Opinion General

Burlap sack: Walking from the Van Vliet changing room to the pool

All of that yoga-mom advice about how exercise helps you feel better about yourself and have a positive outlook on life is true, and doing some laps in the pool is a great way to get moving. Even knowing that, I already find it really difficult to work up the energy to do real exercise, particularly if that exercise requires putting on a bathing suit that exposes my glowing white thighs.

What would-be swimmers really don’t need is the added barrier of full-on public humiliation stopping them from hitting the swimming pool.

If you identify as female, and use the female change rooms, the only way to get to the pool  (that I’m aware of) is to fully exit the change room, and walk through the lobby of the Van Vliet — directly in front of the desk where people buy memberships and rent equipment — to enter the shower area leading to the pool.

This means that, every time, there are at least thirty seconds during which you are wearing nothing but your bathing suit (or, at most, you are wrapped in a towel), walking past normal, fully-dressed people who are just going about their day. Maybe I’m a prude, but I am not a fan of that arrangement.

Worse still, on the way back, when you are wet and shivering, you have to swipe your OneCard to re-enter the changing room. This means getting your pruned little fingers to stop shaking for a second to swipe your card, which inevitably is now wet, because you were literally submerging yourself in water for an hour. You may have observed that technological systems are often foiled by water. And the only thing worse than the terrifying, half-naked walk to the pool is the terrifying, half-naked time spent bent over the OneCard scanner praying that it will finally work so that people will stop looking at you and you can finally put some clothes on.

It’s really important to love your body, and I really respect anyone that can make the dash from the change room to the pool with pride. I aspire to be like you one day. But for now, the prospect of that walk of doom is enough to turn my scheduled swim days into scheduled sleep days.

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