Wednesday, May 21, 2008
One is often confronted with the disinterested guys at the front desk who can barely break from their "Sup bro's" and "That bitch is fine" conversations amongst themselves to grunt an "Enjoy your workout" from their pie-holes as they scan your card, while elbowing their co-workers nearby.
Then, as you pass the workout room, you witness the usual guys looking in the mirror, smiling, flexing and flirting with themselves in between quick checks on their cellphones for "important" text messages that seem to arrive every five minutes, notated by the theme song to "Smack my bitch up" chirping from their ever-present lifeline devices resting on the workout bench behind them.
Throw in the random groups of guys who just hang around one machine talking to each other for hours, the biker-guys who frown and glare at anyone who even attempts to walk past a machine they happen to be sitting on....to the no-necks (steriod boys) growling and groaning like crazed wildebeests in the center of everyone as they attempt to lift an entire rack of weights without snapping in half...and you're left with the rest of us.
The ones just trying to get our workout done and over with so we can return to our regular lives amongst the unwashed.
However...today I witnessed a glimmer of hope for my people.
As I was treading air with the rest of the elliptical machine kids, I overheard a conversation between two very straight guys, maybe in their early 30's, ellipticizing next to me. I pretended to be watching whatever was on the TV monitor in front of me, while slyly Bionic Womaning my imaginary hair away from my ear to get a better listen to their intense conversation.
As I quickly looked around to make sure that I was actually at the gym and not part of some new hidden camera show, his friend responded and gave him very sound words of encouragement and support.
Then, the first guy said to his friend "And, I know this might sound gay, but I don't care....I am a better husband to my wife, because of my relationship with you. I mean that."
If I hadn't been hanging on to the ever-moving hand supports of the machine, I would have probably lost my balance and flown head-over-ass to the front of my magical running machine.
Who are these men and what have they done with the stereotypical non-communicating cave-dwellers that have been around for centuries?
The friend said "Really" and they both got into this conversation about how their friendship and ability to talk about stuff like this with one another has helped both of them in their relationships and life.
As much as it is still a shame that straight guys usually feel that expressing honest emotion to another man is considered "gay", I do appreciate the baby steps and the "but I don't care" that followed his obligitory emotional disclaimer.
It took all of my willpower not to turn to them both and say "You guys are a rare breed and I hope you both continue to do this for each other for the rest of your lives." But, I didn't. Mainly because I thought it would be intrusive...or that one of them might punch me in the head.
Regardless...it gave me a bit of hope for men.
Hope that there might actually be men out there who have grown enough mentally and emotionally to understand the power of communication and the value that it can bring to their relationships, friendships and the lives around them.
Hope that there are men that do value their wifes (or husbands) and families enough to appreciate the good stuff and work through the difficult times, without resorting to hurtful games or violence or the old standby....jumping into the sack with the first girl/guy that flirts with them when they're feeling insecure or sorry for themselves and had a "bit" too much to drink.
Hope that, for me and my single friends, we might actually be able to find one of these "gay sounding" guys and be able to experience what it might be like to have a balanced relationship where both parties really want to make it work and are willing to do what it takes to ensure that.
It doesn't mean we won't have to plow through our share of bro's and ho's along the way....but if we don't give up on what we really want and don't settle for less than what we need...
Maybe we'll actually find it.
How scary would that be?