If you find yourself in a room full of people wearing very little, grunting, moaning and sweating profusely, either pray you’re in a gym, or be prepared to throw your keys in a bowl and use protection. Apart from a swingers’ club – or the vinyl floors and walls of a very ‘open’ couples’ bedroom – there are very few places as rawly and fleshy as the floor of gym.
Over the past week or two, my gym has become increasingly popular. While I could put this down to my attendance attracting people, that would be just plain wrong. It’s just a small little place, out in the ‘burbs, nestled between apartments, a drive-thru coffee joint and a fast food store. The irony is not lost on me. I go there at night, usually after ten, and usually after everyone else has gone home to bed – perhaps to get sweaty in another way.
But lately there are more people there. Like lots more. What are these people doing at the gym at ten o’clock at night? (And, incidentally, what’s that guy doing wearing a sun-visor in a gym at ten o’clock at night?). Don’t they get that this is my space, my time and I don’t particularly want to share with them?
I’ve always been cool with sharing. I played marbles as a kid and managed to share my tom thumbs and snake eyes with Dean and Eddy and Daniel and Mark – my playground buddies. I’ve lived in a share house. I’ve bought shares. I’ve even listened to Cher. But sharing at the gym… well, that’s different.
When you go to a hotel, you expect that the couple in the room before you had likely used the king-sized bed as their workbench for however long they occupied the room. Likewise the shower, possibly the bathroom vanity, the bedside table, the lounge chair in the corner, the desk with the internet port and, potentially the window sill. You also expect that housekeeping has come along and changed the sheets, wiped down all these surfaces and provided fresh flowers to disguise the smell. Don’t you?
In a gym – while it is hoped people only secrete sweat from their pores, not other fluids from other oriffices – it comes (if you’ll pardon the pun) about as close to a B&D dungeon as a public space can become. So what do people do to mop up their mess once they’ve splashed all over the place? Wipe it with a towel. WTF? You want me to trust that a quick wipe of a bench with your (stinky looking) towel is enough to make me feel comfortable about going to lie in your wet spot? Forget it. No, not even if you’re the hot chick with the butt expertly squeezed in to the virtually see-thru yoga pants. Although…
I am kidding. I think.
I live less than two minutes from my gym. I finish my cool down, pick up my stuff and head straight home to the shower. I haven’t even set foot in the shower at the gym. It looks clean in there, but for showers – just like humans – if you spend a lot of time with a lot of different naked people… you’re likely to be carrying some kind of bug.
Anyway, the only athelete’s foot I want to play tootsies with is one at the very end of a long, tanned leg belonging to a brazilian beach volleyballer.