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by Abigail Van Buren

Going to the Gym Becomes Exercise in Embarrassment

DEAR ABBY: I just joined a gym, and I love everything about it except for one thing -- the ladies' locker room.

I am modest so I use the private changing rooms when getting dressed. There are some women who feel very comfortable walking around in various stages of undress. Not only are they naked, they don't think twice about bending over to get into their lockers, or standing topless while blow-drying their hair.

In a place full of mirrors, seeing all this is difficult to avoid. I don't want to stop using the locker room because it's convenient. Is there anything I can do, or must I put up with the peep shows? -- MISS MODESTY IN PRINCETON, N.J.

DEAR MISS M.: Women in various stages of nudity are not a "peep show." They are par for the course in women's locker rooms everywhere. And yes, there is something you can do: As you pass through on your way in and out, keep your eyes modestly downcast. That way, at most, you will see only a few naked toes. Or visit the gym during hours when the place is not so busy.