Positive Body Image Turns to Spandex
I have no problem with people wearing what makes them feel comfortable. In fact, I applaud those who are comfortable enough in their own skin to give little or no regard to what others might think. Still, there are times when someone’s choice makes me a tad uncomfortable
Sure, I realize that discomfort is the result of my own biases and prejudices, and as such, is my problem. But when a man at the gym is wearing a barely waist length t-shirt over spandex leggings and sitting face forward on a machine in front of me man spreading, I’m to say the least, perplexed. Where the heck do I focus my eyes??? I try the ceiling, one of the ever-present TV screens that’s too far from where I sit to actually follow the program, and the knots on my sneakers. Still, I feel a tad uncomfortable imagining what I’ll see if I accidentally look in the natural direction, straight ahead. EGAD!
Is my inherently prudish upbringing causing me to overreact? I can’t say I find the look attractive nor do I feel I want or need to judge. And yet—where do I look???
Is it Working Out, or Showing Off?
As if I wasn’t already struggling to maintain my composure, while keeping my vision strictly averted, the object of my discomfort decided to make things more challenging. He put one foot up on a nearby machine, placed the other foot across his knee, and (ostensibly) started stretching his thigh muscle. Really? are you trying to get people to look at your package? Perhaps it’s time to bring back the Elizabethan codpiece.
The attempted peep-show did make me understand why most men wear a pair of baggy shorts over their spandex leggings. Frankly, this was the first time I noticed someone of the male persuasion wearing them alone.
Maybe this is a new mating ritual I’m unfamiliar with. But please, there are older people using the gym! Did he ever consider our hearts? Even during the streaking years of my youth, parts were not so blatantly displayed!
Giving him the benefit of the doubt on several points:
- His display wasn’t meant for me
- It is some new fangled dating ritual
- His lack of awareness that some of us are older and more fragile than we seem (pressing of 35-pound free weights notwithstanding)
Etiquette Challenged in Today’s Social Environment
I’m left to wonder what the proper etiquette is when presented with this human version of a peacock strutting his stuff for the benefit of whoever might have caught his eye. Do I feign indifference? Pretend I don’t notice his attire and performance? (I can’t even manage that when some of the more dramatic body builders are in evidence, so how am I supposed to remain visage neutral here?) Smile encouragingly?
I know the world is changing rapidly, and with it, the rules of engagement, but perhaps someone could create a website or something where we could search those ever-changing rules? I know I’d subscribe if only to be able to safely navigate these social rapids and emerge with my dignity reasonably intact.
Heaven knows I leave my dignity on the floor quite well when left to my own devices. I can miss a chair or stair with the best of them, landing on my, thankfully well padded bottom; usually with a large audience to witness my epic-ly ungraceful launching and landing. (I knew there was a reason the Universe challenged me so stringently to keep some of that padding firmly in place!) In truth, I don’t even need an obstacle. I can trip over my own feet though they’ve been attached to my legs for decades. I know where they are!
Could There be an App for That?
The website could be a kind of Snopes for social skills. If you’re not sure how to behave in a certain situation, you could type it into the search box and you’d be guided safely through the perils and pitfalls with easy-to-follow, step-by-step instructions. Once the site took hold, they could even create an app so you could access their wisdom from anywhere with just a few keystrokes.
In this case, I could type in “men in spandex+gym” and get expert guidance, not only regarding my part in the vignette, but even a little history so I’ll understand the nature and intent of the gentleman in question.
Maybe there could even be one done in reverse so the younger generation might understand some of the things my generation takes for granted, but which confound those raised in these faster-paced times. I’d be happy to offer my services as a consultant for that part of the website and subsequent app.
Sometimes You Have to Bury Your Face in Your Phone to Save It
Still and all, I have to be grateful for some innate code of behavior, and the Notes app on my phone which allowed me to, at least in the moment, keep my thoughts and feelings to myself. When all else fails, I type observations such as these into my phone where I ultimately email it to myself and turn it into a blog post.
In fact, more than a few of my posts in the last year began while I was sitting on a machine or weight bench, resting between sets. There’s something about physical exertion which gets my creative juices flowing.
Don’t judge me too harshly. I’m writing at least 3 blog posts a week just for my own sites. Not to mention what I’m writing for Elephant Journal, Medium, and my clients. I have to take the material and inspiration when and where it comes. This particular topic led to a lively and often hilarious discussion on Facebook. How could I not bring it here and expand on the initial trigger?
Live, Laugh, and Maybe Even Love
I believe life flows better with ample doses of laughter. Often the best source of laughter is our own reactions to the world and its inhabitants. Around us is a melting pot of cultures, a cacophony of generational differences, and a vibrant array of people with varying levels of self-image and self-confidence.
With some, I think: Man, I wish I had the self-confidence to pull that off. I admire him/her for doing what feels right to them! With others, like the one in today’s story, I’ll be thinking: How do I respond/react here? There’s nothing in my portfolio of behavior which guides me through this one. Is feigned indifference my best bet? I’m certain busting out laughing or running away screaming are inappropriate in this situation, but on a visceral level, that’s what I want to do!
Yet somehow I manage to make it through most days neither insulting nor humiliating anyone. So I guess if I’m not exactly getting it right, I’m not getting it horribly wrong either. Sometimes, we have to be grateful for the small wins.
Ready to Hire a Ghostwriter?
Are you looking for fun, engaging content to attract your clients and prospects to your website? Would you rather clean toilets than write a blog post a month, much less 4 or more in order to increase traffic? If this sounds familiar and you’re ready to streamline your life and give your business space to grow and thrive, CONTACT ME and let’s talk!
Gratitude Makes My World Go Right
My gratitudes today are:
- I’m grateful for the Notes function on my phone. It’s kept me out of trouble on many occasions while saving me from having to dredge up material for a blog post.
- I’m grateful for my friends who seem to relate to my weird sense of humor, and even build on it with their own.
- I’m grateful for people. Where else would I find inspiration for what I write? We all have our weirdnesses and oddities and that’s what makes life interesting.
- I’m grateful for a job which lets me work from home. I do better with carefully regulated people time (unless dancing is involved) and lots of alone time with my cats, pounding away on the keyboard, or reading, or learning.
- I’m grateful for abundance; clients, observations, motivation, inspiration, friendship, dance nights, new experiences, unconventional work schedules, workouts, increasing strength, aches and pains that remind me I’m alive and well, peace, harmony, health, philanthropy, and prosperity.
Love and Light
About the Author
Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, ghostwriter, and advocate for cats. Sheri believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. Her mission is to Make Vulnerable Beautiful and help entrepreneurs touch the souls of their readers and clients so they can increase their impact and their income. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information. You can also find her on Facebook Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author. And check out her new group, Putting Your Whole Heart Forward.
Be sure to watch this space for news of the upcoming release of “Life Torn Asunder: Rebuilding After Suicide”.