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.
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.
- 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
"But the gym's neutral territory!"