentleman is about making life easier for others. Shaving, teeth brushing, nail trimming, Q-tipping, nose hair trimming and shampooing should be reserved for your home bathroom as well. And don’t leave anything damp clothing or towels in your locker any longer than you have to. Those things are like a funk incubator.