Judging from how many long, unnecessary stares I get at my gym, people are there for one reason and one reason only: fitness. Hahahah no. People watching. And as annoyed as I get when I can tell that somebody is, let’s be honest, mentally re-dressing me in more clothing with their eyes, I probably do it too. It’s only natural. You are in a room with dozens of other people, or, if I go by smell alone, HUNDREDS of unwashed people. Nobody is really paying too much attention to how they look, because they’re focused on the task at hand. You’re watching humans in their unnatural habitat. It’s like putting land lions in the sea lion tank at the zoo or something. Just fascinating.
If you are nervous about working out and think that people at your gym will judge you, the answer is probably no. There is a very, very small population that is so ridiculous-looking that, rest assured, nobody will even glance your direction. These people are doing a public service, and in this post, I salute them:
* Uncle Olsen
There’s this guy at my gym who looks like an extra from Little House On The Prairie. What I mean is, he looks like he’s trying to be from the 1800s, but as interpreted as a man from the late 1970s. I’m not calling him Pa Ingalls, because he doesn’t look like Michael Landon, but he looks like he could be a tertiary character. Nellie Olsen’s visiting uncle, maybe. He is about 50-something, tall, lanky, but kind of seems like he’d be handy at welding or whittling, or a-workin’ on the railroad. The primary feature, though? Long, fluffy, glorious mutton-chop sideburns, clearly maintained with as much love and care as his quads and triceps. He probably knows a lot of folk songs.
* Regina Phalange
She grips the arms of the elliptical with fingers spread so far apart that they look like the wingspan of a proud bald eagle. It looks almost dislocated. I probably would never notice this, but she tends to work out near me.
* The Ridiculously Attractive Nerd Couple
I had seen this one couple several times, and I always thought “aww, it’s so cute that those two such nerdy people have found true love. It really gives me hope.” Then, one day the nerdy boy walked by me, and oh my GOD. Nerd boy was attractive. Like really, really good looking, just with glasses, like a girl who falls in love because she was tricked in a teen movie. So I started to wonder how the heck the nerd girl landed him, until she took the elliptical next to me one day. Good Lord. She is the most beautiful lady-nerd I’ve ever seen. I think that, as a couple, they have adopted geek chic as a defense mechanism against a world that will otherwise never leave them alone, because for real, they are one ridiculously attractive nerd couple.
* My Elliptical Nemesis
She was my arch-nemesis in college, except she didn’t know it. Somehow, although my college was the crown jewel of the SUNY system, the gym facilities were paltry. They weren’t free, and there were not a lot of machines. There was a strict time limit on the exercise machines for that reason. But did my nemesis care? No. She would spend like 50, 60 minutes over her welcome on that darn elliptical. My friends and I called her Peter Pan because she was tiny with a no-fuss Mary Martin hairdo, and we theorized that she ate everything in bar, shake or powder form.
* Go Go Gadget Neck
That girl that stands next to you and tries, Inspector Gadget style, to extend her neck so that she can see the numbers on your machine. For real girl, if you are that curious about what I weigh or my heart rate, I will just tell you.