Thursday, June 12, 2014

Fanning The Flaming

A while back I mentioned how my oh so gay gym was closed a week for "renovation". During that time I visited other LA Fitness locations which provided a preview of the state-of-the-art technology incorporating the latest breakthroughs in exercise kinesiology, biophysiometry and iPhone connectivity that I was soon to enjoy when my own gym re-opened.

Futuristic wonders like treadmills with touch-sensitive HD displays which allowed me to catch up on Judge Judy or – better yet – simulate the experience of running along a winding trail beside a forest stream, complete with simulated butterflies fluttering on a refreshing breeze. Only the breeze wasn't simulated. Each treadmill had its own ventilation system. Built in.

When my long wait was over and my gay LA Fitness reopened, I have to admit to being a little underwhelmed. All they did was move stuff around. And yes, we did get new treadmills. Well, we got different treadmills. But the "new" treadmills are even more basic than the ones we had before.

I feel like I'm running backwards.
No HD display. No television tuner. No built-in fan. Not even so much as an iOS/Android companion app. Where the old treadmill at least had an oval of red blinking lights to show my position on a virtual quarter-mile track while text prompts berated me like my high school gym teacher, this electro-mechanical relic has a quaint row of seven-segment LEDs. Numbers. Like I'm some kind of mathematician or accountant.

I used to challenge myself to working out at an incline until I reached my virtual elevation goal of 1000 feet. But I no longer have access to that sort of information. Speed, time, distance and incline. That's it. That's all they think I need to know. It was good enough for gramps so suck it up crybaby.

Why wouldn't the gayest gym in the chain get the latest equipment available rather than what appears to be hand-me-downs from a senior center fire sale? I'm surprised they didn't pick up a few of those old jiggly belt machines while they were at it.

Perhaps a better question is: why do so many of us still put up with this place? I know the answer for me is location. It's the closest gym to my house that doesn't have a boxing ring or make me flip tractor tires in public. And it doesn't hurt that the boys are, for the most part, pretty. But recent events have me reconsidering my slavish devotion to convenience and eye-candy. Especially since the so-called renovation didn't even touch the locker room.

When they announced the impending renovation, my first thought was: Finally! They're going to replace that worn-out, dirty, smelly industrial wall-to-wall carpeting in the locker room with tile! Or linoleum. Or some other suitable material that can be sanitized without a flame-thrower. I pictured travertine. I can't even say for sure what travertine is, it just sounds like something a gay gym locker room deserves.

Imagine my disappointment upon reentering the gayest non-bathhouse-sorta locker room in Midtown to find the same soggy, musty grey carpeting. Ugh. There's not enough Tinactin in the universe to convince me to go barefoot in there.

And that fan. While it's 2014 and my treadmill remains embarrassingly fanless, that same old 32-inch portable industrial fan continues its futile mission of keeping carpet moisture, bacteria and toenail fungus at bay.

Don't get me wrong, I'm sure the locker room situation would be much worse without the fan. It's just that the air stream generated by this industrial-sized blower invites an unsavory element to what by all rights should otherwise be a pleasant naked space. I call them "the ball dryers".

There's nothing quite as unsettling as turning the corner to confront the spectacle of an old scrotum flapping like a windsock.

Yes, I think I'm ready to try another gym.

Dramatic reenactment of a recent locker room visual.
It has been edited for the benefit of those who are reading this at work.
Or have a weak constitution.


  1. I smile at the treadmill that simulates outdoors while you never have to take a step outside to run. I'm a little more old school w the equipment as most of it are just weights and bikes anyways. I don't even know what a MET is let alone the number attached to my activity.

    I do look at the men in between sets, at least until they spot me spotting them - but not in that weight-lifting way.

    ...and no worries, I'm sure whatever gym you end up at will now be the gayest gym in Atlanta. No offense, of course. :)

    1. And I've got a whole outdoor vs. indoor running post in my head. :)

    2. "none taken" (with an exclamation point. nicely done). Sounds like there "might" be some offense taken. :-)

      I'll wait to your actual written piece on indoor/outdoor to comment. I've had thoughts but not enough for a whole post.

  2. Duh! Can't believe I left out the emoticon! :^o

    No offense taken! :-)

  3. What about the gym by your pool? It even comes with its own "lurker" in the afternoons during the week. (Guy who wanders the property but never see him doing maintence.)

  4. But gay gyms have eye candy, and the benefit of a post workout bj in the sauna.... how can you give all THAT up?