The nude yoga phenomenon seems to be all the rage these days (or maybe it's just my Facebook newsfeed, but still). I'm sure naked yoga has been around since yoga was invented. Back then, yoga with clothes was probably the anomaly. But ever since Adam put on that first figurative fig leaf, folks have been wearing clothes when they do group activities. Now dudes and dudettes are doffing their duds to do yoga au naturel. I have not been to one of these classes for a couple of reasons. The first and most important is that I'm the least limber person in America. When it comes to stretching, I have the range of Keanu Reeves in a period piece. The second reason is that I wholeheartedly agree with that old Seinfeld bit, "There's good naked and bad naked." Naked, sweaty stretching of limbs and twisting of torsos is bad naked. No matter how you look at it.
Regardless of what I think, the nudity taking place in these naked yoga classes is none of my concern. The folks in those humid, putrid rooms are there of their own accord. If they're cool with it, what do I care? C'est la vie. My problem is more with the nudity I encounter on a regular basis -- the full-frontal assault of male genitalia I must face every day in my gym's locker room. After every workout, I have to bob and weave through an obstacle course of naked, preening men with their rod and tackle dangling about. It's like trying to cross a moving subway car jam-packed with David statues.
The penis is not something that should be on display. Ever. Much like the platypus, the giraffe weevil or Tom Petty's sideburns during his Live Aid set, the penis belongs on the list of things that are just plain old goofy-looking. Whoever you believe our great Creator is, they were not doing their finest work when they came up with this unsightly apparatus.
Now I know the first thing you're going to say -- that I'm a homophobe. Trust me, that isn't the issue. I am a staunch believer in gay rights, have tons of friends of all sorts of sexual orientations and could care less if anyone is gay, straight, eunuch or agnostic. I do not believe that too much exposure to the male member will turn me gay, just like I don't think watching too much baseball will turn me into a pitcher or catcher. Okay, maybe that's a bad analogy.
I'm not particularly squeamish either. I've been witness to some dreadfully horrific things over the years. I had to watch a variety of gruesome hospital procedures in my college days, I've seen all manner of graphic injuries and destruction, plus I watched every episode of NBC's Joey, so I can tolerate some pretty disgusting stuff. But to have to deal with the parade of angry aardvarks that surrounds me every day is wearing me down.
I think the big problem is that I go to the gym in the late morning. Old-timer territory. I'm usually the youngest, by at least a decade, of the morning crowd. These are guys I don't even want to see with their shirts off, never mind the full bottomless treatment. Like I said, I think penii are pretty odd-looking to begin with. When they are older, grayer and let's face it, lower than they used to be, the situation gets a whole lot worse.
It's not that these guys are just walking around naked. They're doing everything starkers. At any given moment there's an old, fat guy brushing his teeth with his junk pressed up against the sink, and another guy slathering on body lotion like he's basting a turkey and for some reason there's always one guy clipping his toenails. Aside from the fact that he's flinging his disgusting toe waste all over the floor I have to walk on, he's doing it while standing with his foot up on the bench. Picture that in your head for a second... a gray, naked old man, hunched over with one leg up in the air, and the rest of him falling prey to gravity. It's like a sad, saggy Captain Morgan. The worst part is that when you see something like that, you can't unsee it. It lives forever in your memory bank waiting to reappear when you least expect it.
So please, if you are comfortable in your own skin and want to take a nude yoga class or visit a nude beach or just sit at home naked eating a wheel of cheese, go for it. But if you are a guy in a gym, or anywhere, in close proximity to other strangers who are trying to get on with their day, just cover up. I'm not asking you to swathe yourself in a burka or hide behind a curtain, just wrap yourself in a towel or throw on some damn underpants. It's really not that hard. Okay, that might just be another poor choice of words.