Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Where hairdryers become "body-dryers"

One of the big downsides with working full-time is that I am now no longer privileged with the choice of avoiding the gym during peek hours. Instead, I have to squeeze in between naked body parts and tiny gym lockers like all the other working ladies. One of the biggest issues have proven to be that there is no such thing as “getting fresh” after a workout at a gym in Shanghai.

For starters, there is about 45 degrees in the changing room. Steamy, hot and humid air is making me sweat almost more than what I do on the treadmill.

Second of all –the nakedness is making me nauseous. I never considered myself as prude, but I am starting to question my statement. One of the most stupid rules at the whole gym is that girls need to pay for gym towels (5 rmb/towel). As a result of this, no one bothers to use one. I mean, why should you when there are plenty of hairdryers that you can use for free!

So, girls wander around, butt naked to the showers and escape some moments later, still naked but now dripping wet, grab a hairdryer and start drying themselves… from tip to toe. Watching this (not that I do, but it it kind of hard to not see it) is everything but pleasant. Even if I would decide to stay and shower (I always go home and shower), I would not want to touch those hairdryers! Despite the fact that they come with labels (“for blow-drying head hair only!) nobody bothers with obeying the “rules.”

Even though it was pretty much the same story in at my old gym in Suzhou, that place was not as busy (and included some of my best China buddies –gosh, I miss Rocky!), making me miss it tremendously. Shanghai may be perceived as a cosmopolitan city by many, but anyone who’s been inside the female’s changing room at the gym, knows there is still a far way to go.

11 comments:

Dr. Heckle said...

Women wandering around everywhere "butt naked." I must go to China.

kanmuri said...

Here because of the hot springs, nudity is something common (in the proper places!!) I'm used to sharing the same hot spring with a dozen of naked ladies so I would probably not care about the dryer ladies ;)

Jim said...

Perhaps some photos of this phoenomena, Jonna? I don't mind disrobing in that environment, just thinking about it .....

Melody said...

That's exactly what they do over here, especially at swimming pools. You might think every will fix themselves in the apropriate dressing rooms, but most girls and ladies will just stand under the hairdryers until they're dry. Can't believe how they're doing that, as the air that's coming out of those things is very hot..

Jonna Wibelius said...

Heckle -they don't wander around naked on the streets, only in the women's changing room.

Kanmuri -I admire you. I still cannot handle it!

Jim -yuk, what do you think of me?! As if I would stand and take photos of naked women in the changing rooms?! Hello?!?!?!

Melody -It's indeed a very strange "habit" of drying yourself -FREE TOWELS TO EVERYONE, NOW!

Yang said...

Does this rule apply for the men too? I wonder how they feel seeing other guys walking around with their family jewels dangling about haha.

I don't know why you cannot just bring your towel!

Anonymous said...

Why don't they bring their own towels to the gym if they are planning to shower there? It is common where I live.

Joyce Lau said...

At my old gym in Hong Kong, there were all these signs saying HAIR DRYERS FOR HEAD ONLY. I never understood why till I read your post. (The towels at my old gym were free).

Your gym sounds like hell. No air con or fan? People too cheap to use towels?

Hong Kong girls are the opposite. Some run into the little curtained off areas even to change a pair of shorts.

The grossest thing I ever saw in a gym locker room was a woman (Hong Kong? Chinese? I don't know) who didn't bother going into a toilet stall to change a, uh, sanitary product. Thank god I only saw that once, and long, long ago.

Joyce Lau said...

At my old gym in Hong Kong, there were all these signs saying HAIR DRYERS FOR HEAD ONLY. I never understood why till I read your post. (The towels at my old gym were free).

Your gym sounds like hell. No air con or fan? People too cheap to use towels?

Hong Kong girls are the opposite. Some run into the little curtained off areas even to change a pair of shorts.

The grossest thing I ever saw in a gym locker room was a woman (Hong Kong? Chinese? I don't know) who didn't bother going into a toilet stall to change a, uh, sanitary product. Thank god I only saw that once, and long, long ago.

Anonymous said...

Oh wow - Joyce's experience makes me so grateful to have never seen that. Ugh.

I haven't quite figured out why the Chinese gyms are heated to excess - I always try to go first thing in the AM so the heat hasn't been turned on long enough to boil over.

The gym staff probably thinks I'm strange - I always leave sweaty to take my showers at home (luckily just a few meters away) so I can avoid the whole China locker room experience thing.

Have you ever noticed that the Chinese don't run around town in fitness attire? It's so common/normal to do it in the U.S. - I can't help but notice they seem to avoid this very thing. Any insight Jonna?

Anonymous said...

Where I am in Colorado at a Ski Resort they have the "dryer" room where one person at a time goes into it for 5 minutes butt naked (you cannot wear anything...no underwear..nothing) and hair dryers are up and down and you hit "start" and all the dryers automatically start...and the first time I used it I hit "high" and it got up to probably 120 degrees and was way TOO hot for me! Finally they renovated the room and put 5 minute dryers for winter jackets/snowpants/snow bibs and swimsuits on high heat at 350 degrees and everything comes out very hot and dry.