Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Doing the mental math...

I added another layer to my workouts last week. The mental component.

 Here was Monday's inner dialog:

"Since my shoulder is hurt I will not be in the free weight section just the machines and I will be upstairs after that on the cardio machines. So I should be fine working out at my normal time and normal gym."


"Drop Brent off at the airport and have my workout done by 6:30, should be in and out before there would be an issue."


"I can either go in late morning or early afternoon. Or I can skip it and just dance while I clean house since I'm still not going to be able to lift."

Why all of this adjustment in my head? Because there is a guy at the gym who has crossed in to my "possible creep" zone from the "friendly person" zone. Now he's probably still just a friendly person who has some personal space issues. But I don't know for sure. All I know is that my years of training have put me on edge when he is around.

What years of training you ask?

Well some of you ask. The rest of you know. My years of training of being a woman navigating the world.

See we all do it all the time. We watch where we park. We watch where we walk. We pay attention to how people talk to us. Where they look as well as what they say. We learn early to pay attention to that voice in the back of our heads that helps decide if we get in the elevator with you or we don't. If we can leave our drink with you when we go to the bathroom or if we don't. These are things we do. 

This guy? He is probably fine. Maybe. But maybe not.

I work out 5 days a week. A lot of people do the same. You become what I call nodding acquaintances with the people at the gym and then some people want to socialize as well. I don't encourage that. I am not ever going to enjoy going to the gym. I'm just not. I do it because of health reasons. I do it because if I am always going to be this size and always going to weigh the same I might as well have cool muscles while I do it. I do it because I love cake like a.... well like a Denise loves cake. (There is no other comparison that works, except maybe like a Denise loves cookies) I am never going to be one of those people that thinks of food as nothing but fuel. I love good food. It makes me happy. Like hum a little song and do a little chair dance happy. The gym is work so I can enjoy that. So I don't want to socialize at the gym. I want to do my work and get the heck out of there. 

But some people like to socialize. And as I was raised not to be rude I am polite to them. 

So when a guy who works out at the same time I do said "Hey we match!" I smiled and said, "On Monday's we wear purple." Not many guys are going to get this joke but still it needed to be made. And I didn't think much of it. Much. It was odd enough that I told Brent about it and he said, "He's totally flirting with you." Which I said was nonsense. One it's a lame way to flirt and two I look a hot mess at the gym so not really flirt ready. 

Then a week or so later on a Friday as I was struggling through my last set he walked by as he was putting his weights away. We chatted briefly about being glad it was Friday and how everyone seemed to be struggling that day and ready to stop working out. 

The next week he introduced himself. Okay fine.

Later that week as he walked past me and I didn't see him he reached out and squeezed my shoulder.


Okay, so I'm a very touchy feely person. Everyone who knows me knows I will pat your arm, touch your leg, rub your shoulder, but this is still a stranger I've said maybe 25 words to. And he squeezed my shoulder instead of just saying hi.

Then the last alarm. I was sitting in my car finishing my coffee when someone knocked on my windshield. I startled, looked up and there he was waving at me. 

So now he knows what car I drive.

This is the mental math women make. Is he just a super friendly guy? Or is he a potential issue? I know how much weight he can lift and it's more than I can so I know he's stronger than me, I know he knows what kind of car that I drive, I know he knows my name, I know he knows what time I usually work out. What I don't know is if he is okay or not okay.

So I will adjust my life for awhile to make sure I avoid him. Because though he might be perfectly fine. He might not. And I don't know. But my creep meter has been pinged and I would be stupid not to listen to that alarm bell.

And now the segue....

So this is why I shake my head when people want to talk about poor defenseless women in the bathroom with these creepy men. (Remember they want you to understand it's not about transgender people, it's about the creeps who will PRETEND to be transgender because they were somehow worried about breaking some sort of bathroom taboo on their way to break an actual law but now they are free to molest or rape at will) Women have been on guard in public restrooms for as long as they have been aware of the world. We are on guard in all small spaces. Or large ones. Or medium size ones. We walk to our cars with eyes scanning constantly. It used to be with keys clutched like Wolverine claws but now nobody has keys so we walk a little faster.  It's the reason why you have gun advocates saying women should walk through parking garages with their hand in their purse on their concealed carry weapon. Being a woman means we are on guard. It means we pay attention to things men don't. Who is parked next to us? Is that guy following us or just walking in the same direction? Was that an accidental bump on the Max or did that dude just touch my ass on purpose? We learn where to hit you so the strength disadvantage is nullified. We learn to listen to that inner voice.

You want to make the world a safer place? Great. Get on it. But it's a much bigger problem than the make believe one you are focusing on right now. 

Until that point women will continue to listen to their inner voices, watch for potential warning signals, park under street lamps, watch who is walking near us, go over the soft areas (arch of the foot, side of the knee, balls, throat, eyes, backwards head butt) and you continue to think of us as helpless and child like (yeah, don't get me started on the number of times my relationship to my child has been compared to Brent's relationship with me during this whole bathroom debate). Women have to be aware of potential dangers because for some reason unless it's wearing a dress the world isn't taking much notice.

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