We all work out for a myriad of reasons… but I think we all probably share the same underlying trait that ultimately drives us to the gym.
Of course it’s narcissism. You go to the gym because you’re thinking 100% about yourself in that moment. If you can think of a different reason for which anyone would ever work out, I’d love to hear it, because evidently I’m so utterly self-absorbed I can’t fathom any other gym-related motivation.
I also attend yoga on occasion. I’ll be the first to admit I’m a little high-strung for such a practice. Namely, one unfortunate occasion in which a male decided to place his mat right next to mine. It’s fine, there have been plenty of males in yoga classes I’ve attended, and they kept to themselves, and their presence in the class was all well and good. They deserve to attend these fantastic classes as well. I understand that. All good.
I just take exception to THIS fellow, who apparently suffers a weird “breathing” issue. It sounded something like this:
“Unghhhhhhhh! Unghhhhhhh! Unghhhhhhh!”
I kid you not. From the moment he lay down on the mat, to the very end of class, he sounded like he was having a demented orgasm.
Everything in me wanted to sit up and belt out at the top of my lungs, “ARE YOU SERIOUS?! NOBODY BREATHES LIKE THAT! NOBODY!”
Okay okay okay… I’ll tell the truth. I actually wanted to yell many more things than that. Many very colourful things. Very angry things. I was filled with horror and rage and nausea. And irritation. So very, VERY much irritation.
It was not very zen.
It took incredible strength for me to remain quiet.
I was significantly more tense at the end of the yoga class than when it had begun.
Afterward, when the instructor asked me how I had found class, I responded by yelling very mean, judge-y things about the creepy heavy-breather. It was a small studio and he was the only male there on this occasion. I could tell by the kind instructor’s shocked look that she was concerned he may have heard me, and been aware that I was yelling about him with such ferocious disgust.
Getting in a little triangle pose in Cape Town.
All this is really just to say, I’m a little sexist against men in workout situations.
I don’t mean to paint them all with the same brush, mind you. After all, it was my very own brother-in-law who graciously showed me the ropes in the gym when I bought my first membership 13 years ago. (Thanks Colin, you rule.)
And this isn’t to say that I couldn’t use some help and coaching. OF COURSE I need this. BUT, I already know some awesome trainers whom I ask meet me there to keep me in line so I don’t hurt myself more than I already do outside of the gym. I also take classes, and get advice from my fabulous instructors. I’m open to learning… but I’m highly selective in whom I learn from.
It’s also worth noting that I’d never choose to go to an all-female gym. Because… well, this’ll be offensive to men but whatever, here goes! I naturally assume that the majority of the needy chatty males at the gym are lonely pathetic assholes who attack women on sidewalks late at night. And I want to be ready to fight fight FIGHT! This gives me more drive to work out than a friendly, women-only gym would provide for me personally.
So yeah. Those are the thoughts in my head.
Listen, if you’re a male at the gym and you mind your own business, I promise I will not judge you. I’m fine with you being there. In fact, I probably won’t even notice you, because as I stated above, I’m embracing my selfish, narcissistic side when I’m at the gym. And, if I actually do know you, I’ll be polite and normal (to the best of my ability…) But, if I DON’T know you, and you loiter around me, stare at me, or stand weirdly nearby having yelly braggy conversations… I judge. Oh, I judge. (And occasionally yell confrontational things.)
So imagine my surprise and disgust when the following situation occurred the other day:
I was at the gym and had just one weight machine left to use. And then a man tried to give me unsolicited advice.
Now, I realize gym people have some really strong, varied opinions about the best ways to do all kinds of things, workout and diet theory and whatnot. I’ve seen the websites and the things people post about this stuff. And it seems to me that there are some (many) opposing theories. I probably tend to agree more with people who do not espouse the same theories as this guy. That’s all I’m gonna say. But also… all he seems to be at the gym for is to lean on machines near women, harassing them. And you know what? His evident loneliness is NOT my problem. I don’t care.
Then, as I noted above, he tried to give me advice! And it was not a short helpful burst of advice either. Oh no. He was actually trying to get a conversation going with me. He was settling in for the long haul. Everything about his mannerisms communicated to me that this was his plan for the evening — to amble around the gym chatting at great length with every female within sight.
I had not asked for this. I needed to finish my workout and hurry home to Andrew immediately. (Side-note: this is a hazard of Andrew preferring to work out at home — I guess people think my wedding ring is a fake? Argh!)
And then lonely-gym-man proceeded to state that he “knows that all women have low self-esteem.”
HA. Doesn’t he just wish.
Now, for whatever reason, I don’t actually know that many females with low self-esteem. This may be because I gravitate toward strong, self-confident, intelligent women, and this whole low self-esteem thing isn’t on my radar.
Or maybe I DO know a lot of women with low self-esteem, but I’m just a really shitty listener.
Maybe it’s a little of both. Whatever. My rant is about how terrible THIS guy is, not me. (Heh.)
But I’ll tell you, it really grossed me out to hear him blathering about how he “knows” all women have low self-esteem. Like, that’s the narrative in his head. And then he focused on hanging around ME. Ew ew ew ew ew. What a loitering needy creeper.
I solved this problem simply by walking away from him, even as he was talking. I don’t care. I firmly believe there’s a time and a place to be rude and possibly hurt people’s feelings… times/places precisely like THIS.
Kinda funny, I actually posted about this the other day!
Okay, time to wrap up this rant. How did I begin? Oh right, narcissism. Yes. The very best reason to work out. Woo!