Monday, January 17, 2011


Sometimes I do things. And I do them impulsively. I think I'm manly in that way. I like shopping, I admit. But I shop like a man, contrary to what C reckons.

Mens' shopping is simple and uncomplicated. Women would probably say that that is like men, but we know the truth. We may seem simple and uncomplicated on the surface but, delve a bit deeper than that, and you'll find that worrying about how to adjust your balls is actually pretty taxing.

There are two types of men; those who get caught ogling womens' breasts and get a pervy reputation and those who don't get caught. Any man will tell you that it's not easy to keep oneself in the second group, let alone to work your way into it in the first place.

But, to go back to the shopping thing, we men look at a thing in a shop, perhaps even trying it on. Then we have some very basic tick boxes to decide if we buy it.

Does it fit? Yes or no. Does it look good? Yes or no. Does it make me hold my stomach in or can I relax in it? Yes or no.

And then, depending on which boxes we have ticked, we buy or don't buy. It really is that simple. Some fellows, I'm told, go further and ask themselves whether they need the thing or not. I don't really subscribe to that mindset. Unless I really need something of course.

Womens' shopping is an entirely different matter. Tick boxes, my arse. There are thousands of tick boxes to be applied before a decision is made, but then they move onto feelings and random fuzzy logic things that are wholly alien to the male psyche. I suppose, when I say "tick boxes, my arse" it's actually quite appropriate, for the "does my bum look big in this?" issue always looms large.

I kid you not here, I was with C the other day in Paradise Road and she was looking at sarongs. She was leaving for Taiwan that evening and wanted to buy a sarong as a present for the cameraman, or director of photography as they're called, on her crew. She held it up to examine the thing and within about two nanoseconds I'd decided that I'd buy it for myself, let alone for someone else.

I had to hold it against me, as apparently he was about similar size, I had to twirl, then she asked if I thought the colours would match his complexion. It was a sarong for fuck's sake, we men don't do complexions, we just buy things in colours we like. Eventually she bought it, after taking about five minutes, roughly thirty times the time a man would take, to make the decision.

At one point I thought, in my naivety, that she was actually buying a surprise birthday present for me and that was why it took so long. I was wrong. It really was a present for the cameraman.

Enough about that, there was something else I wanted to tell you about.

There I was on Friday, thinking that I probably should join a gym of some sort. Most people probably don't think about this stuff at this time of the year but I'm different to the herd. I did a little bit of googling, looked at a couple of gyms and then, before you could say "does my bum look big in this?" I was typing in my bank card details to enrol for six weeks trial membership (inc three personal training sessions!) at a local place.

Then there was a wait involved. It was the wait for one of the team to call me to arrange my first personal training session.

Now I know you, who may well know me in person, will be a bit surprised at this gym thing. My reputation as a fellow with a toned and rather chiselled physique goes before me. But, underneath this shallow exterior of good looks and muscular manliness, lurks a body just like any other man's, perhaps even as bad as David Blacker's, and I want to tone it up a tad.

I was impatient. The online thing told me that I'd get a call within forty eight hours, so naturally when I hadn't received one within about an hour I called them myself. A very friendly chap called Dominic talked to me quite nicely.

Men will back me on this. When you're faced with a chat with a fellow about going to the gym and things, you have to pretend that your level of knowledge is quite high. I don't know why, it doesn't help us in any way, but to show ignorance, to confess to the bloke that the last time I went to a gym was probably before he was born, is not good.

So we went through the conversation with me doing my best to sound as blase as I could, as though I more or less lived in a gym and was merely trying out a new one, until it got to the point when he asked me what I want to achieve.

"Well, you know, just to tone up a bit and lose a bit of body fat I guess". I responded. It was probably an answer he'd never heard before.

"Okay, that's fine, I'll send you a text confirming the appointment and the fitness consultant will see you then."

"Dominic that's great thanks, but can I ask you something?" said I.

"Erm what exactly should I wear to this appointment?"

This totally blew my cover as an experienced gym user, but it was necessary. You see I knew that this was going to be some kind of session where a chap, probably blonde and looking like he's just narrowly failed an audition for a boy band, measures me, weighs me, makes me try to do a sit up and tries to find out how flexible I am. At that point I'll be sorely tempted to crack my joke about not being able to make Wednesdays, but am unsure if I would.

But I really didn't know if I should turn up in civvies, risking the shame of being asked to change into kit I don't have, or whether I arrive in shorts and lycra, only to be laughed at as I wouldn't actually be doing anything physical that time.

Dominic was good though.

"Oh just wear your normal gym kit." he responded, with a total lack of understanding about how confusing those words actually were.

"Sure" I said, chuckling with him at my stupidity.

"Normal gym kit, normal fucking gym kit!!?" I thought to myself. What the hell is that?

My mind started at floor level. Trainers? Okay, I own more pairs of trainers than the average kid who loves Blink 41 or Sum 182, but none of those are meant for physical exercise. I'd have to see if I could get away with one pair, or buy a new pair at the weekend. But I didn't want to run the risk of looking like Keith Richards doing his first gym session and being surprised that he wasn't allowed to smoke.

Socks? Ah yes. Somewhere I have a pair of white sporty looking socks, on that front I'd be okay.

Shorts? Again I own a pair of proper Adidas sports shorts. Finding them, figuring out if they still fit and dealing with the fact that they're older than some of the younger Greek Gods would be another matter.

And the rest. What T shirt do I wear? I don't know if I should go for a trendy one or perhaps an old and knackered one, what's the procedure here?

The most important question is about the bag. What sort of thing shall I take?

I figure that I'll have to buy one of those trendy retro style sports bags very soon. You know the ones that are remakes of the type we used to use for school, made from the cheapest nylon and so small that you can't get much in them. Well they're all the rage in these parts at the moment.

But what to use for the first few sessions?

I don't think a manbag will be suitable. The only options I have are a hefty looking rucksack with more compartments and pockets than a train full of clothing salesmen or a dodgy looking flimsy thing that I bought some time ago to carry my swimming trunks in.

I'll probably use the swimming trunk bag, if it doesn't smell too much.

Either way, this evening at seven of the clock I'll be going through my first personal fitness review. Wish me luck, I have a feeling I'll need it.

Happy Monday all.


Sach said...

RD, that shopping thing reminds me of my ex-girlfriend.

First, you should know that like every Sri Lankan woman she had this fear of sun, hence never went out in the sun. Yes, I know, pity them. Also like many of them she did not like to walk much. However, none of this seemed to be a problem when she wanted to do shopping. She would drag me to 'just buy' a denim jeans, or something like that but by experience I know that there is no such thing as 'just buy' when it comes to women. She would drag me all over Colombo, buy several other things and not buy a denim jeans and return happily alongside a very grumpy tired me.
Soon, I put my foot down and we never went shopping together again.

Gypsy said...

Hahaha, R, how I've missed reading your blog! (I stopped checking up on blogs when I stopped writing in mine. Weird how that happens.)

Loved this post. Especially gems like "Blink 41 and Sum 182". You're so totally hip.

Good luck at the gym. Will try my hand at getting fit myself once I move - wonder how that'll go. Probably not that well.

Also, I hope you realize that while you started your post saying men don't think about clothes, you spent most of the rest of it trying to figure out what you're going to wear.... to the gym, no less.

Quite girly I have to say. But I still adore you.

David Blacker said...

That sounded like something outta American Psycho.

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

Sach - I guess the clue is in your first line, the one where you say "ex girlfriend" !!

G12 - thank you, I too like to think I'm down with the kids. Me? Girly? Never!!

DB - I think that's a compliment, isn't it?