Today I shook hands with a naked man. Okay, so it seemed odd as it was happening because it’s never happened to me, shaking hands with a completely naked man. I’ve had the opportunity, but never the inclination. Yet, today, it just happened in the most common way that two dressed men would do it.
“Hey, Steve, is that you”, he asked while reaching out his hand as a courtesy. I responded likewise, with my own extended arm and hand, completing the traditional up and down hand shake…all the time maintaining good eye contact.
It had been several years since we last saw each other. He transferred to a new health center, where I was today for a swim. So, you can imagine the exuberance in our encounter, spontaneous for him, a little less so for me. What was he thinking? Then again, I believe he’s Italian. My mother, an Italian, herself, proudly described that ethnic group as a ‘touchy-feely’ kind of people. There was no ‘touchy-feely’ today, as he stepped out of the shower and approached me before I could escape to the pool. So, not only was he naked, he was dripping wet, as well.
The encounter wasn’t quite the same for him because I was wearing a swimsuit. He didn’t have to think, “Gee, I just shook hands with a naked man.”
His complete lack of modesty didn’t surprise me, at all. Each of us had honed our locker room mannerisms in the manliest of locker rooms, an old gym with 4 man shower posts, not unlike my basic training barracks. The handshake was over quickly and we went our separate ways. I headed for the pool thinking about the whole experience, while he went back to his shower with a spring in his step and a whistle on his lips. I didn’t the have slightest clue how he felt about this odd exchange, nor did I want to know.
But, it’s experiences like this that help create the grand camaraderie and atmosphere in a men’s locker room. So, while shaking hands with a naked man wasn’t terribly traumatic, it did make me take pause and think…do women shake hands in a locker room?