Sunday, February 03, 2008

Should I Be Alarmed?

I'm no gym rat, but I have seen the inside of a gym a time or two. And, during a couple of these visits, I have even seen the occasional naked female body in the locker room. But, I have, never, ever seen a naked female body on the actual workout floor -- until today, when I saw two!

Up until minute 26 on the elliptical trainer, it was my basic run-of-the-mill workout in Brussels. As usual, I spent the first couple of minutes of the workout scoping out the apparel of my fellow gym mates. It never ceases to amaze me what women will wear to work out in. Now, please don't get me wrong, I'm not one of those women that show up to the gym in full makeup and matching workout clothes. Okay, that's a lie. Usually my workout clothes do match, but that's not the point. The point is, I have seen women come in straight off the Brussels' streets and start working out --- in their street clothes! I'm not exaggerating when I say that I've seen women run miles in sandals or flip-flops. But, I digress.

Twenty-six minutes into my workout, or, four minutes left in my workout if you are a "glass is half-full sort of person", I heard an alarm go off. (No, it was NOT the cardiac alarm on the treadmill!) It sounded exactly as if someone left through an emergency exit door. One would think, based on my previous experiences in Brussels, that I would immediately head for the exit -- clothes, coat, umbrella, and keys be damned. But, alas, if nothing else, I'm committed. I had 4 minutes to go and, short of flames shooting out of the ass of the woman wearing the leopard bra and matching thong with the white capris on the treadmill in front of me, I was going to go finish my workout! Besides, no one else seemed in the least bit concerned, including the employees. So, I just turned up my Ipod in an attempt to drown out the alarm and kept on going.

The alarm quit sounding somewhere during the middle of "Pour Some Sugar on Me." I finished my workout and headed downstairs to the weight room, pretty darn pleased with myself for not bailing on my workout. As I hit the bottom of the stairs, I looked to my left to see how crowded the weight machines were when I saw not one, but two, naked women standing in the middle of the weight room!

Under the circumstances, I tried not to stare, because, let's face it, gym etiquette dictates that you don't openly stare at other people's nakedness. Sneaking a peek is one thing; a blatant double-take quite the other. But, since they were naked in the middle of the weight room floor, I figured that bare boobs by the barbells pretty much trump just about any unspoken gym etiquette. So, yes, I did whip my head around and confirm that there were, in fact, two totally nude women hanging out in the weight room. Why? I had no idea. I just shook my head and chalked it up to the "expat experience", which is pretty much a catch-all category I've created for all things weird and bizarre that I encounter over here.

Perhaps I was hypersensitized to the situation, but, when I entered the locker room, I noticed that there were, in fact, a large number of women in various stages of undress -- most of them wearing towels and standing outside of the showers, which, by sheer coincidence, is where my locker was located. As I was trying to unlock the magnetic lock on my locker with my membership card, I couldn't help but notice a peculiar smell permeating the locker room. It is a smell that I'm sure anyone who has ever plugged a US blowdryer into a European socket would recognize.

When, after about six tries, my locker would not open no matter which direction I swiped my card, I realized that no one was able to get in their lockers, hence all the (mostly) towel-clad women standing in the locker room, most of whom were staring at me trying to get into my locker. Apparently, there was a fire in the showers (yes, you read that right --- a F-I-R-E in the showers!) which short-circuited the system that controls access to the lockers.

I have to admit, the situation sparked several questions, including:
  • How do you start a fire in a shower?
  • How does a fire in a shower room wipe out a magnetic locking system in the adjacent area?
  • Why are there two naked women in the weight room?
Unfortunately, I have no answers for you. But, I now know where the emergency exits are in the gym and what the fire alarm sounds like!


Anonymous V-Grrrl said...

Completely cracking up over here. Reminds me of when I went to the Grimbergen Spa and was trying to get something out of my lower level locker when the guy next to me dropped his pants. I thought he had a swimsuit on underneath, but no, those were colored bikini briefs in my face. I'm just glad he didn't peel them off while I was bent down at eye level.

8:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

should we assume that you're talking about one of those Passage Fitness women only gyms? No - of course not! We're in Belgium for Pete's sake..

7:08 PM  
Blogger Cindy Lane said...

Hmm, I don't know how to interpret Anonymous' comment. Back in ninth grade, Jody Shafer did write me a note calling me a "prude", but, "mamaprude" is a first for me. I wonder, is it a step up???

8:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

nonono - I was SIGNING my comment mamaprude. That's me all right. You are much more evolved

3:45 PM  
Blogger Cindy Lane said...

Thanks for the clarification! And, to think, I was just getting used to calling myself "mamaprude"!

6:36 PM  

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