THE NAKED TRUTH

GYMS ARE A NEC­ES­SARY EVIL WHEN ONE HAS THE INFORMER’S CHIS­ELLED PHYSIQUE, BUT THE CHANG­ING ROOM IS A WHOLE OTHER BALL­GAME

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Gold Coast Eye - - EYE | INFORMER - WORDS: MICHAEL JA­COB­SON

Reg­u­lar read­ers of this rec­tan­gle may re­call be­ing bored wit­less by tales of Informer’s in­spi­ra­tional weight loss dur­ing 2017. Nev­er­the­less, I feel it only right that you should re­ceive an up­date. To wit, Informer has joined a gym.

Well, truth be told I’ve re-re-re-re­joined the gym. The thing is, gyms and Informer have en­dured a fickle re­la­tion­ship over many years. I’m all for fit­ness, sure, but gyms are ter­ri­ble places.

I don’t like the equip­ment, I don’t like most of the peo­ple us­ing the equip­ment, I don’t like the con­stant phys­i­cal com­par­isons and, be­ing a man of words rather than num­bers, I’m use­less at count­ing.

Even so, in an ef­fort to com­ple­ment a run­ning and di­etary regime that has cul­mi­nated in the Ado­nis-like cor­re­spon­dent you read be­fore you, I de­cided to give the gym an­other try.

It’s been a cou­ple of weeks and all was go­ing well. I even made a friend who, for dig­nity’s sake, I shall call Pete and with whom I have par­taken in sev­eral post-work­out pro­tein shakes.

Have you ever drunk one of those things? Dis­gust­ing. A quar­ter-cup of fruit, a quar­ter­cup of yo­ghurt and half a cup of vomit. Such are the things we do, and down, in the name of health.

Of course, health is one thing; hy­giene is an­other. To that end, there is no es­cap­ing what is by far the big­gest prob­lem with gyms: get­ting naked with other chaps.

I’m un­com­fort­able with chang­ing rooms and I doubt I’m the ex­cep­tion.

There’s just some­thing in­or­di­nately hor­rid about un­dress­ing, show­er­ing, dry­ing and dress­ing again in close prox­im­ity to a sweaty bunch of mostly strangers.

There’s just too much nasty stuff on dis­play. Too much hair and skin, too many veins, spots and so on, and no mat­ter how we try to keep as much dis­tance be­tween us as pos­si­ble, it’s still too bloody close. While Pete and I get on well, I don’t want to be around his bits and pieces and I’m sure he’d pre­fer not to tarry around mine. All of which leads to an­other prob­lem with gyms: haste.

The des­per­a­tion one ex­hibits in the chang­ing room can lead to sev­eral er­rors. Clothes strewn all over the shop, socks in­side out, shoes on the wrong feet, shirts in­cor­rectly but­toned, fly left un­done. And yet all are un­der­stand­able in light of the ur­gency to re­duce the time of one’s own pub­lic nu­dity, and that of be­ing in the com­pany of some­one else’s. This we all un­der­stand, we men of the gym chang­ing room, dan­gling united in our shame and shy­ness.

Yet some­times some­thing hap­pens that goes be­yond the pale, and that’s re­ally say­ing some­thing when you’re as pale as me.

For ex­am­ple, the other evening I ar­rived home af­ter a hard day’s small busi­ness-ing that had in­cluded a mid­morn­ing ses­sion at the gym.

As I changed out of my work clothes, Mrs Informer stared at me with much more in­ter­est than has been the case for years.

“They’re not your un­der­pants,” she said, and as I looked down, my mind jolted back to the gym, to the chang­ing room, to the clothes strewn along the bench, to the haste, and to Pete’s locker right next to mine.

Poor, poor Pete, I thought. And lucky, lucky me. At least his un­der­pants were clean.

“I’M ALL FOR FIT­NESS, SURE, BUT GYMS ARE TER­RI­BLE PLACES.”

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