I’m a complete novice to the Steam room that comes included with our gym membership and I can’t help wonder what the etiquette is when you encounter a stranger in there. Obviously there are no written rules to abide by but are there some set of unwritten rules that everyone knows but me? After all I’d hate to have an embarrassing moment a la Chandler Bing in Friends.


Thankfully our steam room isn’t as steamy as that but I do have the added problem of being very short sighted so it could be awkward if I ever had to go in without my husband like the time I nearly followed a stranger into the gym shower. ……

But I digress. Back to my quandary. What should I do when the steam room is already occupied? My husband says the polite thing to do is nod but he’s so laid back he’s almost horizontal so I’m not convinced. I’m used to ignoring people, did it every day for years on the tube so could do that but it seems harsh. Social etiquette would indicate that the person already in situ in the steam room has charge of it so I’m feeling awkward before I even go in.

So this is what happens……

Husband and I open door. Stranger is inside. I see well enough to avoid a Chandler situation and sit on the opposite bench away from stranger. 
I then have the random thought this is the only situation you would ever willingly be half clothed with a total stranger.

Husband nods. Man clears his throat and nods back. I smile weakly. I’m struck by the fact the room smells more strongly of Vicks than usual. I offer up that thought aloud. Man laughs. Then I see the spray bottle in his hand and mortifyingly realise the vaporub smell is due to him.
I flush red but no one can see because I’m lobster red anyway. I drum on my thighs, make low murmured chit chat with hubby and a drip plips on me. Then another. Man sticks it out long enough to make the social point that he’s not leaving just because we’ve come in and then exits.

I breathe a sigh of relief and get dripped on again.
It’s really very nice in the steam room. I think I could actually go to sleep in there if I ever had the chance. This reminds me that when we used the jacuzzi last week hubby met someone he knew from school and I spent the entire conversation trying to force my bottom to stop riding off the seat and also to expel the air from my swimming costume top that led my chest to resemble a large inflatable shelf!

Oh well. Some day I’ll get it right I hope.


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