Tuesday, February 05, 2013
A running theme in my gym stories is the characters I meet at the gym. I meet a lot of them. A lot. From Phil the (incredibly nice) leech to Paul, who trolled me hard, to stinky guy, to guy who sort of questioned whether or not I was a woman? Still not sure on that last one. These stories probably make my gym trips sound more exciting than they are. In reality, they're usually fairly low key. But when I get a gem, I share it with you guys. I'm sharing a few this time around.
One of the things that goes right along with gym characters is gym attire. The outfits people choose to wear to the gym run the gamut, lemme tell ya. If you hit the gym in the bro-ing hour, the predominant fashion choice is, of course, the chest thong. You guys know about the chest thong, right? It's a tank top that looks like a gorilla took a handful of the hem and went for a swing for a while. If your nipples show through the sleeves of your tank top, you are wearing a chest thong. But, if you are muscular, and if you're wearing a chest thong you probably are, it is likely that I do not mind the chest thong. And if you aren't muscular, I'm not a jerk. Do your thing, bro!
You'll also see lots of swishy pants, basketball shorts, and stretchy pants. If I'm there, you'll see a few nerd shirts. I wear geeky pop culture t-shirts just about every day, including to the gym. And more than anything else, you will see yoga pants.
What you do not typically expect to see is a man wearing them.
But that man exists. From here on out, we will call this man..........YogaPantsMan. Maybe YPM for short.
My brother-in-law, Awesome Husband, and I went to the gym together recently and it was busy. So we warmed up for a while and I noticed a very talkative and social chap chatting up a few other gym-goers near the mats. I always sort of love the gym socialites. They make me feel like they really ENJOY being at the gym. This man was wearing yoga pants, a longish t-shirt, and had blond hair on the longer side which he constantly flipped around. It wasn't long long. Just below his ears. But he loved to toss it around. I liked him already. I could tell he was a gym character.
Mostly because of the yoga pants.
Let me clarify, I love yoga pants. I would wear them all the time if I could. They're flattering. They make my bum look great. One just does not typically find such a form-fitting garment on a gentleman. But power to him. His bum was pretty flattered in them. Not that I was checking out his bum or anything. I mean, okay I did, but he was in yoga pants!! Sort of hard to ignore. I'm not constantly checking people out at the gym or anything.
The three of us went on with our workout and I headed over to the free weights with the big boys. Awesome Husband sometimes tells me that when he looks over and sees me with all the boys, sitting on a bench, he gets a good chuckle out of it. It took me a little while to get to that point. I'd look over and see all the muscular men benching with 85lb dumbbells and it intimidated me. But all it took was stepping up to a bench and claiming my space. I do not run away.
That's a lie. I did one time.
Speaking of gym characters, there is one I have yet to tell you about and now is the time. He's tall. He's strong. He's muscular and lean. He has an absolutely fantastic bum. He's a little dusky, Mediterranean maybe. Dark hair. You guys, he is really really pretty. Sometimes he wears Hulkamania t-shirts. We call him Hulkamania. By "we", I mean Awesome Husband and I. He knows of my gym crush. We are not a jealous couple. Awesome Husband thinks it's pretty funny. If he sees Hulkamania working out, he'll try to make eye contact with me and then give me this knowing smirk so that I blush a little. Jerk. So one time, I was working out a bench and Hulkamania came over and started working out next to me and he is so pretty and muscular and I got way embarrassed by his prettiness and I had to put my weights away and run away because you guys, HIS HOTNESS TOTES INTIMIDATED ME!
Ahem. Anyways. Back to YPM.
So I was sitting on the bench, doing curls or whatever I was doing, and my brother-in-law came up behind me to chat me up while he waited for AH to finish a set. In the mirror, I see YPM approach and pull my bro-in-law aside to ask for help. He's using the lat pulldown and he wants help pulling the bar down so he can get his legs under the padded bumpers. I'm not sure what YPM was doing exactly. Negatives maybe? Because he was pulling down pretty much the entire stack but only with help. And I think maybe he expected my bro-in-law to stick around to keep helping him pull the bar down. But BiL did not so out of my periph all I could see was YPM sort of flying through the air as he tried to return the bar to starting position. It was great.
I left the benches and went back over to the mats to do ab work. YPM arrived shortly thereafter and started doing ten million crunches of some sort. They were very fast. After the ten million weird crunches, he got up and started stretching. You guys, this man was LIMBER. Not just limber. Dancer flexible. In fact, I'm pretty certain he's either a dancer or a martial artist. Full splits. Chest on the floor. Amazing.
So I'm laying on a mat, dying a little between sets of jackknifes, and open my eyes and YPM is standing next to me looking down at me. And then says this:
YPM: "Do you have any asian in you?"
I'm not sure if you can really imagine how surreal this was. And uncomfortable. Having someone speak to you while you're flat on your back and they're standing over you is off-putting.
Me: "No, no I don't."
YPM: "Your eyes would just sort of........lead one to that conclusion."
Me: "Thank you! But no, I don't."
He saunters off to go do more flying through the air negatives or something and I just kind of blink for a while.
I'm not insulted by the question. Far from it! But I have no idea where he got it from. So when he came back, did ten million more weird crunches and stretches and then said:
YPM: "So you really have no asian in you at all?"
Me: "Nope! French and Italian!"
I tried to clarify for him.
After he walked away again, I just kind of chuckled for a while. And then I shared the exchange with Awesome Husband and Bro-in-Law. They chuckled too.
But let me just throw this out here real quick. When I share these gym stories, I am absolutely NOT trying to make fun of or judge anyone. When I chuckle about my gym stories and talk about people's weirdness. I need you to know it's because I LOVE gym weirdness. I love people's oddities and idiosyncrasies. It's what makes life so interesting!
Which is why last night I was ready to go to war.
I think I've mentioned before that I love my gym. And I love the people in it. Usually I'm very proud of everyone there. Gyms, especially big muscle gyms like mine, aren't always known for being warm or inviting. But I don't often see things that make me see red. Sometimes I do though. Like last night.
Last night, Awesome Husband and I were deadlifting together and YPM was there. I got excited. I hadn't seen him since the above story happened. He was doing the same sequence he did the last time. Weird crunches. Stretching. Weird crunches. Stretching. But as AH and I set up our bar, I noticed that three rather large muscular tattooed chaps on the leg press were staring in our direction and laughing. At first I thought maybe they were laughing at AH and I because we were warming up on rather light weights. Then I realized they were laughing at YPM. Openly. And staring. There is no way he did not notice. In fact, he only stuck around for a little while after that.
That business is small-minded and MEAN. YPM is a fit guy. He is flexible in a way that five years of dance class never got me. And he ROCKS those yoga pants. So I stood there for a while and stared at those bros.
Stared, you guys.
I have been told that my death glare is scary. I believe it. Because I back that glare with all sorts of righteous indignation.
Afterwards, I told Awesome Husband that I stared them down and he laughingly said, "You're gonna get me beat to a pulp."
Honestly, it never occurred to me that my staring would lead them to attack anyone but me. I'm not looking for anyone else to fight my battles. And you better believe I was READY to back up that stare with words.
Unfortunately, I can't be sure any of them even noticed. They were too wrapped up in their own testosterone-fueled insecurity-based jibes. Let that word choice sink in for a minute. I'm proud of it.
And I guess from the outside view, my stories could seem like picking, too. And I've definitely watched people do their workouts and sort of chuckled to myself. But the last thing I would ever ever want is for my own enjoyment of oddities to make someone feel like they couldn't be at home at the gym.
So you do your thing, YPM. I'll be over at the squat rack surreptitiously staring at Hulkamania. But if you need a fighter in your corner, I am so there.