Gays have never been more prominent in sports than they are now. What with NFL draft hopeful Michael Sam coming out and Jason Collins becoming the first openly gay major athlete when he suited up against the Lakers last weekend, we seem to be making great strides in changing perceptions of homosexuality in athletics.
But there’s still a long way to go. We got to thinking about our own locker room experiences after we saw an ESPN poll in which one in four NFL players say they would refuse to shower with a gay teammate.
Here are the five biggest myths straight guys have about sharing the locker room with gays.
1. We can’t keep our eyes off of you
Let’s start with the biggest offender. We hate to have to put it so bluntly (ok maybe we don’t mind), but you just aren’t that hot. And it isn’t that you’re not hot in that “you aren’t exactly my type but damn I’d love to practice my squats on you” sort of way, but more like “you remind me of my weird uncle who watches TV in his underwear.”
We know in your mind you are the pinnacle of testosterone-fueled masculinity and the obvious lust object for all gay men, but you might want to spend a little less time doing chest presses and a little more time swimming laps. The beer gut? Not so cute.
Unless of course you are in the .01% of people who really are that hot. Then you’ll just have to deal with a casual admiring look.
2. Let’s rendezvous in shower stall #4
Contrary to popular belief, we are not all public exhibitionists whose first thought when undressing post-workout is to add even more bacteria to the already infested shower floor. While in theory it may spark a fantasy or two, reality is (as is usually the case) a lot less sexy. For those who are into public sex, there are much better choices of locale. Generally, the gym shower is a very un-sexy space — the flip-flops, the stained grout, the general mildewy musk.
Unless of course you belong to a “gay gym.” Then you might want to steer clear of the steam room if the five-knuckle Olympics isn’t what you’re training for.
3. You can always tell who’s gay
We get it. You’re a man. I mean, a real man. You can bench 190 pounds (while grunting of course) and your gym uniform is an oversized t-shirt with even more oversized shorts. I hate to break it to you, but there are gay guys who look, dress and grunt just like you at the gym. You may think you have it all figured out, but honey, you don’t know the first thing about the complex masculine/feminine spectrum in gay culture.
Unless of course you’re focused only on the twink with the bleach blonde hair or the muscle queen in the Madonna tank top. They’re almost certainly on our team.
4. Our iPods exclusively blast Beyonce and Robyn
You think all we do is go out clubbing, dance to pop music, head to the gym the next day, work out to pop music, then go home and fuck…to pop music. Nobody has a one-track soundtrack to life — how boring would that be? — and that goes for the same when exercising. Sometimes we need some St. Lucia, maybe a little Super Flu — hell, how about Curtis Mayfield every now and then? Don’t you be pigeonholing us.
Unless of course it’s a Beyonce day. And there are lots of Beyonce days.
5. All we do is cardio and yoga
This goes back to #3. There are all types of people, and that includes all types of gay guys. That dude you’ve been “bro-checking-out” because of his insane body that you hope to one day achieve? She’s one of us. The personal trainer you’ve dropped serious cash on to try and build more mass? You should see him on a go-go box.
Unless of course you take a Zumba class or something with a name like “Bodyflow.”