It’s normal to want to look cool. Cool communicates a confident handle on life – an ability to adapt to any situation, overcome massive obstacles, make a ton of cash, dress well and, most importantly, act all nonplussed in the face of massive adversity despite wanting to totally freak out and vomit.
This is best exemplified by the newfound universal human tendency to, with an air of almost vapid nonchalance, look busy on an iPhone while waiting in line for the restroom at a restaurant or bar, which effectively stifles the incredible, urgent, burning, panicked need to pee. Which is what cool is all about – stifling panic and looking cool while doing so.
Thus, cool is really all about charlatanism, smoke and mirrors, and a little bit of distraction from the truth. That’s why, in addition to the pee thing, humans perform all sorts of weird antics to look cool, including middle-aged people donning flat-billed baseball caps, bar owners wearing sunglasses inside, and anyone remotely associated with the technology industry driving those jellybean-shaped Tesla electro cars.
(Speaking of which, have you seen the size of the screen in one of those things? It looks like someone left their laptop on the dashboard. While we all wish life was more like The Fifth Element – or really anything with Milla Jovovich – designing cars that look like spaceships in an effort to make science fiction a reality just isn’t going to work; mostly because some people are actually have good taste…and maybe secretly want one real bad but are currently stuck with a forest green Honda Odyssey.)
But with this cool chicanery comes vast amounts of entertainment, and there’s no better place to be entertained than your local (preferably independently owned because the corporate ones are really just so lame and meathead-y what with all the “Hey brah, get ripped, this and that” business), gym.
All sorts of people go to the gym, and it’s fun to stare at them:
- 22-32-year-old people looking for someone to ask out
- 40-year-olds trying to reignite some ancient athletic ability
- Any person trying to lose weight
- Really athletic people
- Really obsessive people
- Senior citizens
- Personal trainers trying to justify lengthy certification processes
- That’s it
Within this inherent diversity lies the commonality of looking cool while sweating and possibly grunting, excluding the senior citizens; nobody knows what they’re doing there. This is because people at the gym think everyone else is always looking at them. Which they are, of course, especially if the subject is really attractive. Really attractive people are screwed, given the attention they garner. It’s exhausting.
According to several recent studies, the other commonality within gym populations is the incredible lengths taken to hide what most certainly are universal bodily functions because those are decidedly uncool in public, the top three being:
Gross right? The top three subsequent remedies being:
- Constant toweling off
- Severe glute clenching or finding an empty corner to stand in and look busy doing something (there was a tie)
- Forcing the burp out the nose despite the painful head rush
Regardless of the socially required inhibition of internal systems, folks still go to the gym because they won’t look good if they don’t work out, which is not cool. They will also die. Die from stress. Die from pop tarts. Die from loneliness. Somehow they’ll die. If not now, at least in several decades. It’s inevitable. But in the short term, this all explains why they suffer through the pain of kettlebell workouts, bench pressing, treadmills, weird stretching rituals involving elastic bands, pull-ups, and the plank (that isometric core exercise where one maintains a similar position to a push-up for the maximum possible time).
Also, secretly, the most popular activity at a gym (according to exit polling), right after openly ogling attractive people, is getting a drink of water from the water fountain. This is because when someone is drinking water at the water fountain, they can stop working out for a few seconds and not be miserable.
Other favorite gym activities include:
- Searching for the right song on iTunes that will inspire that extra rep, lift that heavier wait, or drown out screams coming from the cardio equipment
- Leaving the gym to go home and lie down
- Looking in the mirror, particularly men wearing those strange, almost side-less shirts that look like the arm holes got stretched out by Shaquille O’Neil
- Trying to start a conversation with the staff, who seem generally antisocial to people not also wearing a black logoed polo shirt and trying to restock the towels
The best gyms still have wheatgrass bars from the ’80s where eventually a staff member shows up and blends the green blades into a teeny shot, and people drink it and wonder why they just did that. Other than wheatgrass bars, the best gyms also have saunas that make users wonder whether or not people have sex in them and subsequently sit on a towel.
But we’re off track here. The point is that looking cool actually, ironically, results in ridiculous behavior that’s incredibly fun to watch. And gyms are cool because they keep people in shape and not sitting at their desks or on their couches wondering why they look and feel terrible. So even though it’s a hot mess in there, supporting local gyms and the human body’s overall health is a good idea. Just try to avoid wearing those giant-armhole shirts – they’re just not cool.