Gym culture in Manhattan is intimidating. Regardless of how toned your glutes are or how bulky those biceps appear, there is always someone at the gym who is in better shape than you. If you work out a lot, you can probably assume that this person has a freakish obsession with their physique and you have full permission to actually consider their gym habits a negative instead of a positive in the “should I try to kick some game to this person” category.
After nearly two years of being gym-less, hitting the cardio machines again is quite a feat. Luckily, I’ve assimilated well, thanks to my cost-saving 5th floor walk up and penchant for getting lost any time I’m off the grid (resulting in 20 extra blocks between myself and my destination). However, while my quads may be willing to climb back in the saddle (or on to the treadmill) I feel like I need to be entirely re-socialized when it comes to being in a gym setting, from sharing machines to not making eye contact with the men who walk around winking their pectoral muscles at you suggestively. (I didn’t realize The Situation resided in the Upper West Side.)
One of my first days back at the good ole’ stink locker, I noticed a tall, dark-eyed drink of (muscular) water running on the treadie in front of me, glancing my way occasionally. As a happily taken gal, come-ons have become an occasional (albeit: rare) cause of eye-roll but can also be a boost to the ego (Momma’s still GOT IT, kids!) As the fellow climbed off his machine and made his way toward the open elliptical next to mine, I mentally started preparing my “Sorry guy, this lady is spoken for” speech in my head. Gosh! Guys these days are so forward!
As he mounted his stead and began a rigorous cardio routine, I noticed that he was occasionally glancing to the right – my direction. I kept my eyes trained on E! News and finished up my workout without a word shared between the two of us. As I headed to the yoga mats to stretch (okay, you caught me, power nap), I noticed that he continued to look toward the machine I had just been using. Only then did I notice that I had been running right next to the huge floor-to-ceiling mirror.
Turns out he wasn’t checking me out. He was checking himself out.
I finished my Downward Dog and headed for the door, tail between my legs.