Back in March, I went to Europe for two weeks and came home a happier man. Not only because two weeks away from work was exactly what I needed, but also because eight hours on a plane followed by local Scottish cuisine for a week left me so constipated I nearly turned to God for help by day five. Luckily the secular miracle-worker Metamucil got to me first.
When I got back from Europe I decided I was going to make a few changes in my life so as not to fall back in the rut I was in before I left. One of those choices involved starting a blog, the name of which was partly inspired by my return to gastrointestinal normality. The other was to join a gym. Eight months later I’m in the best shape of my life and a handful of people believe that I find Boxing Helena to be a romantic, heart wrenching film. Success all around.
Everything was going fine until last month when the weather dramatically took a turn for the shit. Suddenly I can’t wear shorts and a t-shirt to walk to the gym anymore. This leaves me with two options: 1) wear regular clothes to the gym and bring my gym clothes with me in a bag; or 2) wear sweatpants and a sweatshirt OVER my gym clothes and come off looking like the “poor” kid in grade school.
Personally, I don’t have any problem with bringing clothes and changing at the gym. Even though when I was younger I was one of the kids who made sure he kept his shirt on when he took his pants off in the locker room, I overcame all that in college. Not that I was ever in a locker room in college . . . but college does weird things like that. What I do have a problem with is everyone else changing in the locker room. For some reason, it seems the men most comfortable walking around naked in front of other men are the obese and the elderly. I officially gave up the “change at the gym” option after one particularly busy day when, amidst a crowded locker room, an old, naked man brushed up against my back WHILE I WAS SITTING ON A BENCH. I still have nightmares about what could have happened had I been sitting the other way around.
That leaves me with the plight of having to wear sweat clothes in public – and my question is this: When did this become such a bad thing? I bought a pair of Nike sweat pants the other day and, gathering up every ounce of courage and “I’m so cool I don’t care” attitude I could muster, I walked outside. And you know what I found out? Wearing warm sweat pants outside in cold weather IS FUCKING AWESOME. I’m note even remotely kidding. It’s like being out in the cold, yet wrapped in a warm, fleece blanket. It’s the closet a human can get to recreating the feeling of being in bed in an outdoor setting.
I was totally enjoying myself until I got to 2nd Avenue which was packed with people still in work clothes. At that point, I felt compelled to make these people aware that I was dressed like this because I was going to the gym. Not because the Gap was having a sale and it was all I could afford, not because I’m unemployed, but because I am striving to be a physically fit human being.
I stretched my arms across my chest as I walked. When stopped at a corner to cross the street I would stretch my quads or jog in place. I bobbed my head side to side as though I were waiting for the opening bell of a boxing match. And when I finally made it to the gym, I was already so out of breath that when the girl at the front desk said hello, I responded with, “Hey, how’s it (garbled breathing noise).”
In short, I made myself look like the asshole I was afraid of looking like by going outside in sweatpants. So is this proof that sweatpants (outside of those awesome track suits that I could never wear anyway) will never be a viable form of public attire? Or that maybe my mom had the right idea when she held me back for an extra year in nursery school?