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Friday, September 18, 2015



     I belong to a very well-regarded racquet club in Mount Kisco, and I consider myself something of an athlete, more "something" than "athlete." My game is tennis, which I favor because it is a non-contact sport, meaning that my racquet only rarely makes contact with the ball, and even then only by phone. After the game I hit the showers, where I can say anything I want about anything and anybody with total impunity. I can curse the inability of my body parts to work at the same time, and swear at all the infirmities that occur during a so-called non-contact sport. I can engage in that scourge of parents and teachers, "locker room talk."

     But alas, when I turn on the hot water and step into the stall and pump the soap dispenser, it isn't soap at all, but "body wash." I never heard such hogwash. Where is the bar of Lava soap with a hair in it? Then I look closely at the dispenser and it says, "green tea and lemongrass." Am I supposed to scrub my armpits with this stuff or season a pasta dish? The shampoo container had the same label on it, thank god, or I would come out of the shower smelling like a 5-course meal. Are these scents or are they active ingredients, because if you've actually seen lemongrass you don't want your hair trying to emulate it. I went over to the sink with my razor to foam up my face, and this time the canister was labelled "shaving balm," as if to soothe the violent act of chopping down hair with a sharp instrument.

     And the talk in the locker room? Where is the vitriol? Where is the foul language? Some chatter about foul balls, for you baseball types I mean? All I hear about is real estate or your kid's piano lessons. I caught myself whistling "Moves like Jagger" the other day, and that is something that should NEVER HAPPEN in a sports-related environment.

     All of a sudden my locker room is a day spa. Are men's manis and pedis next? No pedicure for me, thank you, I have athlete's foot. My wife says I should see a doctor, but I am loathe to get rid of it, because it's the only part of my body that has the word "athlete" attached to it. As far as manicures go, I cut my own nails with a clipper that is closer on the evolutionary scale to a pair of hedge trimmers.

     Men shaving their backs in the locker room? I hope I never see it. My cat has hair all over its back and no one ever complains. Except ME when he gets up and leaves every single follicle on my lap, and then I have to shave my pants. Should I shave my legs too? I even went to a restaurant and they had a dessert with shaved ice in it. It's gone TOO FAR.

     I think the problem started when women were allowed into men's locker rooms so they could cover sports teams and conduct interviews with football players and such. And gradually, over time, instead of Bill Belichick grunting a few expletives, and various players expelling air from various parts of their bodies, you now have sports stars wearing an unfortunate suit and glasses with no prescription. Their 4-year old and 2-year old sit in front of them banging on the mike and shouting random exclamations they heard on a video game. In between that the players praise the opposition and say politically correct phrases that are designed not to hurt anyone's feelings. This continues until they run out of questions, or until somebody needs a diaper change.

     My wife has a picture of Joe DiMaggio in the locker room after a game, with a beer and a cigarette. Now no one ever even gets a drink from the water fountain anymore. Instead they "hydrate," using pink-colored water with vitamins and flavorings in it, designed not to hurt anyone's feelings.

     So if you see me on the street go ahead and hurt my feelings- I WANT you to. Say something about my toenails, or the fact that I've never actually thrown out a tee shirt, or the fact that my hair looks like a nationally-protected nesting habitat. Actually, please don't say anything about my hair. Oh, and feel free to tell me to get out of the street- there's a car coming.

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