The cage

The cage's ludicrous location in the children's section of the women's lockers

The cage’s ludicrous location in the children’s section of the women’s lockers

My outfit for New Year’s Eve displays my pale cleavage and my pale back; a little colour is needed.  A couple of sunbed sessions (“solarium” for Australian readers which are now illegal – and by that I mean solariums are illegal, not Australian readers) will do the trick.  I realise I shouldn’t but there are quite a few things I shouldn’t do …

The stand-up sunbed at my gym is a walk-in cage.  These solar cages usually have their own room, where you can comfortably undress with the reassuring privacy of a locked door.  However this one is in the open area of the female lockers.  The door to the cage shuts, but can’t be fastened.  An unlocked door in an open space where you’re naked isn’t ideal.

I insert my tokens to activate the power, strip and put on eye stickers to protect my corneas from the ultraviolet rays. I enter the cage and close the door.  My face tans easily so I need to shield it.  This means that I cover it with my black long-sleeved top.  I put the earphones of my iPod in and then tie the top tightly around my head.  I position the iPod on my head by tucking it into a fold of my self-made execution mask.

The cage

The cage

I spread my legs like a starfish and grab the two metal bars positioned on either side of my head, in a kind of flagellation pose.  The music drowns out the noise of the loudly humming machine.

Ordinarily I’d be dancing freely during a tanning session, but there’s the possibility of the cage door being opened.  A remote possibility, granted.  But a possibility never-the-less; I cannot take the risk.  Plus, to my annoyance, the possibility is increased by the suncage’s location in the children’s section of the women’s lockers.

I hang there, draped like a sweating Iraqi torture victim.  I’m blind and deaf as the rays sting my back and the blood drains from my elevated arms.  The pursuit of beauty really is pain, mixed with the total absence of dignity.

The cage

The cage

The heat becomes increasingly unbearable on my skin and underneath my suffocating make-shift gimp mask.  After a few minutes I feel the relief of fresh cool air hitting my body … balanced only by the awful realisation that my cage door has been opened.

With panicked urgency, I clumsily rip the self-made black-top mask from my face, sending my iPod crashing to the floor.  I see a rather tall boy standing in front of me, staring.  How long has he been there for?!

I rush to grab my clothes and the boy’s mother emerges, ironically fully covered in a burka; between the two for us we have an acceptable quantity of clothing “Ahmed! Ahmed! Come here!!”

The closed cage in the open area

The closed cage in the open area

Ahmed ignores his mother and watches me with solemn concentration as I dress.  His mother seems oblivious to the inappropriate awkwardness of the situation.

I quickly exit the changing rooms.  As I leave I see the bright red sign “Boy free zone! Please ensure all boys over the age of 8 use the male changing rooms only”.

Ahmed may have been under 8, but he wasn’t far off my height (I realise I’m no giant) and the look in his eye certainly seemed more that of an adolescent than a boy.  My embarrassment has passed, but the image of me looking like I was about to be flogged may stay with him for quite some time.

Either some 8-year-old boys are VERY mature or some mums are a bit liberal with this gym rule ...

Either some 8-year-old boys are VERY mature or some mums are a bit liberal with this gym rule …


FYI – people do NOT like photos being taken in lockers … especially when their children are getting changed.

6 responses to “The cage

  1. Do you think Ahmed had time to get a picture?

  2. OMG, how appalling. A complete invasion of your privacy, disgusting…I totally feel for you, how horrible. I guess you were too in shock & embarrassed to start yelling at them..

    • The mother’s lack of response was appalling. Who allows their “child” to stand there perving at someone?! It was particularly galling as she was so covered up and I can’t imagine she would have been happy if a boy/man was staring at her.

      It may sound bizarre, but I’ve never yelled at anyone in my life – I’ve literally never lost my temper (I go deathly calm and quiet instead, which is possibly worse!). My friends keep waiting for the day when I finally crack and release a lifetime’s build-up of fury by shooting a hundred people from the top of a tall building 🙂

  3. I’m appalled at this! Didn’t you complain?! I would have had a few choice words to say to his mother!

    • It happens all the bloody time. These “boys” who are giants and the mothers seem oblivious to their “developed” state.

      No, I didn’t complain. Remember I practically curtseyed the guy who mugged me! I’m not the little firecracker you are 😉

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