Tuesday, September 05, 2006


Okay, this sounds like a really pretentious and stupid thing for a fat guy to say but ...

I joined a gym.

I got tired of being round and would rather be oblong and I decided that if I was paying actual money, it would motivate me to use the facilities and equipment I paid for. It's a very modest gym, close to my work. And it's nice because it's nothing but old guys and teenagers just looking to work up a sweat. No vain people just trying to get checked out or pick up chicks or whatever. At least not that I've seen. So it's great, I run in, I run a little, I lift a little, I check out some CNN to see what went to hell today, I shower and I'm out. Oh, and then of course I blow it on the weekends by eating my face off, but that's beside the point. I am not posting this to brag about being in a gym.

Mostly my experiences in the gym have been positive, but let me just relay two negative things, and maybe they are minor, but they are irritating.

1) Old guys walking around naked. Now, maybe I am just weird about this. Maybe I should be at the age where it's not abnormal to see another grown man in the nude. But I am still freaked out by it. I don't know why. It's not like I'm some prude or afraid I'll turn gay or anything. It's just off-putting and disorienting to be in a common area, and suddenly see some overweight 60-year old's wrinkly man-parts dangling in plain sight, all while he pretends there's nothing weird about it. (Mind you, I have never made direct eye contact with anyone in the locker room, nor will I ever. And I certainly haven't checked out any dude's wedding tackle. But dammit, I know it's there.)

What ever happened to towels? Do you know what I do? I will wear the sweaty boxers that I wore to work out in allll the way to the shower, carrying my towel and clean boxers. Then, right at the very precipice of the shower area, I will then remove the sweaty unmentionables, put them on the bench outside, then walk into the shower area and mastur....uh shower myself. Shower myself off and get clean and all that. Then I dry myself, reach around and grab the clean boxers, and walk into the common area with my dignity intact. It's the least I can do.

2) Talky gym rats. It seems that every time I go into the locker room area, there is some old dude there just talking and talking and talking. It's usually a situation where some poor guy is trying to change and get the hell out of there, and another older guy is just yapping away about something or other. All the while, the talker just blathers, and the talkee just says "mm-hmmm" and "yup" and other dismissive responses, all while trying to not feel violated by the talker's uncomfortable proximity.

Most of these guys are just good-natured old timers who just like to chat and it's all very harmless, although it's one of the reasons I am loathe to befriend anyone there. I don't need to be talked-at. There was, however, an incident today where a guy was very boorish and irritating. First of all, I walked into the locker room, and there is a big biker-looking guy, probably about 58 years old, long hair, beard, denim vest, bandana on his head. He is just standing around, blocking walkways, in front of the mirror, and in front of the old-school scale, which I like to check to see how much weight I haven't lost.

I am ready to get changed and get a move on, but this guy starts talking and is very rude. He's complaining about something to some other poor guy who couldn't care less, and everything out of his mouth is "fucking-this-fucking-that." I get it, you're a big tough biker guy who likes to swear. Tough guy. Don't wanna mess with you. Message received. Now shut the "fuck" up and get away from the hair dryer. (I can dream, can't I?)

Moreover, the guy is just sitting on a bench. He is not changing. He is not getting ready to work out. He is not in exercise clothes. He is just walking and standing in a men's locker room. I almost said something to the effect of "Hey, how can a homeless guy afford a gym membership?" but then I ran the risk of getting into a scuffle where I would have inevitably been picked up and thrown directly into some senior citizen's testicles. Wisely I kept my witty barb to myself.

So I go and do my workout for about an hour (y'know, run 15 miles, 10 sets of 30 reps, 400-lb dead-lift, the usual), and when I come back into the locker room, biker-boy is still there. And this time he's complaining about something totally different. ("Those fucking people at the fucking fair are so fucking rude. I'm not gonna be fucking pushing and shoving to get on a fucking bus to the fucking fair. They don't have any fucking class." I swear that last sentence is a direct quote.) Does this guy have his head so far up his ass that he doesn't realize what a buffoon he sounds like? Or is he doing it for effect? To exhibit some sort of oratory dominance? I don't know and I don't want to find out. I just don't want him to be there next time. At least he wasn't naked.


Tracie said...

unleash the deamon, set 'em free- show what you got! Be proud

SUE said...

Old women at the gym are guilty of the same locker room faux pas. I don't want to look at old, wrinkly woman bits anymore than you want to look at old, wrinkly man bits. My old gym was notorious for this...lots of women marching ALL OVER the damn locker room naked. The worst were those who felt the need to stand topless in front of the mirror and blowdry their hair. Honestly, you can't just hike up the towel a bit? Please.