Rash banner    

At The Gym -- Locker Roomies

I work out. My regimen is every other day, first thing in the morning: some initial stretching, followed by 2+ miles on the treadmill, running at 6mph; then some weightlifting, focus: abs and some tricep work on the machines. It was a great relief when they scrapped the radio for Muzak, at my current club; not that the quality of tunes improved, but the commercials and idiot drivetime DJs were eliminated. I've been doing this over a decade now, becoming aware of some archetypes ever-present in any health club.

These are the guys who perform their entire toilet at the gym -- a given is, post-shower, wrapping their towel around, making it into a skirt, then lathering up and shaving before the mirror, like somebody on a TV commercial. I think this type may be conditioned in basic training, or the school locker room, definitely members of that maximum-jock/latent homo percentile -- if you hear the spray of deodorant, you can bet it's one of these guys. A big component of their overly-elaborate post-shower ritual is the shaving at the sink, and you can tell they like it best if they don't have to do this task solo. The name comes from their weird habit of tapping their toothbrush on the sink's rim -- way more time than necessary's spent on this chore, punctuated with frequent spittings and rinses. I think they're 'anal.'
Never seen in the locker room, since they always pass it by, perhaps for reasons of haste or even insecurity, their motivation may be a need to appear so incredibly fit that they don't break a sweat. (Maybe these athletes are common.) The name doesn't come from the British variant on "wanker," but rather from their set of keys, usually with gym ID card attached. Sometimes the keys are just tossed into a corner with the rest of their personnel gear, but many of this type carry their keys 'round and toss 'em onto the floor at each machine.
These travel in groups -- maybe they even work together (a situation I can't imagine -- being so intimate with one's co-workers that y'all exercise together? Disrobing with your supervisor? Talking shop in the shower? Barf!!) They're the bunch in the steam or locker room having a loud conversation, trying to out-asshole each other for anybody's benefit, in that boisterous, oblivious clique-manner -- the other day two of 'em were in the shower having a little contest, who could be more annoying, trying to sing!? Help me. Help me, please.
They're the ones making all that noise out in the weight room -- there may be an overlap between these guys and the shouters in the racquetball courts. The former sound orgiastic; the rest of us wish they'd control themselves, and be quiet. The latter group has a weird tradition: they decorate the outside of their gym bags with their old, used, filthy gloves, hanging like withered, dead trophies from wherever they can attach 'em. Sometimes when I see one who seems rational I consider asking about this, but I'm pretty sure it's hopeless -- the rocketballers live in their own universe.
It's obvious my visits to the gym don't have that social component a lot of the other members are there for; initially that was an attraction but now my goal is a kind of tuned-out Zen state of sweaty meditation.

"But the gym's neutral territory!"
Other sections of this site:
Weblog - Home | Words | Misc | Links | Stats