Boy, do I have some Tales to Tell...
It occurs to me that I may be wearing some of the most revealing clothing known to man. For those of you who have never seen me teach class, I tend to wear some really tight clothing. Whenever I go to the gym, whether to teach or for a personal workout, I tend to wear a pair of tight spandex shorts that have an inseam of 3-5 inches, a form-fitting sleeveless t-shirt of some sort, and sneakers. Nothing else unless you count the jock strap that I wear underneath said spandex shorts. I feel that I also need to mention that I don't wear those shiny neon-colored spandex shorts of the 80's. Just your everyday run-of-the-mill simple-colored shorts.
Now that I have relieved you of any type of appetite, I need to tell you why I am talking about this. Besides working at the gym, I also work for a local wine store that specializes in New York Wines. Several times, I have caught people staring at me and then, in a burst of realization, scream out "Oh my god, you're the short shorts guy from the gym!" My friend Scott was talking to his friend Lan about taking his friend Tim's class. Lan's response was "Oh yeah, the short shorts guy." I tend to get a few too many stares (not always postive ones) as I work out at the gym. The other day, I was answering a question for a very nice gentleman who works out at the same time I tend to, when I noticed that he was not looking me in the eye... at least, not the one on my face.
I like to say that I wear what I wear during class for functional reasons. I believe that in order for students to understand the exercise, they must see the instructors limbs and muscles (if possible) perform the action. So, to help illustrate and demonstrate an exercise, I need to wear this type of clothing. Okay, so it ellicits stares of horror at times from the straight men who are at the gym. So what, get over it... Okay, it also ellicits stares from the straight women, the gay men, and the staff. My point is I have to wear this clothing in order to be the best instructor that I can be. I cannot be effective as an instructor if I cannot demonstrate the exercises correctly.
So, to sum it all up... I like what I wear and I think I look fabulous. Later.
I'm about to get into a discussion I should probably avoid - especially since I am guilty of it myself. Why doesn't anyone at the gym smile? Do we all really think that having that I-don't-even-know-that-you-are-in-front-of-me look is flattering? Okay, I am guilty of it too. I tend to work out on the same days at the same time with the same people around. As a matter of fact, I actually time my workouts based on who is still on the gym floor. If a certain older gentleman has arrived to work out, then I am running late.
Anyway, back to the subject of not smiling. It occurred to me today that as a population in general, gym-goers never smile. I am even going to say that the more in-shape the person is, the more they are prone to that introspective/bored/"I'm gonna fuck you up!"-look on their face. I started to think about this when a someone pointed out an excrutiatingly attractive gentleman and said "He would be even more attractive if he smiled." Yet, in the 30 minutes I "stalked" him, he never once smiled. He made eye contact with several others and twice with me BUT no smile. Okay, I myself did not once smile at him but we are not talking about me. Well, maybe we are?
Why has it been the norm not to smile and acknowledge someone in the gym? Or anywhere else for that matter? Are we so paranoid that if we smile at someone, they will think we are some kind of strange deranged psychotic killer that is plotting their painful demise? Is it considered rude to smile at someone because that would mean we are invading their inner sanctum without being invited? Is a smile always some form of flirtation hence most people try to avoid it for fear of being rejected? Isn't smiling at somebody just about trying to acknowledge their presence and nothing else?
And if we do return a smile, what does it really mean? Is it an invitation to talk and chat about one's day? Is it a sign of one's interest in another, romantically or not? Is returning a smile just really a returned acknowledgment? If that cute guy smiles at me, does it mean he wants me BAD??!!!?!?!? Is a smile really just a smile?
Okay, maybe I need to just start smiling. Maybe I just need to smile and acknowledge anyone I make eye contact with. Especially the ones that I see on a semi-regular basis at the gym - like that short blond-highlights guy who works out at the same time I do. Or the bullish woman who lifts weights every Saturday morning as I head toward the group exercise studio. It won't be easy to break my habit of keeping a stoic face but I am willing to give it a try. If you see me in the gym, smile! Hell, smile at me as much as you want. I'll smile back. Later.
Today was a weird day. It was one of those days that most instructors dread. I was feeling particularly tired and under-the-weather. A combination of working extra hours at my other job, going out with old friends, teaching classes, working out, and attending a couple of parties, has basically worn my body out. I was truly not in the mood or physical state to teach any classes. But because I had not really put any effort into looking for a substitute for my classes, I had to go. I have been having respiratory problems and stomach issues due to the change in weather; basically, this is how my allergies manifest themselves. Nonetheless, I showed up to teach class and had a damn good time. Sometimes, I wonder how we instructors do it - where do we find the muster to keep going? And NO, it's not drugs.
Something else happened at the gym today. Why do people insist on having loud conversations on their cell phones while in the lockerroom? I find it very intrusive and rude. Do I really need to hear this person chat LOUDLY about what they did over the weekend and what their schedule & agenda is for the next couple of days? I think NOT! Said gentleman was quite descriptive of his life over the cell phone. Have we become a society so afraid to be alone that we must use technology to keep in touch even when it would be more appropriate not to? What ever happened to modesty? Not that we should be ashamed of what we do in our lives. We should always stand up for what we believe in but there are things that just need to be discussed in the privacy and sanctity of your "home".
I often wonder if chatting on your cell phone in a public place is really about urgent business or more about seeming like you have urgent business hence are important. I have never owned a cell. I do enjoy using a friends when an appropriate time occurs. For example, when I have to find out when movie times are and someone I am going with has a cell and allows me to use it. I also understand the need for one during an emergency - like a flat tire on Highway 101. I don't understand the loud chatting during your stroll to your subway stop. Is it really that important to be on the phone while browsing through the grocery store? And if it were that important, wouldn't you be somewhere else?
The gym is a particulary interesting place for using a cell phone. I have always thought of the gym as a place to concentrate on one's self. I find the gym a great place to do nothing but be concerned about nothing but myself; a chance for me to do something worthwhile for me. I have often informed my students to leave their life at the door and concentrate on themselves for the next hour or so. Why do some people need to keep in touch with the outside world in a situation that obviously is sought out for it's isolation? A place where you have to do nothing but concentrate on improving your individual health?
I say that we start staring at these cell phone abusers until they get off their cell and high-horse of self-importance and shut the fuck up about their lives. That way they will realize how stupid they look. Maybe I am being mean, maybe I am being picky, maybe I am just in the minority, maybe just maybe. Later.
Hooweeeee!!!! Summer is approaching and the gym is PACKED. A lot of people have returned after realizing that they can no longer hide underneath that loose sweatshirt. The prospect of having to put something fitting on has sent the masses back to the treadmills and fitness classes.
Somewhere in these masses are a small, almost miniscule, set of cute boys that end up coming to class. Mostly, they are young men who are genetically blessed. You know, the type who take one look at a dumbbell and start gaining lean muscle mass. (God - I hate these boys! Must they be so cute as well?) So, I have been getting these very attractive young men in my class that have made it difficult for me to concentrate on teaching. Not that I don't end up teaching class, which I do since I am a professional, but it does distract me because I end up staring at these young beautiful things. AAAGGGHHHH! The torture I have to endure. Anyway, to avoid being obvious, I tend to walk around the class correcting form (which I always do) and just so discreetly make my way toward said cute person to get a good look at his "form". I know what you are saying but, HONEY, these are just the perks of teaching class. Later.