So here we are. I’ve gone and done it. I’ve only been putting it off for a mere 18 months, with admittedly a few good reasons thrown in along the way. But now my tendinitis is all cleared up and I have (just) enough cash, not to mention the fact that my scales are now refusing to speak to me; I could escape it no longer. I’ve joined the gym.
Next door to my office block is a posh hotel that has its own gym and spa, and they do special rates for us, their lovely neighbours. Isn’t that nice? I must admit, of all the gyms I have used, it is probably the nicest, best equipped one so far. And it has a very nice pool, with a jacuzzi and a sauna and a steam room.
Yes, I am indeed more interested in the sauna than the treadmills. How can you tell?
I must say that of all the conventional forms of exercise, swimming is my absolute favourite. I love being in the water, be it pool, river or sea, I love the feeling of floating, I love moving in the water, and I love that unique kind of tiredness that you get afterwards. I used to love the aquagym lessons they had at my old gym, they were great fun. (And I don’t care if the monitor was gay, he was a tasty piece of eye candy, as well as a jolly nice fella. So there.)
However, the best thing about exercising in water is not that it’s easier on the muscles, nor that it’s virtually impossible to injure yourself, it’s that no-one sees you sweating. In fact you don’t even notice it yourself. Because there’s nothing worse than being a fat person sweating in public. It doesn’t matter if you’ve just won the New Yawk* marathon or climbed up 3 steps. If you’re fat and sweating, then in the eyes of all beholders, you are guilty of being a lazy pig who has really let themselves go. That’s just the way it is.
So swimming is perfect: you get out of there soaking wet /with pool water/, head for the sauna where everyone is wet from the initial shower anyway, and sweat some more, shower again (nice and cold, yah!) and head to the changing rooms to dry off and perform the excruciating “getting changed in public without showing an inch of skin” ritual. This involves a lot of hopping around on one foot with the other stuck in a fold of your trousers and the end of one trouser leg dragging around on the wet floor. Not just your wet from the showers, but other people’s drippings too. Eugh.
By then, you just want to jump back in the pool again. It doesn’t matter how many people pee in the pool or how perfectly clean the changing rooms are, the pool will always seem cleaner.
Of course, swimming also has its drawbacks. The lingering smell of chlorine and the need to wash your hair every 5 minutes, for a start. But the most annoying and unfair of them all is the ridiculous fantasy that modern society has invented that human females should always appear to be completely devoid of any body hair other than eyebrows (and even those should be immaculately tweezed and plucked into shape). So to go swimming, even for a quick 5 minute dip, we girls have to spend a disproportionate amount of time ridding ourselves of every stray hair.
As I walked into the gym today, I chuckled at the guys in the free weights section, watching themselves flex and lift in the full-wall mirror. How vain, I thought to myself. I bet they’ll say that they’re checking their posture to avoid injury, or some such silliness. But they’re just looking at themselves and loving it. How silly to be so vain and self-conscious.
Glad I’m nothing like that.
*Damn you Marty…