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hello i am fat

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being naked at the gym

With some tweaking and some experimenting, it turns out that I really fucking hate going to the gym after work when it is dark and the place is crowded and smells like dog and taking the bus home in the dark and getting home late and starving and wanting to eat everything that is in the world, and then everything else besides and I eat all my leftover Chinese food and then start thinking about the leftover Turkish from last week I forgot to throw out and I consider sticking my finger in a packet of dry cinnamon sugar oatmeal and licking it off and my cat, he starts to look plump and delicious.

So no gym after work.

And it turns out I can't get up an hour earlier in the morning. I can't do it. It is not a thing that is possible, when you've got a bed that is as soft and comfortable as mine, and pillows that are as fluffy as mine, and sheets that are as silky as mine, and a boyfriend who is as warm as mine, and a cat to motherfucking spite because he does not need to be smacking me in the face for twenty minutes straight because he only has a fourth of a bowl of kibble left and that is next to starvation and DOOM.


So no gym before work.

That leaves, if you're doing the math along at home, gym during work. Since I work on a university campus, there is a gym right next door to my office, and I am lucky to be able to take a lunch break and do this, bim, bam, efficiency in sweating, and then hopping into the shower.

It's the hopping into the shower thing that has been awful. The days I was going after work, I didn't even head into the locker room. I dropped my stuff next to the treadmill or the bike or the elliptical, and I swat (that is the past tense of "sweat) and then I shot out of there like a light. When I go in the afternoon, I do not want to go back to work sweaty, and so I do the whole get a lock, get a locker, stuff your stuff into the locker thing, and that means going into the locker room (which is where they keep their lockers) and that means I have to see a lot of naked people.

The human body is a beautiful and glorious thing in all its imperfections, but you know what? I do not feel comfortable in a room full of beautiful and glorious naked ones, perfect or no. I don't want to look at your ass, lady who is bending over at the end of the row, and oh my god, are you doing squats in the aisle? and I am sure your husband quite admires your lush and luxuriant pubal regions, madam, but could you please not brush it in front of the mirror in front of the door to the bathroom, because oh my god.

I do not like running on a treadmill (okay, jogging slowly as all my extremities sort of wiggle in a horrifying slo-motion Jell-O commercial) next to someone who looks perfectly normal, and then find out they like to cram their index fingers in their ear and piston it furiously while they march up and down the corridor between the shower room and the lockers. I do not like it at all.

I avert my eyes, I try so hard to not look at other people, but sometimes you catch a glimpse, against everything you've prayed for, and there is just nothing you can do but shudder.

But that's standard I Hate the Locker Room behavior, isn't it? Even less appealing, I've found, is being naked in front of all these people. I hate changing in front of people so much that I get into my gym clothes in the bathroom here at work before I head over to the gym. But I can't shower and then put my sweaty clothes back on, and I can't wear a towel across campus to the safety of my office bathroom. And marching into the bathrooms from the shower is almost as long a walk. So there are moments, in the locker room, where I am exposing my highly imperfect body

And no one cares, right? No one is looking, and no one cares about your body and no one is judging, so what the hell? But there is that five minutes of flushing with complete and total shame, while I hurry out of my gym clothes and wrap that towel around me and try to hold my gym bag in a way that hides me the most, and I wonder, the whole time (even more and more intensely than I do when I'm out in the gym and wondering if I look stupid, a fat girl trying to run on a treadmill) if these women – so many of them gorgeous college kids - are looking at me and wondering what the fuck I'm doing here, and why should I bother?

I am happy to say I'm still bothering. I am still going and the more I go the easier it gets. And also, I have been building a routine of efficiency and order, so that everything is perfectly aligned and all the steps fall into place and I keep my head down, get in, get out, and with as little nakedness as possible.

  1. Anonymous Lisa | 6:53 PM |  

    OK I know this is a year out of date and I just found your blog and am reading oldest to newest so I don't know if this is relevant or not buutttt. Have you thought about buying a nice track suit yo can slip into right after your shower then going back to work to change clothes? You can even wear it to the gym over your workout clothes and then you can just schlep it around without getting a locker...just a very out of date thought...

  2. Anonymous Anonymous | 10:17 PM |  

    That's funny, I too was just looking at some of the older posts and I spotted this.

    This goes along with what you described at your gym.

    I'm from Cleveland Ohio, and here in Cleveland there is a very well-known and beautiful TV news anchor woman named Lee Jordan. Well, Lee Jordan goes to my gym, and she LOVES to walk around the women's locker room totally nude the whole time she is in there!

    When she blow-dryes her hair she will stand there in front of the mirror totally nude from head to toe. And when she applys her makeup, again it's while totally nude in front of the mirror.

    She even has long conversations with women that she doesn't even know while she stands there nude. I've even seen her sign autographs while she was nude!

    I wish that I could be that comfortable in my own skin as she is!


  3. Anonymous Anonymous | 5:44 PM |  

    I'm with Lisa.

    And the other people at the gym?

    a) They're not looking; they are wrapped up in their own swarthy little thoughts.

    b) If they ARE looking and thinking nasty thoughts, they can drop off a cliff as you are doing what is best for you. :D

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