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An apology to the lady at the gym

August 5, 2012
By KELLY VAN DE WALLE (vandkel@hotmail.com) , Times-Republican

Dear Woman Using the Thigh Squeezer Machine That I Accidentally Glanced

At In The Eyeballs,

First off, I have to say, my bad. My complete and total bad.

I know unspoken gym protocol in this situation is to ignore your legs opening and closing like it is a completely normal activity. In fact, I know when this exercise is being performed I'm to ignore you as a human person altogether and instead pretend there's a ghost trying to get trim.

In my defense, the machine I was working on was literally RIGHT NEXT TO YOURS. If we both remember correctly, I was using my machine before you sat down. So maybe you can take some of the blame here? No? OK! Haha! A little joke there to lighten the tension.

OK, yes, when you sat down next to me I may have switched to considerably heavier weight on the wide-bar-pull-downy-machine (I don't know what it's called) as I attempted to impress you with my lumberjack man strength.

"Does his heart pump blood or pure, uncut testosterone?" I'm sure you were thinking to yourself after "Is this guy OK?"

I mean, sure, I couldn't move the weight more than a couple of inches thereafter, even after grunting like a pregnant polar bear, but the point is you were severely impressed.

Let's get to the issue. I'll set the scene. I was finishing my last set or rep or whatever gym term. You were using the machine next to me. I looked at you.

Children wept. Monks sang dirges. Fields burned.

Alarm klaxons went off in my head. I didn't know what to do once our eyes accidentally met. It was like you were a lion and I, a sweaty meerkat. Should I flee? Hide behind the treadmill? I didn't know if I was going to turn to stone or what. However, now that I think about it, that only happens if you're Medusa or a basilisk, which you clearly are not. Hey, do you like Harry Potter? That might be a nice thing we talk about sometime.

Here is what was happening with me while I was waiting for you to make the next move:

Brain: "LOOK AWAY! YOU'RE STARING TOO LONG! WHAT ARE YOU DOING!?"

Eyes: "WE'RE NOT LISTENING! WE. ARE. DOING. THIS! NON-BLINKING EYES FOREVERRR!!"

I have to apologize for the staring and then especially the slow widening of my eyes as the discomfort between us grew. You probably couldn't tell, but I wasn't being creepy. I was an opossum that doesn't know how to freak out properly.

The problem is, there's really not a single acceptable expression in this situation - believe me, I thought of them all. So I chose to smile to get through our uncomfortable impromptu staring contest.

The one thing I am certain of is that I REALLY shouldn't have added that awkward thumbs-up toward the end. You were well within your rights giving me the dirty glare.

Look, we're both adults here, we can discuss this as such; that exercise is an unnatural movement. I'm sure if you saw me standing in front of a mirror vigorously doing one-arm Shake Weight reps you'd look too. Don't worry; I'm not going to do that. I keep my Shake Weight at home in a dark basement crypt so I can do them in private with the shame they rightfully deserve.

Incidentally, it looks like you were really moving some weight there! How strong are your thighs these days? Can you bust a watermelon in half? If not, what types of fruit do you think you can crush down there?

Haha. Just joking. It feels good to laugh, doesn't it?

In retrospect, getting on the machine right after you - BECAUSE I WAS CURIOUS ABOUT IT - probably didn't help my case, that case being a well-adjusted, normal non-creeper.

I know now why I've never seen a guy do this exercise in his life: you cannot look cool or feel like a man when you're alternately squeezing your thighs together as if practicing for child birth. I think I pulled something, likely my uterus.

Wow. I hadn't meant to use the word uterus in this apology.

You know when I smiled and waved cheerfully to get your attention like we were college sorority girls that hadn't seen each other for 10 years? I'm sure you do. Look, it was either this or err the other way and approach with a look of grave concern which might be misinterpreted as threatening. I think I chose correctly. Ha ha! I'm sorry you left before I had a chance to talk to you and apologize, though. I hope I didn't chase you away, though you were moving pretty fast. Fast like a meerkat. Do you watch Animal Planet?

In conclusion, I hope you don't mind me giving you this apology as cut out letters from magazines held together with gauze and placed under your windshield wiper. I didn't have a pen on me. This is totally normal behavior though! Hopefully we can put this entire business behind us and continue molding our bodies into remarkable shape!

That's not to say yours already isn't. It's very nice for your age. Not that you're old!

Oh dear.

Expect an apology letter for this last remark soon.

Deepest condolences,

-Your non-creepy gym partner

P.S. I think I can call us "partners" now after all this, don't you? We've been through an awful lot. I'm sure we'll look back at this and laugh. Tomorrow maybe?

---

Kelly Van De Walle is the senior creative & marketing writer for Briscoe14 Communications (www.briscoe14.com). He can be reached at vandkel@hotmail.com or via basement Shake Weight crypt of shame. Follow Kelly on Twitter @pancake_bunny or he will accidentally make you uncomfortable.

 
 

 

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