Secrets of Acceptable Locker Room Behavior

Jan, 10, 2018

Secrets of AcceptableI didn’t see it coming, nor did I want to see it, but my niece did, and she was grossed out by a woman parading around the locker room in her birthday suit. Of course, you can’t wear a towel when you’re dressing and undressing, but the rest of the time (doing your makeup and hair, walking to and from the restroom, shower, and sauna), remember: locker room towels are there for a reason, so use them.

Which leads us to our first secret of locker-room etiquette:

· Cover up. I’m thrilled that your body is fit as a fiddle, but not everyone wants to see it. Show off by the pool in your bathing suit.

· Avoid the locker room stare.
If you wear a towel at the appropriate times, you won’t have to worry about drawing looks. But if others are into self-display, just ignore them—it’s uncool to stare.

· Keep conversation to a minimum. Most people are in the locker room to dress or undress, not to visit, so greet your friends, but make your interactions brief.

· Mind the no-phones policy. Most gyms have rules for using cell phones, and the locker room is one place usually on the no-phone list. There’s nothing wrong with texting, of course, but remember to keep your phone in silent mode.

· Shoes, please.
Floors in locker rooms are often slippery and grimy. Wear shower shoes/flip-flops to keep from falling and falling prey to infections.

· Keep common areas tidy.
After you use a hair dryer, put it back where you found it. Remove any personal items, such as hairbrushes, combs, and—worse—hair!

· Lock it up. Be sure to keep your locker locked. I can think of northing worse than not having undergarments to put on after a shower. Be safe, not sorry.

· Don’t hog space. It’s okay to spread out on a bench or in front of a mirror if no one else is around; otherwise, leave room for others.

· Use the towel-disposal bins. Don’t be a slob. On your way out, drop all of your used towels in a bin so others don’t have to do it for you. Lisa Mirza Grotts is a recognized etiquette expert, an on-air contributor, and the author of A Traveler’s Passport to Etiquette. She is a former director of protocol for the city and county of San Francisco and the founder and CEO of The AML Group (, certified etiquette and protocol consultants. Her clients range from Stanford Hospital to Cornell University and Levi Strauss. She has been quoted by Condé Nast Traveler, InStyle magazine, the Los Angeles Times, and the New York Times. To learn more about Lisa, follow her on and

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