Monday, March 29, 2004

Pump it up 

What with my sodding back, I haven’t been to the gym much lately. This is a shame, because gyms, especially in Cape Town, are highly entertaining. A gym is a sterile and un-natural environment for exercise, and everybody treats it like a lift, pretending they are alone. There is little noise except for grunts and pants and the clanking weights. Cape Town has a disproportionate number of gay men and models relative to its size, so the gym population splits into several distinct groups:

The gym bunnies: Lycra clad women busily stepping away or kick-box-ercising their way to firmer buns. This set includes the models, trophy wives, and everyone else who likes to look good on Clifton 4 in a G-string bikini. I’m desperately trying not to type something sexist that will get me flamed, but some days just being in the gym without even getting onto the treadmill is enough to get my heart rate up.

The sweaty hordes: men & women battling the onset of gravity and the fact that they eat more and do less than they used to. This is me. Baggy clothes and saggy arses. A subset of this group is the people who have quite obviously been told by a doctor to get to the gym or else. You rarely see them twice. Whether this is because the gym finishes them off, or they take their chances with the heart attack, I don’t know.

The mirror boys: free weights and free love. Almost as much Lycra as the gym bunnies, and almost as little hair. This is exercise as performance art: narcissism for the noughties. The people who run the gym know their market: it is far more important for them to keep the mirrors clean than it is to sweep the floor.

The only other group in the gym with bodies as muscular as the mirror boys is the professional rugby players who pop in from time to time. They are a lot hairier, and don’t ask them out if you are in this group – they wouldn’t take too kindly to it. I used to play rugby with a guy who went on to feature in South Africa’s world cup winning team (my career went in the opposite direction). I remember chatting to him in the bar, and looking at the hair sprouting from under his collar, idly wondering how he decided how far down his neck to stop shaving.


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?