At the gym, I am vaguely aware that the Pussycat Dolls are singing “Don’t cha wish your girlfriend was hot like me? Don’t cha?” It is 5:45AM, and I’m not even sure why I’m awake. I am sitting on the padded mats, trying to focus my vision and muster the effort to do push ups. (I can do 18 now!) Procrastinating, I take a long slow sip from my water bottle, even though I’ve done absolutely nothing yet. I yawn and stretch, and then look around for the faces of my favorite regulars, all men. They are as follows:
1. A man who looks like the redneck offspring of The Young Frankenstein’s Eyegore and the bulldog from Tom & Jerry. I haven’t seen a mullet like the one this man’s got since 1991, when my hometown fell in love with Billy Ray Cyrus. He is coaching his scrawny pre-teen son on how to bench-press like a man. The kid’s arms are about as brawny as chives.
2. A male stripper with a gaudy scorpion tattoo on his arm. This guy is HILARIOUS to eavesdrop around. He’s always working out next to some pretty girl, telling boisterous tales of the most recent bachelorette party he provided his services at. Inevitably, he whips out his phone and starts showing the girl pictures to illustrate what he’s talking about. Do I peek over his shoulders as he does so? Nope, because I don’t dig guys with scorpion tattoos. (But I did see a Mexican guy on a bus once who was wearing a gold scorpion embroidered cowboy hat, and that was pretty impressive.)
3. A Korean-American guy who would be outrageously hot if he’d stop taking steroids or drinking protein shakes or whatever it is he does to make himself look more like a plow-pulling ox than a human being. It’s too bad, really, because his face is so handsome. But what can I say? I like it when men have an obvious neck somewhere between their chin and shoulders.
4. An older man who has string bean legs, and who flops around wildly on the padded mats doing something that I think he would call abdominal exercises. He wears tube socks that come up to his kneecaps, and his face looks like Mr. Rogers’ would after being drenched in a rainstorm.
5. A middle-aged man who is about a foot shorter than me, and who looks like he is a New York City cabdriver in a parallel universe. He is so VERY tiny, and he compensates for this by setting the weight lifting machines to the heaviest weight possible. He literally has to jump up in the air and fall down against the handles, just to get enough momentum to make the weights move. He brays like a donkey as he hovers in helpless purgatory over the seat, unable to make the weights complete their arc of motion. I can’t even look at him because I’m afraid he’ll notice my mouth gaping open in pitying disbelief.
So I decide its time to start doing those cursed push ups.