Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Red and sweaty

I just joined a new gym, as my first step towards Operation Kiwi-Ready. I need some serious improvement before I am ready to be seen naked by someone I care about.

I’ve had many a struggle with gym memberships. My first foray was at Fernwood, a gym for [overweight, middle-aged] ladies only, and certainly not my cup of tea. Their services may have been slack, but their contract writers certainly weren’t. It was harder to leave there than my bed on a Monday morning.

Second attempt, the young and hip gym at the Aquatic Centre. The drawback here was that I felt like a red, sweaty elephant in the midst of serial gym junkies who had tiny,taut bodies and the outfits to match. It was crowded and the popularity generated too much demand for a treadmill or an inch of space on the aerobics floor.

The locker rooms at this gym were like no other I have ever visited. I understand there is a set of keen exercisers who are not shy about showing their bodies in the raw, but nudity at the Aquatic Centre was endemic. And not just walking to and from the showers, but full leg-up-on-chair-with-vigorous-towel-drying action.

I have cultivated my skills of getting dressed and undressed while holding a towel around myself for full coverage and to avoid unfortunate flashes to casual observers. However, this leads to strange physical contortions and getting dressed takes 3 times longer than necessary. I decided that it would much quicker to put on my bra if I dropped the towel, and embarked on weeks and weeks of internal pep-talks to persuade myself into it. “No-one’s really looking, no-one really cares, your boobs aren’t that interesting anyway, come on, everyone else is doing it, be brave, you don’t know any of these people anyway.”

At last I was ready. My towel and I would take the plunge. There I was in the locker room, inhaling deeply, and waiting for the exact moment that everyone else’s eyes were averted. Ready, on one….. two…... thr “Hey!” shouted a voice across the room. “I thought that was you. Fancy seeing you here!” And all eyes were on me as I turned to face my former work colleague. I never did drop the towel that day, or ever since.

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