I hate working out. I also tend to dislike people in general. What I really hate is having to make small talk at the gym. Some people really enjoy the camaraderie and the social atmosphere of a gym. They get to talk to people, stretch and work their muscles, watch people. Some people use it as a dating service. Some people like feel so good about going to the gym and the subsequent change in their bodies that the gym is a happy place.
This is not how I feel about the gym. In fact, it’s safe to say the gym is a close second to a visit to the dentist in terms of places I like to hang out. However, I must go to this bastion of health, smiles and sweat thanks to a traitorous metabolic system. This does not mean I like it. It means that I find my less unhappy place when I go to the gym by sinking into my own head, not making eye contact and exuding an air of unhealthy misery. I’ve worked very hard to exude just enough wretchedness so as not to be approached by people, to be left alone with my 2-2.5 hours of self-inflicted torture. And it had worked for almost 18 months.
However, my husband, Sparky McSocial, loves the gym. He would work out 2x a day/7days a week if left to his own devices. He talks to people, gives advice, as those with a vast amount of VISABLE musculature are wont to do. He spots for newbies and overall is a pretty nice and very approachable guy. If he stayed in his corner during our joint ventures, this would be okay. I have no problem with his happiness, except in how it affects me. I’m selfish like that.
I have imposed a no PDA at the gym rule to no avail. I have warned him that soft touches and pecks on my head while I’m lifting weights are wrecking my plans. His sweet little public displays of affection counteract my air of misery, connecting his chipper-ness to me thus leaving me wide open for people to approach.
So now, when I walk into the gym, the trainers say hi, random power lifters say hello and ask me how I’m doing, people I’ve never met, never noticed inside my private little hell, stop and chit chat with me. When Markus is around, people chat me up all the time. My anonymity is completely wrecked. My unhappy little bubble popped for chitchat. Great.
Now I have “friends” at the gym. I have the fat friends who are looking for a little oasis of shared misery amid the happy healthy. In my head I tell them to move on, not a friend to my own fat, not going to be one to yours
I have the trainers who smile encouragingly and, thank god, move on. Then there are the talkers, the other people who don’t want to be there and talk your ear off for an hour before you finally say, phew, what a work out, I need a shower.
I have skinny friends who just want to smile and share their perkiness. I think they just want to stand next to me to feel better about themselves (the therapist in my head says this is MY issue. Whatever).
As is the case of Miss TaTas.
Miss TaTas could be the poster child for any gym or Aryan nation. She’s blond, blue eyed, about 5’8”, 123 pounds and a 32D. She’s gorgeous. Her boyfriend is gorgeous. She wears nice matching workout clothes that expose a firm tan belly and nicely nipped waist. She is my antithesis.
The first time I saw her in the locker room I celebrated as her nice firm breasts were fake, a recent purchase at that. I took comfort in while my breasts may sag, they were natural. Isn’t it funny how we make ourselves feel better in the pettiest of ways?
Anyway, Miss TaTas is American and mentioned to Sparky that she thinks Germans are unfriendly. I have always claimed that Germans are unfriendly (coming from me that says a lot). So Sparky send this perfect vision of womanhood over to my neck of the woods to chitchat with me while I’m sweating to the oldies. I could have killed him.
The worst part is, she seems really sweet. And not that fake you out sweetness that women use when sizing up competition. It was that sweetness accompanied by insecurity. That wretched sweetness that makes you want to be friends with the poor little bird.
So after a few minutes of talking, I claimed my workout was over and headed to the locker room. 20 minutes later she walks in while I’m blow-drying. We smile and go about our business. A few minutes later I’m thinking about how she ended up in Germany. I’m thinking about how lost she seemed and how it must been hard and did her boyfriend suggest the boob job. Shall I invite her out for coffee? Maybe she needs a girlfriend and I can relate.
Then she got on the scale, in a matching pink bra and thong set, after a short Asian woman and knocked the big black weight back two notches.
I can’t relate that much.