Tuesday, September 16, 2008

men in their natural habitat

If I told you I am a member of Gold's Gym would you be surprised? I know what you are thinking, Gold's really? Here's the deal, I joined Washington Sports Club when I moved here. At first I was enthusiastic about the fact that not everyone was dressed in matchy spandex outfits complementing their "new boobs" and/or man tanks to show off their newly shaven orange pecs... circa my college gym.

Part of me was so happy not to be surrounded by gym goers who felt the need to wear a full face of make-up and a strategically cut sorority T-shirt in order to look appealing to their steroid raging grunting male counterparts; I tried to ignore the overweight flabulous employees all wearing "personal trainer" tees at my lovely neighborhood Washington Sports Club.

Take a lesson WSC. You can't slap a T-shirt on someone and call them a personal trainer. They have to actually be fit in order to exude some level of confidence and motivate your clients. I knew it was all down hill when one employee remarked to me that its not like in Florida where everyone is showing off their "tight bods" all the time. He is right and wrong about this. Right in that there were always a plethora of people on campus wearing much less than appropriate, wrong in that they all had "tight bods".

So once I moved to the other side of DC, I left the gym choice up to FSU, since he is the one with a "tight bod" and I am the one with an unnatural love for the DVR and a carb addiction. I'll admit my first reaction when he said Gold's Gym was one of disgust. I remember driving by the one in my hometown and all you could see were big shiny men with giant hulking upper bodies and tiny legs wearing weight belts and gloves. yuck.

Surprisingly though this one is much better, and even has a women's only weight room if you're into that sort of thing. It's got so many more options than WSC and better classes and all of that.
BUT. I have noticed over the past few weeks during my study of the male gym species (in between instructions to stop staring from FSU) that this unique habitat produces similar activities and characteristics no matter what state you are in.

For example:
The lift shirt and wipe face while strategically flexing abs, the admiring of one's own muscles in the mirror during the slow bicep curl, the wearing of tank tops which cover basically the same amount as a woman's brassiere in order to display your glorious neck muscles and armpits?, the wearing of unnecessary gym paraphernalia such as weight belts, ankle braces, knee covers (which look A LOT like panty-hose) to make it seem like you are really working hard, and my FAVORITE.... the grunt.

The grunt is often used when lifting more weight than one can really handle, or to exhibit superior strength over the rest of the apes, I mean men in the group. The grunt has many forms. Sometimes the grunt is genuine and accompanied by extreme sweating and red faced contortions. Sometimes the grunt takes the form of words such as "bitch get off me" or "fuck these weights". Contrary to popular belief, the grunt and any of the other behaviors exhibited are not limited to men who have large muscles. Tiny intellectual men, flabby balding men, ancient wiry WWII vets, and the ever popular 20-something man who rarely works out but is always always at the gym breathing heavily and talking about protein and Monday night football, checking out the other guys ass, I mean lats.

I have concluded that while most women are not interested in their own reflection while working out and generally want to be invisible while getting maximum results; men are quite the opposite. The whole experience is about their ego, the clanging of the weights, the wall to wall mirrors they can't take their eyes off of, the cut off sleeves, the pacing around between sets, and of course the grunting. There is an unspoken competition going on here; they would never admit it but they are sizing each other up almost as much as they are admiring themselves.

Also, keep in mind when observing the species... when they look in the mirror they see a much more fit and attractive person that you do. While women may cringe, and pick out the physical attributes about themselves they hate the most, men admire their glorious glorious muscles and close to perfection physique while ignoring all of their obvious flaws.

love and bicep curls,

1 comment:

Z said...

hahaha! Love this post - so true, so true...