Etiquette for coed dressing rooms

Written by dan antony
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Etiquette for coed dressing rooms
Best to keep your humour (and eyes) to yourself, in unisex dressing rooms. (sign for access to toilets.unisex.toilet access.wc image by L. Shat from Fotolia.com)

No fashion mavens (like Letitia Baldridge or Amy Vanderbilt) have addressed the co-ed dressing room. Nor have the authors of more up-to-date books like "The Modern Gentleman" or "21st Century Etiquette." But we may conjecture a few simple rules.

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Age Appropriate

Organizations like the Flagship Athletic Club in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, maintain unisex family-friendly locker rooms, so that opposite-sex parents need not leave their children unattended. Keep language age-appropriate, and do not engage people in conversation as they are changing.

Atmosphere

Unisex dressing rooms are common in dance, theatre and other performing arts, where the tradition is to maintain a convivial atmosphere in the dressing room---no arguments, no grudges, no gossip. This should naturally preclude creating a sexually-charged atmosphere.

Modesty

"I don't walk around stark naked in front of my daughter so why should I strip off in front of a woman at work" said a UK firefighter when forced to use a unisex changing room. However comfortable you are with the arrangement, respect others' discomfort and do not attempt to "enlighten" them or tease them into acceptance.

Generation Y

Retailers that cater to Generation Y shoppers, including Aeropostale, the Gap and American Eagle, offer unisex fitting rooms (some even with "girlfriend" and "boyfriend" chairs). An older person who shops a more youthful companies like these should respect the arrangement, and reserve comment or complaint.

Workplace

Do not treat partial nudity as an invitation for comment or humour, especially in the workplace. The US Supreme Court decreed that International Labor Laws and sexual harassment statutes apply to unisex changing rooms. This was the Court's conclusion after a female lifeguard complained of harassment by coworkers and superiors.

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