In the gym I want to be a stud. I lay on the floor when I stretch and stand up with black stuff from the mats clinging to my sweaty back, and imprints from the mat’s pattern on my arms. My hair is untamed and my face is red and I make a lot of unfeminine sounds. I sport smeary chalkprints on my clothes and skin, and I like the music loud and I want to lift the heaviest weights I can. I make terrible faces when things hurt, and I kind of like not worrying about looking pretty or being nice. That’s for later and other places and people. I don’t want to be a princess in the gym.
“Princesses talk about abs” Ben told me when I beseeched him for abs work. Coaches know more about human psychology than is fair. I can’t argue with that or I’m being a princess. And while I can be a princess in some (ok, many) parts of my life –when I’m sipping girly cocktails or using the proper silverware at a posh dinner, or insisting on three pillows and a fan and pristine sheets in order to sleep — I can’t be a princess and a stud at the same time.
So in the gym it’s stud. Princesses don’t keep going back to the chin-up bar when their arms are quivering noodles, trying to get that last rep. They don’t dig lacrosse balls into the spot that will make them swear with pain. They don’t ask to hold 90 pounds while stretched between two benches.
And one of the things I love best about the gym is that even though I really am all kinds of ridiculous princess outside, in there — as long as I’m not asking for ab work — I can be a stud (pink shorts and all).