Locker Room Etiquette

Dear Ms. D:

Several of the people in my office -- including my boss -- go to the same gym as me. I find it excruciatingly embarrassing to meet them in the locker room -- I mean, what do I say when I see them half-undressed? "Hi, how ya doing?" Or do I just keep my eyes down and pretend I don't even know they're there? My boss keeps inviting me to attend a step class with her, which I keep declining because I just don't know how to act in the locker room afterward! Please help!



Dear Cindy:

There isn't a person alive who is totally happy with their body. And embarrassment goes two ways. It just might be that your boss and co-workers got over theirs a while back -- perhaps before aerobics classes were all the rage.

The best advice I can give you is to focus on yourself and try to lose yourself in the exercise. Then you won't be obsessing on anybody else. And, as for the locker room views, you can simply be too polite to notice. You might accomplish that by not looking directly at anyone and going about your business matter-of-factly.

On the other hand, you should also try to take advantage of the out-of-office camaraderie. Men have for years. Whether it's a friendly squash game or an afternoon on the golf course, businessmen frequently use their common sports interests to network and get chummy with the boss. So don't forget: Folks who sweat together do, indeed, bond. Don't deprive yourself of an opportunity that any man in your shoes would jump on.

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