Firstly, I want to thank all the new followers and readers! I appreciate the support and the shares.
In other news…
There seems to be a direct correlation between the size of a woman’s fake boobs, orange-ness of her tan and the amount of skin she has exposed at the gym and my immediate attitude towards her. Completely petty and shallow? Yes. Then again, I don’t claim to be “mature” and “deep”, so get off your high horse for a second. I promise this will (may) get better.
I work out semi- religiously at LA Fitness. It’s not exactly a prestigious club, but it has everything I need and the cost is excellent. Added bonus- there are three within fifteen minutes of our home. The one where I usually go is in an area that is, ahem, a bit pretentious. The commonly known “East Cobb snobs” nickname isn’t unearned. That’s not to say that all East Cobbians are snobs, but most of them do hold the title with pride. I digress (just trying to give a proper mental picture, yeesh). Since I’m officially a suburbanite stay at home mom, I go to the gym in the late morning- after the little dude has eaten, napped and eaten again, and most (ok, maybe only one or two) of the household chores are done. Apparently, late morning is the prime time for stay at home moms (or trophy wives, it all depends) to get their fitness on. The gym has plenty of us present between the hours of 10 AM and 1 PM. Here’s a nice rundown of the categories into which we fall:
-The mom whose children are clearly much older and self sufficient than mine. She has a giant SUV that costs a year’s salary. Her hair is bleached blonde (of course), brushed and neatly pulled into a ponytail. Her Nike running shoes appear to be brand new, as do her matching Nike running shorts and compression tank top. She is thin, bordering on skinny, tans at a moderately frequent rate, and her name is probably “Buffy” or some equally 1980’s country club name. She intimidates me.
-The mom who probably isn’t a mom at all, but more than likely a trophy wife to a much older, successful business man. She has gigantic, Dolly Parton- esque breast implants that are placed ridiculously close to her chin. She is orange from daily tanning/ spray tanning. She is wearing only a sports bra that barely encases her ridiculous tatas and a pair of micro-shorts to show off whatever she is inclined to show off. Her hair, bleached blonde, is down and styled. She is wearing full makeup. She leg presses 20 lbs. She flirts with every male trainer present on the floor. From a distance she looks 22, up close she looks to be in her late 40s with a belly button jewel. She irritates and intimidates me.
-The mom wearing a “10k for Childhood Diabetes Cure” shirt, which she got last week in the race. Her kids’ ages are unknown. Her arms are viciously toned and tanned from driving her kids everywhere. Her legs are pillars of granite. Her hair is hidden under a ball cap. She bench presses more than I weigh and she’s half my size. Her kids are well behaved, but still acting like children when she picks them up from the gym daycare. They ask if they can go to McDonald’s, she obliges. I admire this woman.
-Me. I am wearing one of Captain Laser Pants’ t-shirts or something of my own that is equally ill-sized and tacky. CLP’s socks. My running shoes have ketchup that mini- Gwinn threw on them (true story). I haven’t brushed my hair in at least two days (another sad, true story). Headphones blaring something aggressive that usually enforces my lack of smile/ hard stare at the gym. I see myself in the mirror doing tricep extensions- I intimidate myself, which makes me smile, because that is funny. I’m not intimidating.
Once in a while a stranger (a woman) will ask me about a certain exercise I’m doing. I’ll take the headphones out of my ears, demonstrate, make a self deprecating joke, smile and move on. On the gym floor, I’m not exactly good at making friends. My music is too loud for me to usually hear, I’m running to each machine or weight between sets, and I’ve seen myself- I look crazy and intense. Usually the women I’m watching (that sounds creepier than it is, I promise), the women I admire, look similar. They’re not at the gym for social hour- they’re there to work. Their time is as limited as mine, and although their health is important to them, they clearly have other places to be. They are usually sweating as much as I am, if not more- they are pushing themselves.
If I’m feeling bold, I say something to them between sets. Something like, “You’re a rock star” or “You’re awesome” is about as creative as I get without sounding creepy. But I mean it. As insecure as I am (especially at the gym), I think it’s important to encourage the women I admire. The trainers aren’t coming over to us to comment on our mad skills (they’re busy with the oompa loompa showing off her cleavage). The other women aren’t exactly complimentary. In a society (and this particular gym) where women are supposed to be “competitive,” when we encourage one another, it’s validating. I’m not saying we all need validation from strangers, but by that same token, it’s not like our kids are thanking us for being strong. And, strangely enough, after I say something to them, I don’t feel intimidated. Instead, I want to go push myself to try a new exercise or to bump weights.
By the time I’ve made it to the nursery to pick up my little guy, I’m usually smiling (dripping with sweat, but still smiling). After a good workout and an effort to be nice, I feel softer and less testosterone-y. It’s usually the days that I go to the gym and work like a man that I feel most feminine. The strength I’ve tested, the intimidation I’ve quelled, and the encouragement I’ve doled out- those are all part of what “being a woman” is all about.
Up next: I have no idea. You should suggest something in the comments! 😀 Seriously.