pump it up

during the school year, i hit the community center gym roughly at 9:15. it’s a great time to be at the smelly cheap wonderful facility, as the pre-work exercisers are on their way and the only ones left are:

1) the senior citizens, who play some weird, cultish game that is a cross between tennis and badminton (and they’re out for blood, man. seriously.);

2) the stay-at-home moms, including the new moms who do stroller stride around the track, desperately wishing for post-birth fat removal;

3) the junior high kids at their PE class — the community center gym is their gym, so you see four or five track stars running gym teacher mandated laps, followed by the herd, followed by four or five kids who you just know are already heavy smokers;

4) the one token woman who shows up in the weight room and who looks like a tough prizefighter; and

5) the fire fighters, who, during their non-call moments, are bulking it up in the weight room.

there are a few other regulars, mostly men who i wonder about. unemployed? shift workers? serial killers? who knows. one approached me when i was new and wanted to help me work out, but i casually flashed my wedding ring and tried to pawn him off on another lady. i rarely wear my rings, as i lift weights, so that was my lucky, albeit inexperienced, day.

but it is a known experience.

this week, i have to get to the gym after 1 pm, as that’s when i am childless for a few hours. i like to work out before i hit the supermarket; working out keeps the world safe from ring-dings. so i hit the gym, precisely at 1:00. it is summer now, so there are no PE kids to dodge. and apparently, at 1:00, the seniors must be having their naps. the new moms aren’t there, either — it’s prime baby napping time, too. and no firefighters to speak of. (sigh.) even ms. prizefighter is gone.

this left me with several men, some older, some younger, in the weight room. the only girl. i brought my new weightlifting bible with me, set it down on an unused bench, and started my routine. as i picked up my barbell and started lifting, i saw an older lifter looking at me. looking angrily at me. a look that said: what the fuck is a GIRL doing here? he glared at me pretty much for the entire 40 minutes i was in the room. i just focused on my workout. i mean, maybe he was just having a crappy day? or maybe he was constipated? i dunno.

i walked over to pull on some other weights. i noticed a younger guy looking at the bench where my book was laying. shoot, have i broken some gym etiquette, i wondered. i walked over and apologized. no, he replied with a smile, i was actually just looking at your book. well, the cover with the picture of the hot chick, anyway.

i started to do some step ups on a box that was covered in astroturf. these things kill me, but i feel better in the end after doing them. in the gym mirror, i noticed another one of the younger guys, just staring at my wisconsin-sized ass from behind. was he admiring my form? was he pissed that i was taking up space in the tiny room? was there a rip in my capris? i’ll never know. i was a little creeped out, but i just kept on.

finally, i had to get a ball and do these weird-ass jackknife things. an older man somewhere in the 50-60 range, hair parted and maybe bob dobb‘s dad, walked right up to me. what the hell are you doin’? he asked, snottily.

by this point, i had pretty much had it with the men. i can understand why some women join wimpy-ass places like Curves, but when i did a trial week there, it didn’t do anything but aggravate the shit out of me and waste my time.

i got up and looked him in the eye. it’s called a prone jackknife.

he looked at me. what the hell are you doing that for?

to get stronger, i replied. i’ll show you how to do them, then why don’t you try a few?

hell, no, he replied.

then, he left me the hell alone.

no one, but no one, is kicking darla out of the he-man woman hater’s club.

13 Responses to “pump it up”

  1. WTF? He actually spoke to you like that??? What a buffoon! He better get used to you being there.

  2. I hate those Curves places, and I hate the gym. Can’t stand people staring at my fat ass or prancing around in too-tight shirts and shorts. I sure wish there was a happy medium. Until then, give ’em hell, Harriet!

  3. there’s a serious biz oppty there, alto.

    and yes, TP. he did. and he’d better 😉

  4. Holy guacamole! Ah, so that’s what summoned the inner beeyotch (well, that and everything else). MAN, I’m not sure how I would have handled the situation. But, it definitely would motivate me to go back everyday at the same time just to show Mr. Crankypants you mean business and he can step the f*ck off. argh. (my inner beeyotch say hi!)

  5. Cranky old guy, you just missed out on a grand opportunity to improve your workout. I applaud that you reached out to him, rather than handed back his venom.

    Gyms are really odd places; I’ve seen some of the strangest behavior at gyms. I wonder what it is about them that makes people think they’ve got the right to get all bizarre (singing loudly with headphones, grunting like a gorilla, etc.)? I still like going, and to the co-ed ones, too. The only reason I might consider Curves is if they had strength training equipment that was made for people closer to 5’4″ (I’m 5’1″) and/or if they had some kind of step aerobics for dancers, y’kno, with extra choreography, high-impact, with booming club music or maybe a DJ.

    Ah, I dream.

  6. UGH. What jerks. Good for you for not being scared away or, alternately, punching them in the neck.

  7. Yikes!

    I believe that weird game that the senior citizens play is called pickle ball-my mom loves it, but it seems a little lame. We’ll see how I feel about it in twenty years.

  8. Just passin' thru Says:

    What a crank.
    Did it ever dawn on you that when you walk into a room full of the opposite sex, THEY will not change their habits/language to accommodate how you want to view the world? That if you want to feel comfortable, you are obligation to alter your perception.
    Staring?…..it’s called focusing – pick a spot to stare at and concentrate, I believe even girls do that. But instead of staring at something boring or ugly, guys tend to gravitate towards the most attractive thing in the room – huh….wonder who taught us to do that?
    This all reminds me of race car driver Danica Patrick – she wants to ruff it up with the boys, even pick a fight or two. But then gets all upset when the drivers bad mouth her attitude instead of handling it face to face. Normal “male venting” would be the mono-a-mono that Danica seems to want….but most guys are smart enough to know how well would that go over on National TV, a race track or even a gym. We all learned that in kindergarten; men & woman are not created equal and can’t be treated the same.

  9. oh, it has occurred to me plenty in my life and from an early age. while i’m not a chip-on-my-shoulder kind of chick, women have had to walk into male-dominated situations and have had to deal with all sorts of bullshit.

    fortunately, most of the men i have encountered are not neanderthals. i don’t ask for special treatment; i just ask to be treated just as they treat each other. none of them were staring at any of the other men. none of them were even commenting on any aspect of their routines. and none of them were acting like assholes to each other, challenging their right to be in the effing room. which, btw, is a county center and which, as i am a paid-up center member, i have every right to be in, as long as i follow the rules. which i do.

    i didn’t ask for anyone to interact with me. i am not there to make inane chit-chat. i am there to help myself get healthier and stronger. why is it that it’s ok for any of the men there to mess with me when they wouldn’t dare mess with each other? because i’m a girl? i’m a prettier target? i don’t think so. how would they feel if someone was treating their sister/wife/mother/daughter like that?

    men and women ARE equal. they are different physiologically, and i won’t even debate that. but in terms of the way they should be treated under the law and in regular daily life, they are equal. and i don’t know about you, but i still try hard to treat other people the way i would want to be treated myself. i fail plenty, to be sure, but not in such obvious and obnoxious ways.

  10. Just passin' thru Says:

    “none of them were staring at any of the other men”
    Staring at another guy is just gay. Not staring at a girl showing off her body is also gay.

    “none of them were even commenting on any aspect of their routines”
    I try to be a gentleman and help people out when I see something wrong, but I get flustered when I have to talk to pretty women. Most are just mean. But that’s just me. I’m sure there is no one else in the world like that.

    Use to be you could occasionally let loose a fart or belch (love the onions) at the gym and no one would raise an eyebrow. Not now. Gots to be on your best behavior or ‘someone’ will give you the evil eye. Why is it the woman who always make a federal case out of the smallest things? If someone comes over and intentionally dropped a weight on your foot…that might be something to consider getting upset about.

    Minor observation – Generally, the more a person has to do to occupy their time, the less they worry about little, insignificant things. But, for example, if one were to spend an hour a day putting on and taking off makeup, everyday. One will always be paying attention to everyone who ever glances (or doesn’t) at them to judge how well that hour per day commitment is paying off for them.

  11. Keep on movin’, Just Passin’ Thru. You can fart on your own time, on your own dime at home. Or in the locker room, or better yet, in the crapper. Most people try to behave a little bit better when out in public. It’s called Fear of Public Humiliation/Social Graces.

    Wreke, I’m pleasantly surprised by your gymratness. Good on you! Wish I were more physical. I think I’m one of those weenies who needs a workout partner to motivate my widening butt.

    Although…firefighters. Yum. Hmmmm….

  12. Oooh! I love lifting weights. And I can’t wait to see your T2 arms (that being my own personal dream). Nobody really talks to anyone else at my gym. And they only stared at me when I was 9 months pregnant and the size of several houses…but it was in a supportive way!

  13. […] hurting you (in which case, involve the counselors.) etc. the same self-talk i did when those men weren’t too happy about my presence in the weight room. she was still a little nervous about going […]

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