Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Gym dandies

Whew... you might be able to tell by my prolonged absence that that walk kicked my butt. We never really knew in advance how long it was to be. First, I was told 5k. Then 5 miles. Then 10k. Then 5k. Then 10 miles. Finally, I was told it was to be 10k.

It was 9 miles. They intended it to be 10k but they mismeasured. Several pedometers and GoogleEarth confirm that it was indeed longer than it ought to have been.

We finished the walk and had our hands wrung by the March of Dimes organizers who told us how much they appreciated what we were doing for babies. I didn't know this, but they've recently made great strides against SIDS; children prone to SIDS have enzymatic anomalies that can be corrected by feeding them a little differently... thus saving their lives. That makes me feel really good. I have friends who have lost siblings to SIDS.

Thank you, those of you who donated. We were deeply touched that you had done so.

Me, I got blisters, sunshine, and to see four cities (they run together) as I had never seen them. Also, the pride of knowing that me, my brother, and my husband made the entire walk without having to stop.

So did all my officemates... including the one born in 1928. She did a lot better than I did. Of course, she does yoga and has perfect posture, and is a gorgeous clotheshorse, too, whereas I am a saftig couch potato.

So did the lady who did the walk in labor because she wanted it to go faster. When her contractions got to 4 minutes apart in the final half mile, she called an ambulance.

Sheesh. Talk about belittling a contribution. :)

We've been going to the gym, as you all know by now. It's a religion. It works like a religion; everyone you know there pumps your hand and grins in your face, celebrating your mutual suffering, just as they would if you were in church together. You meet with concerned disapproval if you miss it. You are doing something that everyone universally thinks is Good For You and it has a social dimension.

For some people, that social dimension is more social than for others. I'm talking about the people for whom the gym is an opportunity for flirting, for sweating together and showing off their flesh, for grunting and grimacing "involuntarily."

Any woman can tell you that the men in her life have a romantic notion of the ladies' locker room, in which girls are all over the place naked, applying lip gloss, and talking about boys. Any woman can also tell you that every time she's ever been in a locker room, it has not been like that. My gut feeling is that we shower at the gym less often than guys; when we do, we are businesslike, barely sociable, avoiding eye contact, rarely talking, covering up as soon as possible, protecting our modesty and the other women's privacy. Sort of a shame. Guys' image is so much more interesting.

Evidently, guys get this idea from the men's locker rooms. Pat and Robert complain about the "forest of weiners" and the "chatty naked guys" that clutter their path in the locker room. I can't help but imagine them (not the hubs and bro, the golden, long-limbed, oiled and godlike strangers of course) snapping each other with towels, sizing each other up, and thinking about making a date. Call me romantic. Anyway...

In every community, there's a few people who strut around flirting with one another and talking (conspicuously and loudly) a big game about their sexual identity. I can identify the men who do this almost immediately on sight; something they throw off in their cues is a red flag for me. No girls allowed.

Pat can't. The other day -- oh, I'll be honest, a couple weeks ago -- he was annoyed to find a bunch of men talking about their "girlfriends" (pronoun: "he") and their proclivities with some teenage members of their clique in the locker room. Naked. Wet. Fiddling with towels. Que romantique! The female brain (well, mine anyway) swoons. He hadn't noticed that they were strutting and preening for one another in the gym beforehand. He was shocked that I described their clique exactly when he had mentioned their conversation.

In the back of my head since that moment, there's been a gang... like the ones you find in roleplaying games and action films, e.g. immature pop culture built on romantic notions... called the Gym Dandies. And now it's in yours. This is my gift to you.

No comments: