Dear Ladies,

First of all, I would like to offer my sincerest apologies. I must take full responsibility for any panic, annoyance and shattered eardrums that may have resulted from the blood-curdling shriek I released Tuesday last. I can offer no excuses, only regrets for the jumps, stumbles and possible aural damage my actions may have caused.

I seem to have fallen prey, you see, to an ignorance of locker room etiquette. In my naivete, cultivated over managing never to shower in my high school gym, and attending a grade school that lacked such facilities, I believed that if my shower cubicle curtain was closed, with my swimsuit hanging over the top, albeit off to one side, then I would be perfectly safe from intrusion. Be wary, fellow gym novices, such is not the case.

While a towel hanging on the adjacent hook to a closed curtain is a recognized signal of occupation (as well as running water), there existed, unbeknownst to me, a window of unknown occupancy. In the moments after finishing the shower, I thought I had plenty of time to take my towel inside the cubicle, with its closed curtain, and dry myself off in peace. After all, the curtain was closed, my swimsuit perched like a limp flag over the rod and there were three other cubicles available. Sadly, my measures were simply not enough.

But more, I had not mentally prepared myself for the possibility I was about to experience. Hearing voices approach, I paid no heed, other than to note the misconceptions about birth control both girls were stating as fact. Then, without warning, the curtain was whisked aside, and I, despite having been trained for years to avoid screaming at being surprised by a brother determined to make me react, let out a most piercing and girlish shriek, one that would have had my brother bursting with pride had he been its cause.

The girl, on the other hand, did not seem proud at her accomplishment at all. I clutched my towel to my breast and we both yanked the curtain back into place, her murmuring an apology while my face began to steam dry.

I can only hope that I have caused no lasting damage, aural or otherwise, to you, my fellow patrons of the women’s locker room. I have since begun posting an bright orange occupied sign on my curtain cubicles, and hope not to experience a repetition of any pain I may have caused you.


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