Weight Watchers

James Simpson takes an honest look at what happens to men when a woman enters the weights section at gym and bows his head in shame

I would like to apologise to every woman who has ever stepped foot in the weights area at her local gym. It’s an unfortunate truth that putting an excess of mirrors, feats of strength and exposed biceps in the same room at the same time causes a fall of around 100 points in average male-IQ levels. Men who, by day, are capable of evolved conversations covering various topics from philosophy to bank charges, are reduced to saying things such as, ‘Boet, scope that honey over there’ when left unsupervised in the weights area for more than 10 minutes. And on behalf of normal men everywhere, I am deeply sorry.
What I do know is that your arrival in the weights area changes its appearance to a degree similar to the ‘before’ and ‘after’ photo in an advertisement for weight-gain formula. Supplement-fuelled athletic types gravitate towards you, while those whose elbows are the widest part of their arms move to the stretching section immediately. Conversations change, with guys who were just commenting to their gym buddies about how buggered they are loading on an extra weight or two and saying things such as, ‘Bru, I’m gonna pump this sonofabitch’ in a voice loud enough to carry the specified distance.
None of these reactions are anything to be proud of – hence the apology. On second thoughts, however, this apology is only aimed at some of you – specifically those who actually go to gym to work out, with part of your programme involving a stint in the weights section. You’re easily recognised by the fact that you’re wearing clothing designed for exercise, you’re not wearing any lipstick and your hair is in a ponytail. Another telltale sign is your slightly raised eyebrow when you see the man next to you thrust out his chest at an unlikely angle and look at you for a reaction.

Gym bunnies
There is unfortunately a breed of women who encourage this sort of behaviour, and they are at least partially responsible for the serious lack of intellectual ability you find in the weights area. They are known as gym bunnies. Each weights section is only capable of supporting two or three genuine gym bunnies, as long as none of them work out in the same area at the same time. They are recognised by the skimpy hot pants and sports bra they’re wearing, and the fact that, in the course of their work-out, their lipstick and hair remain immaculate despite it being 6am. Rather than actually work out, the gym bunny occupies a piece of equipment, from where she receives a series of fawning men with names such as Dino and Raul, all of whom are competing to see who can compliment her the most during their allotted three-minute audience. While this is going on, the rest of the men await their turn like obedient lapdogs, all the while commenting, ‘You know Leroy, that Dino oke thinks he’s such a legend with the chicks’. If it weren’t for gym bunnies, Dino and Raul might actually be fairly decent guys, rather than slathering idiots.

An age-old story
There is some justice in the world, however, as even gym bunnies must age – whether they admit to it or not. The ageing gym bunny is recognisable by the skimpy hot pants, sports bra and centimetre-thick layer of makeup she’s wearing. She’s deeply tanned. Her breasts are as perky as someone’s four decades younger. She has an undeniably great body for a woman her age but has missed one unavoidable truth – placing a 20-year-old’s breasts on a 60-year-old’s body is a little like sticking two Jelly Tots on a piece of biltong. There’s nothing wrong with Jelly Tots, and there’s nothing wrong with biltong. You just don’t eat them both at the same time. The beautiful thing about these women is that they prey on guys like Dino and Raul, squeezing their biceps and checking out their asses in the mirror. In turn, Dino and Raul wonder what they did to earn all this unwanted attention and raise their eyebrows as the aged gym bunny thrusts out her chest at an unlikely angle every time she walks past, looking at them for a reaction.
It’s like watching a badly choreographed ballet, and it truly makes going to gym worthwhile. Even if, like me, you’re watching it all from the stretching section.