V Cars The Diary of a Novice Triathlete
Day Nine – Days to swim: 30
Sorry about missing yesterday, I told you I have trouble sticking at things. Actually, that’s not true. I was just mad busy yesterday with work and didn’t get around to it. I actually remembered while lying in bed last night and put it down to aching shoulders. Bloody John.
I was talking about my swim yesterday with my office mate Martin, another copywriter, whose nearing 50 and a firm believer in body attack/body pump etc. He tells me he’s the only male in the class and often stands at the front. He tells me this with just the tiniest flicker self-awareness, I quite admire that.
Modern gyms are a strange old place, aren’t they? The simmering narcissism; the modernity of physical exertion – something so fundamentally primeval; and the undercurrent of gender relations.
Now, I might be reading too much into this. It would be a long way past the first time.
BUT, I’ve often wondered what women are thinking while they’re exercising around men. Mass physical exertion at Virgin Active, and the shared euphoria, is as close to a mass orgy as most of us will ever come.
So this is the question: do women have the same internal experience as men – the choir of voices?
“Come on, you can do this.” “Wow, look at her, she’s just lovely.” “You’re not getting any younger, Paul.” “Alright, stop yelling at me, it’s only a bloody spin class, not the Tour de France.” “Wow, she’s lovely too… oh give over, she’s too young for you.” “Don’t give up, this is where the fitness is earned.” “She could do with losing a bit of timber, but then so could you sunshine.” “Go on, give up, you’ve done enough.” Etc. etc.
It’s very difficult to know how to feel about admiring women while you’re working out – the signals are so confusing for the average male brain of which, I am ashamed to say, I am a proud owner.
We’re hard-wired to spread our seed as far and wide as possible, like a sexual sycamore tree. We get a tangible high from admiring the female form and the women who work out at gyms have an extremely attractive set of personality credentials: committed to good health, sinewy and athletic, understand the value of hard work, a sense of self-worth.
For goodness sake, it’s a minefield for the average heterosexual male… hang on… I’ve got it. How blind I’ve been. Now how I see!
That’s why there’s Women Only sections in the gym. NOT to protect them from our prying eyes but because they’ve demanded it! They don’t want us athletic types(!) putting them off their workout, they’re silencing their internal voices in a single sex environment… ah, they’ve always been cleverer than us, more evolved. While my face tone turns from pallid, moribund grey to Father Christmas red, they can’t keep their eyes off me!
That was it all along. How foolish of me not to see the wood for the female sycamore trees.
Three Day Weekend
So, Thursday Night Football tonight and feeling stronger, fitter, faster and lighter.
Thursday night though, is the first hurdle in my three-day drinking steeplechase. Sunday to Wednesday abstinence; Thursday, Friday and Saturday a satyric commitment to revelry. If I can abstain tonight, I’m halfway there – but Beer Pressure is so strong.
Plus, this weekend I’m off camping with the family to the Norfolk coast and am taking my swimming gear for a dip in the sea.
I’ve not told you this yet, dear reader, but I hate anything cold. I have a real aversion to it. It’s just so painful. So, to conquer this whimpish reaction to cooler temperatures, I’m going to take a dip in the sea and have a swim. Photos on Monday.
Oh God, I’ve committed to this now.
Got to stop committing to things without thinking about them through. That’s how you ended up agreeing to swim across Ham Lake.
Nah, sod it. Where’s the fun in that?
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