It had been years since I stepped inside a gym. I was the proud new owner of a gym membership, thanks to my big mouth declaring my New Years resolution of shedding twenty pounds. Day one, I lifted a little weight gyrated on some sort of electric monkey bars and rode around a bicycle that went nowhere. After this awesome display of athleticism, I strutted into the locker room to cool down and shower up. As I sat there on the bench, proud and sweaty, I became surrounded by my fellow gym members in various stages of disrobing. It was an awkward moment because I don't how to act in front of naked people besides my wife. I don't want to be caught looking at something I shouldn't be looking at. Whether it shyness, same or guilt, who knows why, sounds like something for Dr. Phil to dissect.
Once you are inside the theatre of pain, you can quickly size up the patrons into four types of exercise patrons. First on top of the food chain, are the Gods and Goddesses, the Adonis' and Venus'. They are buffed and usually tanned with a hint of orangeness to their skin, and their clothes seem to be undersized in all the right places. There are tattoos of barbed wire around biceps and mysterious scripted messages on the lower backs of the women. They have their own area in front of the workout mirror and large weights where no wimps are allowed.
Second are the socialites, they are there to meet and great and not be unconvienced with sweat and body odor. They bring their cell phones to declare their status on their Facebook page and Twitter account about how many steps they did on the Stair Master. The males in this grouping are always working on their moves at the juice bar and females wear shorty shorts with messages stamped on the backside. Sure they draw attraction and most men stop pumping iron, and other women sneer. I think of them as the gym cheerleaders.
Third, are the average everyday, Joe Smoes. They are there because they are feeling guilty about munching down pizza and swilling some brewskies down at the Chucky Cheese pizza joint. They just want to get through their workout as fast as they can while jamming to tunes in their earphones, mouthing the words and playing air guitar. They get their work outs done, get home, sometimes shower and must always eat something because the guilty feelings they once had are now gone.
The last group is my tribe. We are the leftovers, the newbie's, the guest pass coupon people, the clueless and the lazy. We wear stained sweatpants, cutoff jeans and our work clothes. The guy next to me was wearing Florshiem dress shoes on the treadmill. I saluted him as one of my own. We sometimes cause a scene like when we drop a stack of weights that is extremely violent sounding and then followed by dead silence.
If I work my way up into the Joe Smoes, I will have to get upgraded sweatpants and learn to control my flatulence in the yoga class. Once I put a good solid year into bodybuilding and I can take off my shirt while I mow my front yard, then the socialites will have to accept my charisma. After three years, and I have continued to pay my gym fees, I can start working out in front of the wall mirrors. I will probably not get the tattoos but my pale and hairy skin could sure use a tan and some manscaping.