The Tempest Online™

~ Sic gorgiamus allos subjectatos nunc. ~

Where the Boys Are

Posted by Daniel on November 21, 2006

Working out has been a part of my life, off and on, for almost 20 years. I’ve never been fanatical, but usually I have been steady, never really trying to achieve perfection as much as stave off destruction. Forever worrying about my weight (which is not just vanity, having to watch our weight runs in the family along with it’s related health problems) along with an early poor self image steered me toward the gym– not so coincidentally about the time I burst forth from the “closet womb” (at the tender age of 21).

I belong to a gym that’s part of a well known national chain. The closest branch to us is on the way home from work, and an old friend (who still works for the chain) suggested I make the move from my old gym (another chain) to theirs.

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingThere’s a good mix of people, with a lot of handsome 20-30 somethings, with a LOT of hunky young men. Odds being what there are, a few of them are likely gay, in fact I can think of 3 or 4. I haven’t really had any exchanges with them, not more than the nod or hello. I like to get in, get my workout done, and get home. Don’t get me wrong, the eye candy is nice, but it’s just that-eye candy. Besides, I’m not one to overtly stare and make these poor Missouri hunks nervous.

So the exchange I had with a guy at the gym today took me by surprise. The guy’s name is Jack, but to preserve his anonymity we’ll call him JoJo.

Today’s gym ensemble I had on was blue sweatpants and a sleeveless T-shirt. The T was bought on our San Francisco trip, and has a great embroidery of the Golden Gate with “San Francisco” wrapped through and around it, and of course “California” underneath. It’s dark blue.

Now, JoJo has said the random blurb in the past, and gives off a faintly nervous, slightly creepy (though not threatening) vibe. If anything, I thought he might be in the family-and today’s exchange only muddies the waters. I would describe him as maybe late 30s early 40s, he has what we used to call a Prince Valiant style haircut, and looks more than a bit like a tired Dennis the Menace.

So, I have done a couple of machines and decide to do a little free weights, when I turn and JoJo is looking at me.

JoJo: “Nice shirt, dude.”
(Dude. Keyword for establishing non-threatening heterosexual male contact.)
Me: “Umm, thanks.”
(Do you SEE the huge SAN FRANCISCO on my chest?)
JoJo: “I don’t know about San Francisco, though”.
Me: “Really?” (I’m afraid where this is going.)
JoJo: “Yeah, don’t they have a lot of gays who hang out there?” (Said with a very DEFINITE sneer)
(Oh nice one. Yes, they’re hanging from every light pole.)
Me: “Yes, I believe they do. (And honestly, I did not smirk.) I’ve heard they’re in New York too.”
JoJo: “Is it San Francisco or (here I asked him to repeat himself, and still didn’t understand the place he was naming)”
Me: “Yeah, I’ve heard that too.”
JoJo: “Yeah.”

I went back to working out. I wished like hell at that point I’d had at least one person I know there because I had to relate this IMMEDIATELY. Where’s Mike (from my office)??? (That reminds me, Mike has been slacking off lately!) I found that one woman who briefly chatted with me on the cross trainer, but she was talking to guys on either side of her on the exercise bikes.

So I had to analyze it on my own, until I got home to make a blog entry out of the experience. Was this the most awkwardly presented clocking EVER, or is JoJo actually a repressed homophobe? Or is this the way suburban gay men are doing it now, self loathing as a come on? We used to know by a certain look, a carefully phrased question…but I have been out of the dating scene (thankfully) for quite awhile.

It may just be one of those moments inside the mind of someone working through their own demons–while working out on the gym floor.


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