Thursday, April 10, 2008

April Showers Bring Back Jr. High Nightmares

My bathrobe was not usable today (yes, that is a whole story there,)and I ended up wrapping up in towels after my shower. Matthew made a whistle and a comment about our need for shorter towels and it brought back all those memories from Jr.and High School gym showers.

Matthew looks all quizzical, "What do you mean it gives you the heebie jeebies thinking about gym showers? I never had to take a gym shower in Jr. High OR High School . . . I mean, you COULD if you were in athletics or som'n, but not for gym class."

"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood . . ."

WHAT!!!!! For the veracity of my horror I appeal to the testimony of all my siblings, sisters in particular, who like myself, were FORCED to take showers. You know those little hand towels they hand basketball players? The hand towel that you spin with the "gatorade" insignia on it? That was the size of your towel. The gym teacher and/or assistant stood outside the shower, handed you one, and then you got to go, take a whirl and get out. The trick was to get enough water sprinkled on your shoulder that you weren't sent back for a "redo."
Then, in my senior year, they figured that it would be more economical to do away with City High's laundry services (lets face it, they were cleaning CLEAN towels), and they gave us PAPER TOWELS! SO help me! It was a paper towel!

I was explaining to Matthew the horror of being exposed to your classmates in the first place. Who had jugs, who had chocolate chips, popular vs. unpopular, confident girls who put on their socks in just their underwear, and the painfully shy who were beet red before we even left the gym floor.
But my mortification was the good ole Grandma panties that my mom bought. Huge panties that were THE farthest things from sexy/acceptible at the high school level. The athletic girls wore "Jockey", were tan, fit, and didn't mind taking their time putting their clothes on - which had most likely been purchased within the last month or two. Me, I scurried my pasty butt with my "Scottish tan" to the farthest reaches of the locker room. Deep in the middle, and far to the edge of the locker room where there was very little "foot traffic." I remember that there was kinda a race to get to the locker at the very edge so that you only had to deal with ONE "neighbor."
This was not the "nerd" section of the locker room, - I'm sorry to say it, but there was an unspoken designated dressing area for the social outcasts who tended to smoke near the school grounds (not ON school grounds, just near - where everyone could see them). They wore a lot of black mascara and heavy metal t-shirts and no one minded giving them their own area to change . . .). It was in the belly of the beast that I would have to put on my 12-in-an-economy-pack Hanes practically-up-to-your-armpit underpants that I was trying to disguise with my PAPER TOWEL that was starting to become transparent where I had splashed my shoulders (and back - for good measure).

It was a Cirque de Soleil feat. A friggin' fan dance. "With this small towel I will attempt to put on huge Gramma undies that need to be rolled to find the leg outlets, pull them up to my middle - front AND back - without anyone seeing while simultaneously trying to cover up the size and shape of my high school RACK that I'm hoping will not be compared to ANYTHING by ANYBODY!

The towel may not fall to the ground at any point, but must be knotted at the corner, (a knot the size of the end of a balloon due to the tiny towel), enough to stay UP on its own while I grab my jeans that need two hands to put on - to cover said Gramma panties. A bra must then be fitted around and up with only a split second exposure for the "over the shoulder" strap feat, before grabbing a t-shirt to further conceal the fact that your underwear practically meets your bra." At one point in this painful process it became a race against time; it never failed that somewhere in the process your towel knot was going . . . going . . . GONE!

Matthew listened with amusement and disbelief. "I guess my gym teachers were lazy. We never did much during gym to justify a shower." He went on to describe the "gang" showers (or "shower tree")at the MTC, and probable reasons why the showers had no doors, but I think he had to admit - 8 weeks of that beats, hands down, 6 years of teen high school angst.


Matthew said...

Ha ha - you should give some kind of warning about whether each post is SFW (Safe for Work). I was checking out your blog at the same time as someone came walking past my office wondering what I was looking at on the computer.

I still can't believe you had compulsory, communal showers - it's so big brother. At my high school showering after P.E. was an option, but no one ever did. (I really worked up a sweat after 20 minutes of stretching and co-ed volleyball!). I guess we all knew
who was a 'boxers' guy and who was a 'briefs' guy after changing into our P.E. clothes but that was the extent of the embarrassment.

Anonymous said...

I'm split on this one. I agree with Matthew because I never had to take a shower in JR high or High School. I mean, they were there, shiny silver shower heads, being OFFERED, but no one WILLINGLY took one. Did you grow up in Nazi Germany? What kind of boot stomping are you doing every day for an hour that necessitates them FORCING you to bathe? That seems like they are taking away your civil rights there.

However, I TOTALLY agree with Katrina because I was VERY self conscious about my body in both JR High and High School. Mostly due to the fact that I played sports from my 7th grade year to my 12th grade year and so this meant that I had to undress not just once, but TWICE a day in front of others.

And plus the fact that I was gaining weight at this time, and my clothes didn’t' fit, and so I was scared that someone would notice that I didn't zip my pants up all the way when I put them on. (You can gain weight enough to go up 2-3 sizes and not buy pants if you just un-zip them. I had a lot of practice in this: I gained a lot of weight in High School)

And I ALWAYS had the giant granny panties too. And the sports bras with holes. They were usually hand-me-downs from my older sister (who also played in Jr High & High School) so by the time they got to me, they were mockable.

Like I said, I’m split on this, but I definitely side with Katrina on the humiliation factor. Gym Locker rooms will ALWAYS be to me a remembrance of constant humiliation.

Meredith said...

I NEVER took a shower at school. Why would I? we never did anything to warrant it. Plus, i think I only had 2 years of PE. Not 4. And, maybe some day i will post about our famous "bra contests" in the drama dept. so I can get some undie pics on my blog too!

Reggs said...

I can totally VOUCH for this. South East Jr. High and City High were NOTORIOUS for making sure kids took post-P.E. showers. I can also vouch for the PAPER TOWELS!!! The reason why is because that was ALL I KNEW. And the weird part? The brown "power towels" were not at all absorbent!
And me? I was wearing Katrina's hand-me-down granny panties.

Cicily said...

I would have died if we had showered after gym. I'm sorry about your high tormenting. Seriously, a paper towel? That is totally wrong.

Anonymous said...

I understand what you went through all too well.

Both of my Junior and Senior High's required the dreaded group showers.

In gym class we had to undress at our lockers and walk buck naked to the open showers.
We had to shower for at least five minutes or we were sent back in.
After we finished showering we had to line up still naked and wet to be handed a towel by the gym instructor.

In swim class we had to undress and go shower for five minutes and then get in line to be handed a school issued bathing suit. After swim class we had to shower nude for five more minutes. We spent at least 35% of each class in the locker room, which kind of defeated the whole purpose of the classes if you ask me.

To make matters even worse, about half of the girls in my gym and swim classes were all to happy to prance around in the nude. In the seventh grade some of the girls that already had breasts and pubic hair would tease those that didn't. Guess which category I fell into? And some of the girls liked to stand there nude in front of those of us who were shy and undeveloped, so as to rub it in that they had matured.

In high school many of the showoffs liked to stand around naked and gossip with other girls, or do their hair naked.

My older sisters have told me that they experienced the same routines when they were in those schools before me, and they had warned me what it would be like for me when I got to junior high. It was every bit as bad as they had warned me that it would be!

Rachel H