I have been frequenting the Gym again recently; purely to satisfy my own insecure vanity. I’ve never been too keen on the way my body looks. I’m just flat, like an ironing board with a hairless head and skinny legs. And given that I struggle to put on weight just by eating a lot, I figure my next option is the gym. It’s working too. After two and a half months of going to the gym five nights a week, and ridiculous quantities of protein, I am starting to tone a little. I feel much more active and energised too, which is always a bonus. Ash, being a physio taught me how to do a sit up correctly and most affectively, and what it has so far taught me is that my abdominal muscles are made out of really weak feathers. So that’s a good start.
From a mind like mine, that is always socially aware, and conscious of the absurdity of certain situations, the gym provides me with ample opportunity for bewilderment and amusement. There is no other place on the planet that it is socially acceptable for me to be bent over a bench, with one knee on it, lifting a heavy object, whilst an 80+ year old woman sits next to me, rolling around on a big ball and panting aimlessly. Nor is it considered socially acceptable for a huge man in a ridiculously tight vest to be holding the sweaty body of another man on a pull up bar, grunting incoherently what I can only assume are words of encouragement; whilst a woman with a John McEnroe style sweat band wrapped around her face holds a heavy ball above her head, and lunges around the room with her hands on her hips, swerving in and out of the people around her, who seemingly haven’t noticed how piss-your-pants funny this entire situation actually is.
After a chest and arm workout, I will sit for a minute or two, shamelessly admiring my handiwork in the mirror. I always think that this is good, I am getting bigger; women everywhere will drop around me in uncontrollable, heated astonishment at the epitome of masculinity they see before them, before they weep intolerably when I tell them I’m taken. But then, to shatter my dream, a perfectly toned smiling adonis of a man will stroll past the mirror, like a young Elvis, with perfectly shaped biceps, and i’ll look back at myself and the little man inside my head, will say “that is a real man. You, are a girly man. Go and hide in the corner, girly man.” And then out of nowhere, as if life wasn’t tragic enough at that point, a skinny kid will stroll past the mirror, panting because the 8kg weight he was trying to lift got the better of him on the second rep, and the little man in my head will say “how come there’s two of yo…..oh, it’s not you. It’s another girly man.” (8kg weights don’t get the better of me by the way, i’m up to 15.5kg dumbells. I’m like Arnie; when Arnie was about three years old).
I cannot understand much of what the huge grunting men say to each other. It is just noise. Ramblings of men whose neck muscles are crushing their vocal chords, but have some how devised their own language of grunts and pants that they can all understand perfectly. They touch each others biceps as they workout. It’s like their own special way of greeting each other. Perhaps that’s what men are doing now. Perhaps to be a real man, I need to walk up to men in the street and grab their muscles and say ”uuuugghh” and I will be in the club. That certainly wouldn’t be overtly homoerotic, would it?