Biceps & Bigots

I see you lookin’ at me/like I’m some kind of freak The one thing that I really liked about my gym – the very same one I frequent on an almost daily basis, is the fact that the majority of its members are quite often too busy staring at themselves to pay attention to anyone else, i.e. me. It was my place to just disappear into the music and choreography to emerge sweaty, red and victorious without worrying what I look like before, during or after my session. I had left my university gym for this one permanently in 2003 when the stark reality of college life hit me: I just couldn’t stand going into the change room to watch my fellow females put on copious amounts of makeup to work out while I did my best to tame my unwashed-uncombed hair into a ponytail with water and 2 super-strength elastics. Now I understand that not all women are like this: there are plenty out there who just want to get in and get out of the gym, do their thing without being ogled by men and sneered at by other women, but to me it seemed that the aforementioned were few and far between at the university and boy did I ever feel ugly and out of place.

Hence – this gym. An avid loyal customer of 6+ years I had happily gone about my business without the slightest hint of disrespect from my fellow gym-goers. I mean, aren’t we all there for the same reason? Well, maybe not the mirror image exact same reason, but similar reasons nonetheless. Anyway perhaps I was just naïve, or blind until recently, as I’ve noticed and been informed that not all gym-goers keep their eyes or mouths to themselves. Let me tell you ladies and gents – you may think you’re being cleaver in your insults but your body and eyes give you away.

More than once, twice, three times I’ve walked past women who felt so inclined to make a snotty comment. About what, you ask? Just me. I admit I am a fit female, only because I frequent that very same gym at least 4 times a week to do cardio and weights. The only time I can admit to ‘showing off’ is laundry day when all my pants are unfit to work out in and I must wear my bike shorts to a weight lifting class. Ladies, don’t think I am oblivious to your catty eyes and judgmental facial expressions. I see you looking at me with those “ugh what a show-offy bitch” eyes – but as the song goes, why don’t you do something? I only look fit because I am fit; because I work for it. To me it doesn’t make much sense to chastise someone for working hard and achieving their goals. How does that make achieving yours any easier? I mean, will your bitchiness magically erase 10 pounds of heart-hazardous fat from your body and transplant it on to mine? No – I didn’t think so either. So save your stares for those women out there who truly do not have to exercise for 7 hours a week to maintain their ideal weight and figure and let me exercise in peace.

Don’t worry men; I haven’t forgotten about you. I notice you as well just as I’m sure you notice me. Most men at my gym are quite fine. They are too engrossed in their weights or cardio to pay attention to anything else, or they are busy comparing themselves to bigger, stronger or faster men as a motivational tool to in turn make them bigger, stronger or faster. But there are some of you out there who are cursed with verbal diarrhea, or perhaps Tourettes, which makes you so inclined to say whatever pops up in your brain or somewhere else on your ripped and vicious anatomy. I am not going to repeat what I hear you say, but trust me: I hear it. And I don’t like it. My sole intent and purpose for going to the gym is not to provide you with eye-candy entertainment, a walking visual image you can fantasize about – ‘getting her for one night’ or worse. I understand that the aerobics class that resembles a dance-hall atmosphere is entertaining to watch, but I and the rest of the participants are not doing it solely for your pleasure. No – we’re doing it for our pleasure. The pleasure of movement, of music, of knowing that you’re exercising without feeling like you’re exercising. Yes you can watch us, but seriously; stop standing outside of the studio making comments on how well we’d do after the music stops. It’s not funny – it’s insulting.

This won’t stop me from going to the gym. In fact I’m going tonight. But at the same time it still sucks knowing that the place I once thought to be judgment free – if only because the people who’d judge you were too busy judging themselves – turned out to be just like any other place. I know that it’s human nature to judge but c’mon; at the very least we can keep our judgments to ourselves, lest we be judged and overhear it too.

PS: The only thing that has (almost) stopped me from going to the gym is The American. No he hasn’t vanished from my radar just yet. But he is leaving in 3 days…

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~ by Carrie on April 27, 2007.

14 Responses to “Biceps & Bigots”

  1. i hear ya. i just want to get in, do my thang and get the hell out. that’s why i like 530am. sucks getting my booty out of bed but there just seem to be less catty people there then. most times.

  2. Well done. Hoping to avoid judgment and club-like environments I attended (and taught at) a women-only gym for years…but it really wasn’t so much better. Especially when women felt compelled to get on the stair master in their underwear and other oddities…

  3. Very well done … being a guy I have not heard the comments you have to endure and we are not all like those men you describe … I may think like them but I keep it in my head.

  4. One of my pet peeves used to be when women put on make up to go the gym, the beach, or the pool. Who are they kidding? They’re just going to sweat it off anyway!

  5. It’s hard to be gorgeous darling. I’ve suffered with the very same thing my whole life. 😉

  6. Big women are tough on fit women without remembering it takes WORK to look good. Good for you for keeping on despite the rude looks/remarks! 🙂

  7. I salute the fact that you sound quite a secure person about yourself — in and out. I especially admire your loyalty and dedication to working out. I’ve tried it a couple of times, and all those times I’ve come to the conclusion that starving suits me better than exercising haha!

  8. i was going to a mixed-gym and ended up switching to a female-only gym because i couldn’t stand the meat heads and the girls who were hoping to catch their eyes. but it’s almost worse at a female-only gym because women are so harsh with each other and SO judgemental. it makes me not want to go at all. maybe i’ll take up running outdoors this summer!

  9. Yeah, I have to admit, it was the stares and comments that kinda turned me off the gym. I find that if I can go for a run outside and not have to worry which lady is going to compare her ass to mine and then give me stink eye if mines smaller, I’m better for it.

  10. Isn’t gym like high school all over again? Ugh…it’s like you can never escape those hallowed halls. Still, I admire how you deal with it all. And if anything, you can always remember this: You never know exactly how famous you are or how popular you are, until people start talking about you.

  11. They’re everywhere! I went for a canal run yesterday and there were these little mamacitas with full make-up AND ponytails they’d obviously put through the curling iron. Who curls their hair for a JOG? I look god awful at the end: red, sweaty and panting. Good on you for sticking it to them.

  12. Until recently, I didn’t frequent the gym. I only started in earnest a few weeks back. Trust me, that’s the first thing I noticed. How much some of the chics (even the guys) are busy playing with their ipods and cellphones and other gadgets! It bugs me.

    I just go to the gym and do my shit. I’m definitely not the fastest or the strongest — but I do my own thing.

  13. @ brookem – 5:30?? Girl you crazy!! But you’re also right – when I go to my 7:00 am class most people are still asleep or what have you to pay attention to anyone else!

    @ LeiselB – Seriously?? Seriously!! Seriously?!?!

    @ Beth – Especially at the pool!! Who ARE they kidding??

    @ George – I don’t mind if they are thinking it so long as they don’t say it out loud!

    @ Jessica – A haha thanks dahling!

    @ Desiree – Thanks! It’s hard to keep my mouth shut but then again never argue with a fool; soon enough no one will be able to tell the difference!

    @ Princess Banter – It sure takes a lot of work to do – luckily I enjoy the group classes that the gym runs, otherwise I’d be SOL!

    @ brrr… — I KNOW! Women’s only gyms are the WORST!

    @ brandy – I love running outside too, but I won’t let them shoo me out of my own gym!

    @ DT – HI!! It really is like high school all over again, ‘cept I don’t know these women and don’t care anyways… not like I cared in high school either.

    @ anothertwentysomething – Seriously curled hair for a canal jog?? My goodness…

  14. cats, you may have noticed, like to keep their claws honed by scratching everything in sight. women are the same with their tongues. always practicing acid remarks on other women. it’s how they keep in shape. the gym is just a forum for it.

    men need to learn: look with your eyes not your mouth.

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