Another good workout was completed today. It was a back and triceps day which is my least favourite of my strength training days but it is a necessary evil.
Post training, neigh, après training I had a somewhat unfortunate encounter. Picture the scene, if you dare, of me standing in my area of the changing room which I had picked especially because it is in a corner so I have a little privacy.
You may be wondering what privacy a man needs in a changing room. Well, after a shower you need to dry yourself and go through your grooming ritual and it is best done in your own space. To add to that, is it only me that finds the sight of someone putting on their underwear somewhat comical? I thought so, just me again!
Back to the scene, There I stand somewhat wet. I remove my Union Jack towel (yes, seriously) and I am standing there in all my glory. Glistening magnificently in the daylight like some kind of Greek God in the House of Mirrors at a fairground. You know the one that distorts your body into weird shapes? Anyhoo.
There I was, town on the bench next to me and next tot he towel was my bag of toiletries. My grooming kit (stop laughing). I look in to the bag to find my antiperspirant and body spray and I become aware of a presence in front of me. Usually in these situations I try not make eye contact and I especially don’t bent over for any reason but on this occasion I looked up.
Standing in front of me, looking straight at me was the cleaner. A female cleaner. A female cleaner who looked about 20 and was, in the modern vernacular, somewhat fit. I instantly felt the look of surprise flash across my face. Usually when you feel this way you know you have managed to control your expression but on this occasion I could feel the surprise on my face. I must have resembled the metaphorical bunny caught in the headlights of a car while sitting in the middle of the road.
Luckily for me the room was warm and gravity was working in my part of the room. Her eyes met mine and she turned around. It was then I noticed there was a door by her. I had not taken any notice of it before but now I know it is the cleaning’s room. Right in the middle of the men’s changing room is the cleaner’s room. How stupid.
I am not a prude. I am comfortable around nudity, just not my nudity or the nudity of other men. In England I have been in a changing room or the toilet when a female cleaner has had reason to enter. They always knock and announce that they will be entering the room. They don’t suddenly appear like the shop assistant in Mr. Ben. (A children’s cartoon from my childhood.) Having said that, the cleaners in England are usually so far removed from the one I encountered they probably warn you that they are entering so you can prepare yourself for the shock of seeing someone wearing legging several sizes too small.
So, what do you do in this situation? I stayed calm and acted like it was nothing unusual. ‘Yeah, I flash my bits to young girls every day of the week. Here, take another look!’ It was at this point I noticed she was looking in the mirror at the side of the door, right at me. Maybe she had not seen a penis before? Maybe she was wondering if I was a woman in the wrong changing room? Nah, I have already mentioned it was warm in there. That probably makes it worse.
She entered the room, retrieved whatever it was she needed and exited the scene. For some reason I stood there for a few moments in reflection. It was the sound of the changing room door opening that shocked me out of it and I put on my underwear, probably in a comedic fashion.
I finished getting dressed and made my way out of the changing room, down the stairs and to the reception area to put on my shoes. It is at this point I always check my phone for messages and so on and on this occasion it was no different. While looking for messages I became aware of a presence in front of me. I again looked up and it was the same cleaner as before. This time she looked at me, smiled and said ‘hej’ (hello) and carried on with her business, instead of looking at mine. I replied with a ‘hej’ and returned the smile while still processing the situation I found myself in. Maybe she did not recognise me with my clothes on?
I thought for a few minutes about equality. Sweden is very big on equality between the sexes but I could not help wondering what would have happened if it had been me in her situation and her in mine. While she could get away with entering the men’s changing room, unannounced I would not doubt have been accused of being a peeping Tom.
It seems even in this brave new world of enlightened times there will never be true equality. A woman being spied on while changing is taken seriously but had I complained about a fit, 20 year old spying on me I would probably have been laughed at.
I guess I should be happy that she liked the first peek so much she decided to do it again in the mirror.
I guess I should take it as a compliment. Thinking about it, maybe she just liked my Union Jack towel?