Awkward Encounters of the Aesthetically Inspired

I pay a company to go into a room and lift things. Why? I don’t know. I just do. This place is Fitness First, and I do it most likely because I have deeply ingrained body image issues stemming from an unhappy childhood primary school.

I’ve got to give it to myself, I’m not a big big girl. I’m actually a morbidly obese whale very normal. But I’m bigger than I can accept and validate myself for prefer. That’s why I work out nowadays. Here’s douchy proof of the fact that I’m now growing building muscle and toning my body.

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See? Doesn’t it just scream ‘VALIDATE ME!’

I think it does. That’s why I take stupid selfies of myself and my tuck-shop arms.

Hear me out. Compliments and me are not a good combination. The state of praise is inherently strange for me, not only to give but to receive. If you want to make me uncomfortable, give me praise. It’s an honest truth of an Asian upbringing and the mentality of ‘If a bridge is only 98% built, you have not succeeded – just like your exam result’. I was probably 11 when that mentality shifted in my parents. You know, when I first started showing suicidal tendencies without realising it (ah, the beauty of hindsight!).

This is why I also don’t take courageous advancements by suitors very well.

Cut to me deadlifting 15s. Sumo stance, sweating my face off, headphones pumping Doom Dada and about to further ruin my back. Here’s even a picture from that night.

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Then along comes ‘Ichi’.

Two guys are lifting in the corner – a kid who looks like he’s lifted once in his whole life teaching his thin, tall mate how to lift. It was interesting. Ichi slides up next to the two guys on a bench. I see him. I think he’s part of the corner-posse.

After a set, I rest.

“Can I help you with your deadlifts?”

I lift my booming headphone, wondering whether I had heard that correctly, “Sorry?”

He repeats, “Did you need a spotter? Can I spot for you?”

/cue idiot face.

“No, I’m fine, thanks.” I’m only doing 55 anyway. The headphones go back on, Tom’s voice in my ear, ‘Come on! Don’t let that heart rate drop!’

My wimpy gloves curl around the bar again.

“How long do you rest in between?”

I remove my headphone again, slightly annoyed, “Not long.”

“Not long? How long? Like a minute?”

“Less.” Headphones on again.

He says something else, but I’m halfway up. I see him slink away and talk to Christian, one of the bigger units at the gym. He thanks him and says he’ll see him again.

Then it hits me.

He was hitting on me.

Immediately, I start to look for him, not because I’m interested but because I’m an idiot.

A month later, I haven’t seen him since. I won’t lie, I feel bad. I feel like he was a newcomer looking to maybe even make some friends. I’m not marriage material, nor do I believe I ever will be. But that doesn’t prevent me from making friends.

Ah, the joys of comedic social ineptitude.

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