At a 24 Hour Fitness, my friend Josh and I get in a pretty decent barbell workout. We press, do some kind of oly lift (on iron plates no less, I power snatched, Josh did a complex of power clean, front squat, push press), and back squat. We’re just two guys doing barbell lifts. We’re just two guys in a sea of virgins who can’t incline bench without lifting their hips off the bench and who start their workouts doing synchronized dumbbell rows while facing each other. A guy takes his girlfriend through his leg routine, from which barbell squats are completely absent. None of this should be surprising. This is all perfectly normal, perfectly healthy. It’s called going to the gym. Real athletes don’t go to 24 Hour Fitness.
This lady with too much rouge and eye shadow and a disproportionate amount of lower belly fat which is probably related to a lifestyle of too much caffeine and not enough sleep appears. Which is fine. I’m not saying she has to be pretty. I’m just saying she’s a character in this story.
There are four pairs in this story.
There is me and Josh. Josh and I met over livejournal while trolling a community which was supposedly focused on going to the gym except only like six people in the community actually lifted. Everyone else had a thyroid problem or was injured or some bullshit and just talked about lifting. Josh offered me money to train him, which I scoffed at and declined and we met up IRL and became training buddies. Now one of our favorite past times is to lift, buy each other dinner, and go take a walk at a nearby park to catch some vitamin D. Strong no homo.
There is the guy taking his girlfriend through his leg routine. He makes a real big fucking deal out of doing lunges in the Smith rack. I hope they’re happy with each other, because I’d have fucking killed myself three years ago if I were him.
There are the guys who start their workout doing synchronized dumbbell rows. I can’t tell if they’re joking. Doesn’t matter if they are. They ask Josh if he’s done using a bench for dumbbell benching because they want to start their next set together. I wonder if they are JO buddies. Have you guys heard of JO buddies? You can find ads for this on Craigslist. Some guys just want to be in a room with another guy to jerk off together. They don’t want to touch the other guy. They just want someone to jerk off with. It’s not gay, though the appearance of their JO partner is very specific and important. But there is no gay stuff allowed. Just two dudes sitting next to each other, but not close enough to touch, jerking off.
Then there are these two adonises, sandy-haired and tan, wearing tanktops and basketball shorts, with a lifetime of curls and front raises behind them. They’re not huge but they’re about as jacked as you could possibly be at 165lbs. I hate everything about them, because I am not them. They probably lost their virginity when they were 14 (feel free to guess how old I was when I lost mine).
So we come back to Cake-face Katrina. She decides she wants to do Smith machine squats, which, again, is fine. This is what you do at the gym. What the fuck else would it be there for? But the guy showing his girlfriend his leg routine neglected to take the 45lbs plates off and she doesn’t have the upper body strength to do so.
She has to make a decision. Who does she ask for help?
Can’t ask the guy doing his leg routine. He’s busy chastising the girlfriend for not doing more reps. Can’t ask the guys doing synchronized dumbbell rows – they’re JO buddies. Don’t really want to get between that kind of friendship. She looks at us, me with an unkempt excuse of an afro with a raincloud following me everywhere I go, Josh who’s favorite past-time is reading Bukowski at bars, thinks to herself, “Do you even lift?” and immediately and desperately avoids eye contact. Then she turns to the two Roman sculptures who do a lot of curls and tri extensions and giggles, hey, could you two strapping young gents help a lady out? They come over and unload all 90lbs of 45lbs plates from the Smith machine for her.
Later she sees me squatting my last set at 380lbs for my volume day and thinks I’m a try-hard asshole. Not the guys who synchronized their db rows together and will later share a stall in the men’s room to jerk off together. Not the guy trying to impress his no-lifting girlfriend with a bunch of lunges and Smith machine squats. Not the narcissistic pieces of shit who bleach their hair and workout in Hollister tanks while “subtly” flexing their tris in the mirror. She thinks the guy enjoying his hobby is the asshole.
* * *
I wonder if he blogged about what he saw of you, I’ll try and find it.
Look in the Animal Pak training logs.
Went and visited my uncle recently. He said I have some good size but he asked why I’m not cut. Good. I tell all of my friends I lift for function, they ask why don’t I try to get jacked, what they don’t know is that I secretly do rear delt raises and db flies and shrugs till I almost drop the weight on my toes. So I AM trying to get jacked but no one can tell. Good
Saw my dad for father’s day, bought him dinner. Before we leave for dinner he asks me, “Are you still exercising?”
My fucking dad literally asked me, do you even lift?
Chris E writes:
Brent do you think in an alternative universe there is a version of you and you’re extremely huge and jacked? I’d like to think so.
There’s probably about twenty different alternate universes where I’ve already fucking killed myself. There’s an alternate universe where I’m not allergic to cats and have three. In that alternative universe, those three cats will merrily dine on my face after I die alone in my apartment.