An epidemic is raging across this great nation.
Right now, old men in gym locker rooms are using hand and hair dryers to dry their balls. Naked. For all to see.
Disgusting, you say?!
Sure, why not. It is quite a shock.
All you want to do is change out of your work clothes into some shorts and a t-shirt to chase fading dreams of athletic glory.
You’re just trying to get your head straight for the punishing workout* ahead and BAM!
A 70-plus-year-old man is standing buck naked (save for his shower sandals) with his soft tush and hanging jewels flapping in the jet-propulsed hot air.
Disgusting, you say?!
Yes, especially when that circulating, spunky, airstream hits your nostrils.
But hold on just a God Damn minute!
Are these Grandfathers of No Shame on to something?
If you’re determined to use the public shower, is an air dry superior to dragging an old, matted towel across your own cottage cheese-riddled, I mean, ripped and sinewy, muscled skin?!
Several months ago, I started blow drying my own head of hair, like a real man**. Having spent a lifetime battling an unruly, sort of curly, but not ‘cool,’ curly hair; I was introduced to the magic of spending a few short minutes with a brush and a screaming machine aimed at my head.
The curls calmed down. My hair was ‘manageable,’ thanks in part to the lack of humidity on the West Coast. This practice is particularly useful for pre-bedtime showers. Who wants to sleep on a damp pillow all night? Not this guy.
On one particularly chilly morning, I allowed the hair dryer to drop and warm up my chest for a second. The tufts of chest hair instantly dried.
I noticed my still damp arm hair. Seconds later…completely dry again.
I was thrilled and less chilled. I noticed my leg hair and made quick work of the water droplets.
It was at this moment that I recalled the naked, old men drying their balls at the gym. Hmm…
Did I hesitate?
For a second.
To make sure my bathroom door was shut and my girlfriend wouldn’t see.
Then I dropped my arm, spread my legs into a mini-squat, lifted myself up onto my toes and…
HOLY FUCKING SHIT!!! I WAS BURNING MY BALLS!!!!!
I jumped! The heat set to the highest, hottest setting!
I nearly dropped the hair dryer and stifled a scream!
And then it happened…
I laughed out loud.
I’m the type of guy who will play failures, real or perceived, over and over in my head as a sort of internal torture, a penitence. If I stub my toe, the thoughts come flying in, second, third and fourth arrows hitting my psyche: “I’m so clumsy. I’m such an idiot. How come I can’t do anything right.”
The Ego is bruised. Anger and shame arise, those old, familiar friends (foes?).
But this time, something else happened instead. Laughter cut through. The absurdity of briefly roasting and toasting my twig and berries wasn’t lost on that part of my brain that registers surprise. Laughter and a bit of joy resulted instead of self-flagulation.***
There was no burn, 1st, 2nd or 3rd degree. My cat-like reactions saved me from any serious injury.
A lighter mood remained my companion throughout that morning. And whenever I see those old men, shameless, with their junk hanging out on full display; I smile and chuckle to myself having chipped a little bit of the Ego away, if just for a moment, thanks to their example.
I guess learned a little something about myself that day. The Ego can be checked in unexpected ways. And my balls must hang a little lower than I thought.
*punishing workout = a high school volleyball team’s warm-up…who are we kidding
** Fun Fact – Both men and women dry their hair and neither should have their masculinity/femininity questioned if they dry their hair or not!
*** Not Self-Farting, that’s Flatulence.