I know many of us cougars frequent the gym, or frequently think about frequenting the gym. It’s like that last kick at the can. The sentiment: Better try and maintain what I’ve got for as long as I can because soon no amount of sweat and tears is going to contain my sagging skin.
Yep, the gym. Mostly it’s a sacred space where we can feel okay about ourselves. Those days where a hint of a hard body is reflected back at us are good days. The burn felt after a particularly rigorous workout is welcome and rejuvenating. I can even convince myself that men are looking at me, perhaps even, dare I say it, fantasizing?
This is all good. I get in the zone. I’m in my glory. I am a cub to be reckoned with, primed for the hunt. Then IT happens.
I’m pumping my arms, feeling the power, when I hear a sound. Not the testosterone driven, hey I’m lifting 20lbs more than I should but I’m an awesome dude kind of grunting. A more subtle, gentler kind of sound. A meow really.
I look up mid-lift and see her. Pearl earrings, pony tail – no hint of grey, tight white top, tight black stretch pants, firm ass, seemingly hairless, smooth, tight body. She’s doing some barbell super-lift that I’ve never imagined doing before. It looks like it should be crazy awkward but she’s pulling it off with seamless reps, endearing vocals, and the avid attention of the male trainer who, up until this very moment, I used to consider a friend.
Before I’m even through my lift I feel 52 instead of 42. I’m stripped of my reality gym bubble, the one in which I am visible and desirable. I instantly perceive all the men in the room as traitors, fair-weather friends if you will. I’m consumed by the notion that if I was to stand next to firm-ass all my hard exercising over the past couple of years would amount to exactly…nothing.
I finish my rep, glance in the mirror and resolve that I will not go quietly. I will rally. A hair cut is in order. Yes, I reassure myself, that’s all that’s separating me from her – a decent coif. I decide that I’d better take care of it tomorrow. This unfortunately means skipping the gym during my lunch break, but keeping the whole body together takes time and the focus needs to be distributed amongst all the different parts.
So men, on the off chance you do happen to take note of me making my rounds at the bar, mall, grocery store, wherever, all this doesn’t come easy. I suppose I should be thanking firm-ass for keeping me motivated. For pushing me to challenge invisibility, keep fit and hang on to fading youth.
You see men, it’s her that actually drives me, not dudes. Not you fickle ones at the gym anyway.