Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom

You’d think there would be stark differences between gym goers in Santa Barbara versus Washington. While it is true that the ratio of pasty to golden hued skin is noticeably different, the only other thing I notice is the significantly smaller group of women who sport the unnatural proportion of a 10 year old boy’s sized hips to chests which, by comparison, makes mine look modest. I’ve never figured out how these gals don’t tip over throughout the ordinary course of their day, nor why they (and their inevitable male companions) consider this artificial proportion so titillating.

Even more puzzling to me is the fact that, as my luck would have it, the rare instances that men choose to approach me are at the gym–when I am huffing and puffing, sweaty and unsmiling, getting by through sheer force of will to finish this one last set. Why this is the time that they choose to comment, “Looking good!” Or offer to show me a more efficient way to stress my triceps, explaining that they only bother to show others who are “hard at it” mystifies me. In fact, to make my point more clearly, I will cite the example of a few Saturday’s ago when I was making my way through my routine and a woman hurt her ankle during Zumba class. Sitting on the bench, I watched as paramedics wheeled their gurney down the hall coming towards me. The uniformed officer raised his eyebrows and said, “You?” I shook my head and pointed to the group around the corner. “Oh,” he explained, “you looked like you were in pain.” Ooof! Truthfully, the paramedic’s assessment makes more sense to me than the positive ones of other dedicated gym rats who feel compelled to comment on my efforts.

And then, of course, there are the couples who use the gym as a version of foreplay—usually the man is shorter than the woman and has to spend a good deal of his time grunting while she stands admiringly to the side. While not everyone is like this, those denizens who see their workouts as an extension of their personality never fail to garner the attention they crave—whether we wish to grant it to them or not. Outside of a college cafeteria or maybe a public bus, there aren’t that many places where one has the chance to display his or her feathers before a captive audience.

Which brings me to another irony about this whole mating dance bit. Self proclaimed dating experts and well intentioned friends advise that each time I set forth in the world, I must don a cute outfit, brush my hair, wear the “good” bra, smile, be open to strangers. None of that has worked—not once. Rather, the ticket seems to be to wear body hugging, sweaty spandex, no make up, greasy hair pulled back in a pony tail, and an occasional grunt as I lift the weight making sure to stick my butt out to keep proper form. Really? What does this say about relations between the sexes? Where’s Marlin Perkins to make sense of all this?

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One Response to “Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom”

  1. helenga Says:

    Oh my gosh, this made me laugh! I love the part about the paramedics–you can’t make that stuff up!

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