Thursday, February 02, 2006
As Close as I Will Ever Be. . .
Since I am not teaching this semester, keeping a regular daily routine challenges me. I am supposed to be thinking big thoughts and researching or something. Had I known that I would be dealing with the whole break-up thing, I probably would have delayed my research-leave so that I could have a bit more structure to my days. Whatever. It’s cool. I am a tree. I can bend.
Going to the gym offers the most consistent scheduled activity for me these days. Also, given I find myself single these day, I feel I should at least attempt to be fuckable.
My relationship to the gym has long been complicated. Part of the appeal of an academic job was that it did not require a lot of heavy lifting. Paying money, therefore, to go to a place devoted to lifting heavy things always struck me as wrong. These days, however, I find that I --*shudder*-- like going to the gym. This shocking realization led me to wonder why.
At first, I thought it had to do with getting my brain into an endorphin-induced coma. Let’s face it, though, the modern pharmacy can provide a better mix for your sweet cerebellum than anything from the gym.
Perhaps, I thought, it had to do with the gym providing a space to zone out and not have to think about much. So, for instance, while on the treadmill I don’t need to ponder an evil-ass-idiot president who attacks gay folk to inflate his own sagging poll numbers. Nor do I have to consider the long-term implications of the center of our government being a zone where free-speech does not apply. Not having to think about these things makes the gym a good escape.
Really, though, I had an epiphany about why the gym appeals to me: It is the only space where I can secretly pretend to be a superhero without looking totally insane. Hear me out.
Going to the gym starts with me dashing into a new set of clothes from my regular work wear. Yes, like changing from my secret identity of a mild-mannered college professor, I put on things I wouldn’t normally wear out of the house and special shoes. Gym clothes can be way over the top and nobody seems to notice or care. There are lots of stretchy nylon fabrics and flowing shorts. No, I don’t wear spandex like most superheros (nobody needs to see that). In many instances, however, I am nerdy enough to wear t-shirts with superhero emblems (Green Lantern, Flash, Captain America (fyi, I wear the last one with a sense of irony)).
When feeling like a queer superhero, I toss on some pro-gay-agenda shirt. If I am going to have delusions of grandeur in the gym, I might as well make it political by wearing a F*ck Homophobia shirt (with the asterisk replaced with the Texas Lone Star) or two men stick figures holding hands Yeah, some crusty assistant, assistant, assistant manager tried to get in my face about these, but that just made me wear even more of them. Besides, we all know that it’s the gay boys who keep most gyms afloat in the long term. I digress.
Once in my superhero duds, I venture out to conduct momentous tasks. I lift things much heavier than I ever imagined. Once I finish with that, I run much more than I really should. Thanks to the ipod, I have my own theme music. If I position my headphones properly, I can even pretend they are a golden tiara.
To end my workout routine, I save some hunky men from certain disaster. Well, okay, maybe not that last bit. It could happen, though. -- What? It could.