I’ve been feeling fat which is partly because yes, I’ve gained weight and have done little to nothing to correct it, other than just drink the rum and diet cokes which are offered to me and I happily accept (thanks love love!) but afterwards, after the delicious, caloric moment, when my dress feels so much tighter and all the pictures of my performing on stage seem to highlight my distended belly, I inevitably grunt: “UGH! Tomorrow I will work out!”
So I fought blustering wind and rain and made it to the gym. The parking lot was full, but that’s normal for a Saturday morning. I blame yoga classes with their higher-than-thou soft mats and Lululemon everything and the barefoot men and women who clog up the stairs when I just want to get on an elliptical in my stretch pants and oversized pink t-shirt so I can sweat and move toward a number on the scale that doesn’t make me weep upon sight. Does yoga tighten your core so you don’t fart on the people downard-dogging behind you? I need those muscles tightened just for real life.
When I walked into the gym, I knew there was something different. The lobby was filled with women with clipboards which I thought where sales ladies of some sort. I worked in a gym a long time ago and every so often there would be some sales rep with new contraptions like new scales or supplements. I didn’t think much of the coiffed ladies in the lobby, it was when I entered the locker room that I noticed some weird was afoot. Thanks English degree for giving useless phrases that I never get to use in real life!
There were young women in bikinis and heels standing and posing in front of a woman who sat in the soft vinyl chair with a laptop open. This was some real deal pageant practice going on in my gym locker room. I’ve seen people bring in laptops and high heels and flat irons and hair essentials because after their early morning workouts, these hardcore ladies head to work where I assume they boss people around and bark things like, “IN MY OFFICE! NOW!”
I don’t have a problem with pageants. I spent many nights watching Miss Universe pageants also pretending that I was one of the contestants and what I would say if asked how I would plan to better humanity (universal healthcare! shiny things! people who pay compliments without your having to ask, “How does this look honey?!”). My issue was why my gym had not informed me that there would be women at their peak physical conditions strutting around and saying things like, “Well, I do like have another dress, but I’ve just shed like so much weight, I don’t know, like, um, know if it it’ll like fit?” Something I’ve never said in my life ever.
All the ladies seemed very professional and no one scoffed at my body and obvious signs of breastfeeding two kids with lamprey mouths. But I didn’t want them to be right there, as I was peeling my sweaty t-shirt off of my body and continued to do so until I could waddle off into the shower and pray that there would be a shower stall open and I wouldn’t have to wait with even fewer clothes on while these women gazelled around without any jiggle. I did think about streaking around and yelling, “This is what breastfeeding does, ladies!” Instead, I made this list:
Places I would never want to be naked:
1) my dreams. I’m never naked in a place where it makes sense, it’s always in my high school hallway, on the first day of school. Not a private tropical beach where people can do that because they rented the entire island.
2) a locker room full of beautiful women.
3) a locker room full of beautiful women I wasn’t expecting to be there.
4) my kid’s school curriculum night, I’m already awkward around other parents.
5) in the woods, running for my life because I’m playing the skanky girl and she always gets killed first
I don’t like that I have to think about who will be in the locker room, or that I should go to the gym late at night or first thing in the morning, when the only sounds I hear are not the young, unstretchmarked women talking about the dresses that cost more than my car, but rather faint memory of my mom’s voice repeating: “MONA! YOU NEED TO REDUCE!”