December 18, 2008

To Those Girls at the Gym (You Know Who You Are)

When I go to the gym, I throw on whatever is clean and comfortable and go. If I'm having a serious blemish problem, I'll cover it up, but I don't put on make-up to go to the gym (unless you count chapstick) and I don't go looking as if I'm going out to a club. When I'm there, my headphones are in my ears and I'm not talking to a soul. Maybe I'll say a few words to a trainer if they approach me first. Otherwise, leave me alone.

I have a set amount of time and I'm there to work out. I'm not there to socialize or make fun of people, not even the little old guys who wear the short tight gym shorts pulled up past their belly buttons. The way I see it, they're there to work out too and who am I to make fun of them for their workout attire? It's not a fashion show people. It's the gym.

Last night, I was the victim of teenage abuse. Several teenage girls wearing super short shorts and super tight shirts were standing around, I guess working their necks, seeing as how they were tossing their hair around endlessly. I never even would have noticed them if it wasn't for the fact that an entire posse of them were taking up residence on both of the slant boards and intensely watching me workout.

Since the free-weight area was pretty jammed up, I used a step aerobic step as my bench and sat down to do some shoulder exercises. I was totally into what I was doing, until I was rudely taken out of my element by staring, laughing and nasty catty looks from this group of wanna-be Hanna Montana's Paris Hilton's. I ignored them for as long as I possibly could, completely not understanding why I was being targeted by this little clan of hussies. 

Then it occurred to me. I was wearing long pants and a long sleeve shirt, not a near bikini like they were. The one girl was particularly catty and snotty and started glaring at me in the mirror. She wanted me to look at her. At one point, I couldn't take it anymore and met her glare in the mirror with an obvious mocking of the way she was looking at me. I mouthed the word "what?" at her giving her all of her attitude back and then some. My look said, "You got a problem biotch? You want some of this Adidas clad lady?" I wanted to say, "You know, if you spent half the time you're spending glaring at me, actually working out, maybe your butt wouldn't be so flabby." I bit my tongue. She seemed surprised that I glared back at her and turned away uncomfortably. She tried to rally her group but I was imagining putting her into a wrist lock that would drop her to the floor and I think she felt it. She tossed her hair in another direction and then did a sit-up. Yes, one. When I was teaching high school, someone once bought me a pottery jar that says, "Ashes of obnoxious teenagers" and I now know it was made because of girls like her.

I also learned that it takes only one nasty glare from some stupid girl to take you right back to the feelings of Junior High all over again. Fun stuff. The difference is that in Junior High I would have left the area immediately, too afraid to meet their glares or let them know they were out of line.

When I was finished in that area, I went to find my friend and told her about the snotty girls and how I much prefer going to the gym in the morning when the seniors contingent is there. They're much nicer. Also, there are a ton of big built guys, some of them quite young, but you never get anything but a nice "hello" and smile from them. In fact, I have never seen a single guy in the gym ever making fun of anyone. They're like me; they're there to workout. Plain and simple. What the hell was that girls problem?

My friend laughed it off and said she doesn't let things like that bother her. You should know that nothing bothers this particular friend. She said, "she was probably jealous of your body." Right. I try not to let stuff bother me, man, how I wish it didn't, but I'm sensitive like that. Also, most teenagers I know tend to show a little respect. Out of all my students this semester, I only had one who ever gave me attitude. She dropped the class the first week when she realized it wasn't going to fly with me.

As much as I tried not to let this chick bother me last night, she did. I think she bothered me so much because she is exactly the kind of girl I want to shield my girls from. She's that catty, attitude laden you-know-what who puts out for guys, and gives girls a bad reputation. I don't want my girls to become her and I don't want anyone like her messing with them.

While driving home I had this fantasy about walking into the new semester next month and seeing her in my class. "Oh, you go to the gym don't you? Uh-huh, I know who you are." Far-fetched, I know, but it made me feel a little better.

I was talking to Mr. BBM about it last night and when I told him about my behavior back, I said, "How very martial arts of me." I know I should have just completely ignored her but unlike Brian Preston's one teacher in Me, Chi and Bruce Lee I think that sometimes people do need to make some waves. I think that girl deserved to know she was messing with the wrong person and that she shouldn't be messing with anyone just because they don't look like her, dress like her or act like her. Deep inside, I think she thought I was older and therefore an easy target. I don't want to be an easy target and I let her know that I'm not. Sometimes, people need to know their place and be called on it when they're doing something rude. Otherwise, how will she learn? I like to think that last night will stand out in her head, and that she'll think twice about doing the same thing to someone else.

She should also know that karma is a real bitch, and what goes around truly does come back around; and with the way she was acting it will come back around with the force of a slingshot. Fast forward 20 years to when some teenage girl decide to make fun of her for waltzing around the gym wearing hot pants with a non-hot butt. That's how I'm going to imagine things if I see her again. Hopefully I won't.

Karma, karma, karma, my new mantra for dealing with nasty teenagers. I should probably find that piece of pottery and carry it around as my water bottle at the gym too.

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