My employers have installed a shower in our office block. I presume this is to help cleanse the sweaty martyrs that pedal to work each day and thus to prevent mass body odour epidemics.
I have no issue with the installation as such. Except that the location chosen seems to me, slightly odd. The women’s shower has been built in what was once a cupboard in the ladies’ toilets. Toilets makes them sound like there are many of them. There are in fact two. Two cubicles for nearing 100 women I would say. Nice. Apart from being a breeding ground for swine flu, there is a strategy issue here. You can’t go in there for a nice ‘private’ moment shall we say. Instead, you are subjected to privacy invasion at its worse kind, along with sound effects that invoke images of M15 waterboarding terrorists in the cubicle next door.
Back to showers though, there is the blue door that leads into it, literally half a metre opposite the cubicle door. Inside looks pretty much like any other shower. Except it is in a toilet at work. It is not even one of those cleverly sound-proofed doors – it has a 12in gap at the bottom and top, meaning every Tommie, Dicksie and Henrietta can catch a glimpse of my feet.
This isn’t the middle ages and ankles aren’t considered sexually forbidden territory, I know, but I don’t share my feet readily. They are usually clothed in socks and shoes when I greet colleagues. Sandals are acceptable in certain weathers, but naked feet are just creepy.
Plus, the idea of standing naked, wet and exposed with my boss having a piss only feet away fills me with a feeling that I cannot quite pinpoint. It could be dread. It could be fear. It could even be a strange kind of excitement. But whatever it is, it is wrong. I have to deal with the noise issue in the toilet on a daily basis, but coming out of the shower to face people in suits, or even, just people in clothes? It is too intimate. Forget team building if that’s what they call it. I would rather shower alone.
Unless it means a pay rise perhaps…