WOMEN’S LOCKER ROOMS SACRED SPACES

pool pics & chris 010 (Ooops. Sorry, wrong gender. But the door to the women’s is just the same). Bonding with other women takes place especially in the locker rooms of the city. Particularly in city facilities like artillery park. Retired women at their leisure, young ones rushing off to work, mothers on maternity leave. Their main contact space is the small bulletin board I donated something like thirty years ago when I first began swimming at the pool.
it’s an innocous little piece of beaverboard where over the years, small home businesses have blossomed into bigger ones, church suppers are announced, invitations and Christmas cards are left under various names. It is often rife with cartoons poking fun at the opposite gender. A time or two something political goes up.
All the women users feel a sense of ownership and a pride in how the board looks and what it says. I might have donated it but it’s used furiously by everyone except the pool bureaucracy.
Until last week in the middle of a cold February, without warning, every concert, church supper, picture and text came down. The board was as bleak and bare as, well, February.
“ONLY CITY OF KINGSTON APPROVED ITEMS MAY BE POSTED IN THIS FACILITY. ANYONE WISHING TO HAVE AN ITEM APPROVED MUST SUBMIT IT TO THE FRONT DESK.’
pool pics & chris 005
Something had been posted, something so small no one had read it or seen it that had displeased authority. Rather than take the thing off of the board controlled and carefully monitored by the various shifts of women who swim and exercise all day, every day, trust them to delete inappropriate contents, let them go on considering their space as, well, their space, WHAMO! Everything was removed.
Even the multi-coloured push pins, brought by the women themselves whenever they had something to tack up, even they had gone to decorate some more approved bureaucratic nirvana.
5 guys Easter Monday 009
Now a board like this is an informal, casual sort of affair. You post on it when you’ve lost a sock, when you need a sitter for your dog, when you’re thinking of selling Avon in your spare time. Queen’s psychology students often troll for testing subjects. Newspaper clippings when someone’s spouse or child’s had recognition. Little things that you’d feel a bit foolish about tromping all the way to the front desk and then waiting around till some authority decides whether or not to approve you.
There’s such a wealth of experience and common sense among the women users. More than one in their nineties, lots in the upper range of seniors, bright youngsters, staid middle-agers, none of whom appear to suffer from flawed judgement but also aren’t officially employed by the city.
Stripping the board and demanding obedience is like trying to kill a fruit fly with a hammer. Unnecessary and unfortunate. Commonsense would say to let it alone, let the board drift back to being the thing it always has been; pieces of community, one of the few little places to post your notice in a city that is notoriously short on such opportunities.
Kingston seems to be known best in Canada as the city for the most bylaws per individual. It wouldn’t take much to turn that impression around. Starting with the little piece of beaverboard in the women’s locker room at the pool.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *