Entry: I don't love it when you call my name. Saturday, April 22, 2006

There are certain places that I don't like hearing my name. For instance, during the reading out of chruch obituaries or that bit at weddings where they ask if anyone knows why the lady in the big dress shouldn't marry the guy in the ill fitting suit. Other places include during Neil Diamond and Status Quo songs (but there is not much I can do about them) and when I'm half naked in the gym changing rooms.

According to a survey conducted by Grazia, 98% of women are unhappy with their bodies. Go to my gym and hangout (and most people do literally) in the changing rooms for a bit and you'll soon discover that this these stats don't seem to apply here.

It seems the people with the best bodies walk around cowering behind towels and get dressed while nearly standing in their locker. You can't be seen staring directly at them --it's a gym, not a peep show-- but out of the corner of your eye it's quite funny to watch as they hop around getting changed desperate not to flash even the tiniest bit of tit or muff. It's usually the younger people who go to the gym that do this.

On the other hand, the wobblier members of the place seem to take great pride in wandering round with as little on as possible. No towels, no shame and a real proud swagger when they walk. I think it's great that they can do this, and feel so comfortable with themselves. All I'm asking is that they at least sort out some of their unwanted body hair first or at least try and conceal their caesarian scars.

Anyway, back to the original point of the post. Yesterday, I'd just finished my workout and was getting changed out of my sweat soaked gym stuff. I'm neither a "let it all hang out" type of person or a locker jockey, if that's what you're wondering. I have a very sophisticated system, which I don't feel at liberty to share with anyone here. So there.

Then I heard my name. I froze. I thought it was gym etiquette not to get chatting to anyone when doing so could throw their concentration and lead to them to  accidentally drop and uncover something they'd rather keep hidden. 

I turned round with determination. I would not be thrown. I turned round and was greeted with an ungodly sight. The Mum of someone I went to school with standing there completely in the buff. I was mortified. Obviously, this was never conveyed on my face because if it was I don't think she would have carried on the conversation as long as she had, especially if she had any idea what was going through my mind right then.

Here's a taster: "SHAVE. WAX. IMMAC. ANYTHING!" It was also clear that she'd have to be doing a lot more in the gym than accoust young folk such as myself if she ever wanted her thighs not to meet in the middle anymore. The same could be said for her neck and breasts.  

She stood there chatting to me about what her daughter was up to --studying for either some law thing or marine biology. I wasn't really concentrating-- and then listed what her other three kids were up to as well. Nothing I said could hurry the conversation along either.

When she mentioned her youngest's name I searched franctically in my head for any recollection or memory of them so that I could convey that I knew already what she was going to say about them. Unfortunately, I got the wrong sibling completely-- her youngest isn't a boy called Phillip, it's actually a girl called Helena. Fuck.  And this little mistake just made her go on more.

I tried to maintain eye contact with her at all times, but it made me realise that when you have conversations with people, your eyes do wander a bit. Taking in what they're wearing (in this case not a great deal more than downy fluff and muff cover. Vomit), their overall mannerisms (very expressive and showcasing quite a bit of armpit hair) and watching their reactions to what you do too. The last one was easy, she kept looking me up and down as I stood there with a towel covering my bottom half and a hoody on the top.

Eventually she left me alone, after making me promise to give her daughter a call and passing on her best wishes to my Mum. I showered and then scooped up all my belongings and crept into one of the tiny cubicles that no one ever uses to get changed in. I just felt with all these people overexposing themselves, would it really be so bad if for once someone decided not to put so much of themselves on show?

And also, I was thinking back to all the judgments I was making about old Hairy Muff Mary (not her real name) and remembered people could be thinking stuff like that about me. Hmmmm, not willing to run that risk and so it was with giddy abandon I got got changed. Just the only person privy to it was me.  


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