I recently joined a gym for the first time in my life. I love it. It’s (almost) the best thing that ever happened to me. It’s a small town gym: no pool, no track, but plenty of weights and several fun and challenging classes. And child care, booya! I was impressed at the overall cleanliness of the place. I had expected it to smell like feet or B.O. but it doesn’t. There are interesting things that I was not prepared for, however, that I’m sure are common to all gyms. One of them, is the fact that whenever I do any kind of toning or weights, The very next day I realize that I use muscles on a daily basis that I didn’t even know I had. Muscles I wasn’t aware that I was even working at the time. The next day I’m stirring a small pot of tomato soup and my abs hurt in places I didn’t know there was ab and the front of my hips hurt. There are muscles there?! I just thought it was fat over bone.
One interesting factor of gym culture is that everyone’s personal bubble gets very small. I’m not talking about locker room towel snapping or booty slapping (that’s boy stuff). I’m referring to the fact that whenever people talk to each other, the music is so loud that you have to lean in real close to hear them. And you can’t just put your ear next to their mouth because you still can’t hear them, so in addition to leaning in close you have to face them so that you can read their lips, so now it looks like you’re about to kiss.
In addition to there being very little personal boundaries at the gym, there is also precious little privacy, decorum, or propriety. First there is the “almost kiss”, but then there is the “Booty Shake.” If you’ve ever taken Zumba or any other type of dance class at a gym, you probably know what I am talking about. The “Booty Shake” is performed by rapidly shaking your hips from side to side which causes any and all fat attached to your butt/hip/ab area ( in addition to your boobs) to agitate back and forth like clothes in a washing machine until the whole area goes numb and feels as though it was about to fall off (which unfortunately it does not). This is extremely embarrassing for those of us who have not only an adequate bosom, but a fairly large midsection as well. And though I hate to admit it, it is kind of fun.
This brings me to interesting point number four, and that is people’s smells. So far I haven’t smelled any B.O. except for my own (which is plentiful, let me assure you) but occasionally I will get a whiff of someone’s lotion, perfume, or fabric softener. I am jealous that these people manage to smell so good while working out. But there is another smell that I have encountered at the gym. Pickles. That’s right: Pickles, of all things. I assume it was a certain person’s lotion or perfume because I smelled it as soon as she walked into the dance studio and again every time she walked by. Either that or she spilled pickle juice all over herself. And it wasn’t an “ooo ymmy, I feel like eating a pickle,” type of smell. It was more like a, “what is that smell…oh gross, I think it’s pickles.! Stale, moldy, pickles. or pickled…SOMETHING.” And I’ll tell you one thing. If there’s one thing I don’t want to smell while I’m shaking my booty, it’s pickles.
While on the subject of smells, I must say that while working out at home, I often have bodily gasses excreted from my orifices. This happens when one bounces around (or booty shakes). Burping and farting is a natural part of exercise. The problem is, that in the close quarters of a dance studio during an aerobic class, everyone can smell your fart. Even across the room. And when you are doing 100 jumping jacks in a row, not only can you barely control your bladder, but you definitely can not control your gastrointestinal emanations. The good news is that most likely no one knows who it was, and since they are probably burping and farting too, so they might even think it is them.
All in all I love the gym. But when I go and work those muscles I didn’t know I had, and do my booty shaking, I will definitely make an effort not to fart (there is still a possibility that they will know it’s me) and not to smell like vegetables soaked in vinegar and brine. And I hope other people will do the same.