I returned to the gym yesterday, after a five-month hiatus. While I have been actively doing yoga and dancing I have not exactly been working out over the past five months. I have also been slipping into some very lazy habits, such as taking the elevator in my building all the time and not just when I am wrangling more than two bags of groceries. I live on the fourth floor and while I have managed to justify the gradual slip into daily elevator usage I took the stairs 99% of the time not so long ago. While I have not become fat I have become of little flabbier than I once was and I have found myself getting mildly winded after briskly walking up steep hills or multiple flights of stairs. All completely unacceptable as my top ten goals do not include become a fat, lazy, out of shape, American.
To be honest, I kind of missed my gym too. I missed the homey feel and the employees who can’t answer any question of importance relating to the facility if their lives depended on it, but who never fail to say hello and when they ask, “How are you?” they are ready to listen to even the lengthiest of answers. I missed the little old ladies talking about their cats who are on dialysis and their latest health problems. I didn’t so much miss them sitting buck-naked on the wooden benches in the locker room telling me these stories. I am aware that everything on my body will one day sag; I do not need a daily visual reminder of where I am headed.
While many of my friends had suggested the gym as a great place to meet men when I first joined last year, okay, it was mostly my gay male friends (while I am all for equality there are some very fundamental differences between the gay and straight crowds and where we meet potential mates), this has not turned out to be the case. Let’s take the example of the eighty-something-year-old man who spent much of last winter literally and figuratively trying to tap my ass while his wife tried not to die working out on the elliptical machine just feet away. He started with glancing at my ass, then moved to blatantly staring at it, then one day decided to actually touch it while I was on one of the machines…this happened more than once! I am not opposed to the idea of a sugar daddy, but this was not quite what I had in mind.
Today I met Mr. Ass Tappers rival. I could sense someone watching me and soon found the culprit, a balding, thin, but out of shape, man of indeterminate age sitting by the door. We made eye contact for a brief moment before I quickly turned my gaze back to the television screen attached to the machine I was working out on. A short time later I felt a gaze upon me once again, this time much closer. I glanced away from the television screen to discover this man was now sitting at the weight bench, pathetically trying to do bicep curls with the three pound weights, while staring at me. I started to feel kind of bad for the guy as I got a closer look at him in his ‘80’s style grey sweat suite. I didn’t have too long to feel bad for him because he quickly stepped onto the machine next to me. I guess lifting weights was not his thing. I quickly realized just how horrible this scenario was. This man was Indian, and while I do my best not to stereotype people, he was the stereotypical smelly Indian. I don’t think the word deodorant, let alone the actual product, exist in his world. Just wait…it gets worse than the awful stench emanating from him every time he moved his arms. I soon hear the woman on his left start saying, “Flirt with her! She looks like a nice, healthy girl!” This smelly, out of shape man is at the gym with his mother who is now pushing him to flirt with me, which he attempts to do by giving me the most awkward wink. Through what his mother must think are soundproof ear buds I hear her keep urging him on while he is looking more and more pained trying to workout on a piece of equipment that is clearly too much for his out of shape body. It is at this point that I decide 50 minutes is more than enough cardio for one day. While I am becoming tired of being single I am quite certain that my future husband is not waiting for me at the gym.