I just came across a photo I took a few weeks ago that I meant to write about, but never did. Better late than never, right? The photo is from the West Hollywood Crunch gym, one of two Crunch locations that I frequent. They’re currently remodeling the locker rooms, and it looks like the remodel will remove one of their more interesting design features. Take a look:
This picture is of a row of windows that lines the hallway leading to the locker rooms. An identical row of windows lines the other side. (The lockers are a temporary addition, they’re just there during the remodel process). The windows are frosted glass, and when I first started going to this gym in the winter of 2012, I walked by them a bunch of times before realizing what I was actually looking at.
On the other side of each window is a shower stall, and the showers are lit in such a way that the shadows of the naked bathers can be seen on the windows! Ever seen “Project Runway?” You know how the models stand behind the white screen, and you can see the shadow of their silhouette before they come out and walk the runway? It’s like that.
Ok, ok, it’s not nearly as obvious as that “Project Runway” comparison. It’s actually extremely subtle. Shadows are distorted, and the lighting in the hallway is dim, so it’s hard to make out shapes and figures. It’s so subtle that I walked by it for a week before noticing it. But it’s there. If you shower at the West Hollywood Crunch, you’re putting yourself on display, a little bit. It’s an audacious design feature, even for a gym filled with beautiful, sculpted bodies in a city that’s known for its image-conscious residents.
When I first realized what those windows were, I stayed away from those showers. Completely. There was no way I was putting myself on display, no matter no subtle, especially when the men’s locker room had a second row of showers that were completely window-free. But after a couple months, I started thinking: Fuck it. I’m going to shower where I want, and if that means a few people might see my dimly-lit, vague, distorted shadow, then so be it. From that point on, I only showered in the windowed stalls. I still have my share of body issues (and I challenge you to find anyone of any size that doesn’t), but I wasn’t going to let my shadow give me another one.
Now, thanks to the renovation, showering bodies will no longer be on display. The last time I was at that gym (which was over two weeks ago, thanks to my sprained foot), the men’s windows had been removed and replaced with a regular, fully opaque wall. I imagine the women’s windows will go next, if they haven’t been removed already.
Speaking of the gym, I’m think I’m finally ready to start working out again. My foot is mostly pain free, so I’m going to begin doing some light exercise to see how it feels. Later tonight, I’m going to go for a walk in my neighborhood, and tomorrow, I’m going to try the recumbent bike. I’m not going to push too hard, in case the sprain isn’t fully healed. I don’t want to aggravate anything. I’ll wear supportive shoes and keep my fingers crossed that my foot doesn’t flare up!
Keep it up, David!