What's Your Problem? April 2013

There's a War Criminal at My Gym

Our advice columnist to the rescue
More

Q: Last weekend I was in the locker room of my D.C. fitness club, watching a football game while getting dressed after a workout, when a man I consider to be a war criminal, responsible for horrible foreign-policy decisions and the deaths of American soldiers, ambled up beside me, naked, to ask what the score of the game was. What’s the etiquette here? Am I obligated by my conscience to berate him? Or compelled, by the rules of the locker room or by our nudity, to refrain?

—D.T.
Washington, D.C.


Dear D.T.,

You could easily have avoided this situation by doing what I do: never work out and never be naked. Since it’s too late for that, the most graceful way for you to satisfy the demands of your conscience and of locker-room decorum is to politely tell him the wrong score and then walk away. (After first glancing disdainfully at his private parts with shock and a distinct lack of awe.)


To submit a question or request for advice, please email advice@theatlantic.com. Include your full name and address.

Jump to comments
Presented by

Jeffrey Goldberg is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and a recipient of the National Magazine Award for Reporting. Author of the book Prisoners: A Story of Friendship and Terror, Goldberg also writes the magazine's advice column. More

Before joining The Atlantic in 2007, Goldberg was a Middle East correspondent, and the Washington correspondent, for The New Yorker. Previously, he served as a correspondent for The New York Times Magazine and New York magazine. He has also written for the Jewish Daily Forward, and was a columnist for The Jerusalem Post.

His book Prisoners was hailed as one of the best books of 2006 by the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Slate, The Progressive, Washingtonian magazine, and Playboy. Goldberg rthe recipient of the 2003 National Magazine Award for Reporting for his coverage of Islamic terrorism. He is also the winner of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists prize for best international investigative journalist; the Overseas Press Club award for best human-rights reporting; and the Abraham Cahan Prize in Journalism. He is also the recipient of 2005's Anti-Defamation League Daniel Pearl Prize.

In 2001, Goldberg was appointed the Syrkin Fellow in Letters of the Jerusalem Foundation, and in 2002 he became a public-policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

A Breathtaking Tour Above the Moab Desert

Filmmaker Ian Cresswell rigs an HD camera atop a remote-controlled "octocopter" for some spectacular aerial views.


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Where Time Comes From

The clocks that coordinate your cellphone, GPS, and more

Video

Computer Vision Syndrome and You

Save your eyes. Take breaks.

Video

What Happens in 60 Seconds

Quantifying human activity around the world

Writers

Up
Down
More back issues, Sept 1995 to present.

Just In