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A Gal in the Guys' Gym

go ride a bike somewhere. In any case, my happy little workout bubble was popped. Doing squats in the cramped new room, with its clear glass wall between us and the surrounding gym, I felt like the star of a peep show. And I’m not one of those people who can pull off a great striptease in Reeboks. So I stepped out of my comfort zone and into the foreign landscape of unisex-ercise. A place where the televisions thump and flicker with vulgar rap videos instead of Regis and Kelly. Where no one except me is reading a bright red pansy-ass paperback called Five Men Who Broke My Heart. Where men with bulbous triceps, swollen chests, and no sense of embarrassment grunt loudly as they hoist barbells the size of automobiles over their bulging heads. If exercise hurts, I don’t do it. And the gals in the Women’s Gym seemed to understand that instinctively. We shared an unspoken tenet: If you drag your glutes out of bed and muster the confidence to leave the house in Lycra, who really cares if you do four reps or 40? And hell, who’s counting? Not so in the wuss-free zone, where I am afraid to mount several machines (does one “mount” these things?) for fear a padded arm or steel bar will snap back and coldcock me. No one wants to be laughed at by people who are in far better shape than them. There was a moment on the abductor machine when I thought I might learn to love this co-ed weight room. The equipment’s better. It’s less crowded. And I actually push myself to work harder knowing there are glistening fitness studs looking at me. But then I realized something depressing: No one actually is looking at me. Not a single grunting beefcake. Hello? Female here! So I think I’ll limp back to the diminished Women’s Gym. It’s one thing to go unnoticed. It’s another to be outright ignored.]]>

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