"TC," the girls call me. That's short for towel coach-- it's my job to oversee the ladies' locker room. Go ahead and laugh, but I take my job seriously.
I hand out the towels, I keep track of locker combinations, I oversee the maintenance of the facilities and I enforce the rules. I'm not gonna lie and tell you it's the toughest gig in the world, but it does take a special set of skills, and you gotta have the right disposition.
I run a tight ship in the ladies' locker room, but I try to keep a jovial atmosphere. The girls love to pick on me. That's fine. Rebuffing their playful flirtation is all in a day's work for a good ladies' towel coach. I'll pretend to get cross if they get too giggly, that kind of thing. We're always kidding around, me and the girls. For example, I'll threaten to use the bolt cutters if they forget their combinations, but they know very well I've got them all written down in a drawer.
The most important thing is keeping the ladies on task. "Let's see more drying off and less horseplay, girls! This isn't a social call," I'll tell them. Or, if they're wasting time with a lot of nude gossip, I'll tell them, "this isn't the hair salon, ladies. Get a move on."
My friends tell me, "Dave, I'd kill to have your job. Spend all day hanging out with young ladies wearing towels or nothing at all." Well, first of all, it ain't all fun and games. More importantly, anyone with that kind of attitude just isn't cut out of this line of work: if you look at a young lady and get worked up over what she is or isn't wearing, then you've got no business in the locker room, fella.
Of course, sometimes it's your job to notice what they're wearing. If a young lady skipped out into the gym wearing nothing but a smile, that would be a failure on my part. That's not likely to happen, but the same concept extends to proper attire. I don't know about other towel coaches, but a common refrain in my personal execution of the office is, "forgetting something?" It's not my place to tell anyone how to conduct herself as a young lady, but if a young lady leaves my locker room without a brassiere, it reflects poorly on my towel coaching. "You can let the hens run free-range at home," I tell them, "but not in my yard."
And as for the all the unclad women: I'm a happily married man, so it means nothing to me. "Move it along, ladies," I often say when they make a big show of accidentally dropping their towels, "you don't have anything I've never seen before."
My buddy Andre-- he's the men's locker TC-- often jokes that he'd trade jobs any day. "Dave, I tell ya, I bet reminding pretty girls of their locker numbers sure beats breaking up fights and confiscating tea doobies all day," he says. Well, hell, I'd take him up on that in a heartbeat! I know how to break up two boys fighting. They're like dogs, just turn the hose on 'em. But when a couple of unclothed ladies get into a rumble? You need a full suit of armor to break that up, fella. You're walking into a slippery tornado of hair and fingernails, and you'll be lucky to come out with both eyes.
Those girls, hope to tell ya, they're a damn menace. Every Valentine's Day, I buy a dozen roses for my wife, and one by one the girls pluck them out of the vase. "Thaaaanks, Daaaaave," they say in their sing-song voices, blowing me kisses and all. Dang it! Those girls know very well I'll just have to buy another dozen for the wife when I get off work.
And when my wife comes in for a visit? Well, I tell the girls to be on their best behavior, so of course they try to get me in as much trouble as they can. Flirting, pawing at me, kissing my cheeks, all that jazz. But Joy knows better; she just rolls her eyes and makes her usual wisecracks. "Go ahead and take him," she says. "He's all yours, girls. Just don't expect him to remember your anniversary!"
I guess it's easy to get the wrong idea about my job. You walk into my office, all you see is a big wall of photos of me with my classic exasperated-coach face, being kissed on the cheeks by two towel-clad girls at a time. But I'm telling you, it's not all fun and games. For example, the girls are always trying to think up some ruse to get me into the showers-- they just want to embarrass me, and I've got no time for that sort of foolishness-- but hijinks like that can lead to serious consequences. One time, they made up some cockamamie story about a stopped-up shower head, and I wound up slipping on a bar of soap and cracking my head open!
I tell you, it was chaos. Twenty-two girls, wearing towels if anything at all, riding with me in the back of the ambulance. Pure mayhem. "You girls are going to give this poor man a heart attack," the paramedics kept saying-- but only by annoying me to death!
Fifteen stitches in the ol' noggin. "You're a lucky man," the ER doc told me when he saw the gift they sent-- dozens of lipstick kisses on a get-well-soon card. "You don't get it, doc," I said. "Those crazy girls put me in here!"
He had a yellow inflatable tube around his waist, the kind with a comical duck head. There was a tiny fish in one of his hands, and a trident in the other. In the background a squirrel wearing shades was water skiing.
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