College gyms are kind of a mixed bag. You can get lucky and find a handful of power racks somewhere in the back, like mine, or you can get dumbbells and treadmills and not much else. But that's not what this is about.

College students go to college gyms. This means frat guys and sorority girls, nerds and the odd jock or two. You see all sorts of fun stuff.

There's one girl in particular I'm thinking of right now. She is flawless, physically. Lean, "fit" under the definition of the word by Cosmopolitan, but femininely curvaceous. Svelte I think is the correct term. I'll drop the bullshit. She's a fox. I'm probably unapproachable in a gym environment but if she ever spoke to me I don't think I could handle it. This may or may not be an exaggeration for the purposes of this write up. I'm a big fan of hyperbole.

She was in the "Wellness Center," the title of the gym open to all students, almost as much as I was, doing a lot of different things, cardio, dumbbells, crunches, I'm sure you know what a Typical Girl Workout looks like. I got the impression that she worked hard in the gym. It's probably safe to assume she had a fairly controlled diet, too. She was a little too thin, would probably look even better with a little more mass spread around on her, but she looked great, period.

One day I walked out into the hallway to grab a drink from the fountain and she was standing out there with one of the desk guys, a Caribbean who did not like me because I snuck in chalk when it was against the rules. I'm not a stalker or anything but you can't really help but over hear a conversation from twenty feet away -

"I'm just not happy with my body and the way it is. Plastic surgery is the only thing that will make me look the way I want."

* * *

I have a Taiwanese-American friend, a really cute girl, vibrant, weird in a way that makes her approachable, and a name that suits her perfectly - "Ling." Disgustingly cute. Induces-inexplicable-urges-to-kill-furry-animals cute.

She's a little taller than me and all of 120 or 130lbs. Perfectly healthy weight. Also could be described as "svelte," though because she is of Asian ethnicity she is predictably lacking in certain departments but really, that's OK, a healthy body is always attractive.

We talk about our workouts sometimes. She always tells me, "I had the most amazing ab workout yesterday and now you can sort of feel my abs. Here, feel," and she will make a funny face, kind of like she's taking a dump because she's flexing her abdominals, and she'll take my hand and make me poke around. Real dumb, but real funny.

When she talks about how she wants to look I always get frustrated. "If I could just get to 110lbs, I could be happy with my body."

"But don't you like the way you look now?"

"I do. But the number on the scale makes me feel fat."

"If you like the way you look, why does the number matter? It's just a number."

"I know but I'd just be happy if one day I got on my scale and it said 110."

Ad infinitum.

* * *

Girls frequently report that they feel awkward and out of place in gyms.

"I'm afraid it will look like I don't know what I'm doing."

What they fail to realize is that almost nobody knows what they're doing.

* * *

A couple years ago Wichita Falls Weightlifting and the Midwestern State University Weightlifting Team were essentially synonymous, the only difference was the school age kids affiliated with the former. There were actually a handful of girls who lifted competitively, Frances tried it out for a while but eventually stopped because "I didn't like the things it was doing to my body. I swear my thighs were getting bigger so I just stopped." Author's note, folks, bigger thighs on girls is almost always awesome.

The girls who tried hard always had very solid technique. Females will always pay close attention to detail. There was one chick, somewhere between 140lbs and 150lbs, who could snatch 176lbs on a regular basis, which wasn't blow me away amazing, but it was a sign of hard work, it was a sign of years spent under the bar, tearing calluses, scraping shins, dealing with injuries. Watching her lift was always inspiring, because she seemed to have this very well-rehearsed knowledge of where she and the bar needed to be in relation to each other and what needed to happen to make a good lift.

She was kind of hot. Her thighs were awesome. Neoprene and lycra never looked so good on a woman's legs.

She was also kind of arrogant. I can't think of the feminine term for over-confidence right now. Back then they used video analysis a lot to critique their form and compare it to others - there was one time she was shown a clip of one of the top lifters in her class.

Her comment was, "She starts with her hips too high and she jumps forward a lot." The thing is, a 150lbs girl lifting over 200lbs from the floor to arm's length overhead means that she's doing more things right than wrong.

A friend of mine described her behavior as, "She thinks she's up here, but she's really down here."

That was one of the first times I met a girl who had a chip on her shoulder, and actually had a decent reason for it. She acted like she was too good to talk to me for a really long time. I thought it was pretty sexy.

* * *

There are a lot of girls in the gym who either pretend that they're invisible or that no one else is there. Older women do this a lot. Go through their workout, count out the reps, very measured and rhythmic breathing, females will always get lost in the details. When younger girls do it they seem snobby, like a kind of "I dislike everyone" affectation with their noses in the air. Or maybe it's just towards me.

That was mostly a joke. Chances are they're as self-conscious as me. I'm guessing that's why they act the way they do.

There are also certain types of girls in gyms who like to watch people.

They'll find a quiet corner somewhere, stretch a little bit, do some sit ups or crunches, and the whole time they're watching people. Sometimes they're just blatantly staring, either because the guy is hot or because he's doing something weird or cool. Maybe they're staring at a girl, perhaps out of envy, because they have such a beautiful body, because they're so strong. Or maybe silently judging her. Other times they've got this real pensive look on their faces, and I'm always wondering what's going on in their head. And then I make eye contact with them on accident and we both pretend we saw nothing.

* * *

Girls always look good in their gym wear. Even if they say they don't, they do. It's like when they say they look retarded in glasses, but actually get hotter. Girls don't know how good they look.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.