Ok, so I have embraced the gym with gusto, attending horrible classes where you dance with weights and squat so much your thighs burn. I have shrugged the image of Laura the gym avoider, and have lost pounds and become a smaller, more svelte version of myself. Result!
But what I really find difficult is the swimming pool. I’m a massive fan of swimming, much preferring it to getting sweaty in the actual exercise area as I find it calming and relaxing. But people in the pool are a completely different breed. Ok, it’s all well and good if you are in one of those fancy pants gyms with their smug olympic sized pools, all carefully divided into lanes with pointers as to whether you are ‘slow’ or ‘athletic’, but in a gym where the pool is the same size as my front room, it becomes challenging, to say the least.
I drive to the gym longing for the solitude of an empty pool, free from people in general, just me, silently ploughing up and down the calm water, slicing it quietly and counting my lengths away. What I dread is someone in the whirlpool, or worse, a male swimmer. Someone in the whirlpool is bad enough, with the jacuzzi noise being comparable to pneumatic drilling in my head, or a heavy thudding hangover after a big night out. But a man in the pool makes me cross before I even get in. I hover by the door, contemplating going in the sauna, and then feeling like an idiot, I get in the pool anyway.
I’m not particularly self-conscious about my body, or one of those horrible bra burning feminists, but men in the pool are my worst nightmare. My normally calm constitution changes. Oh yes, I get THE RAGE. The reason for this is simple, men are the most inconsiderate swimmers I have ever encountered. Women splash a bit, kids aim for you when they are jumping off the sides, but men are totally oblivious to anyone else. And that is the problem.
Take today for example. I went to the pool because I am single, my friends had plans (how dare they!) and I didn’t fancy hanging out with my dad after he returned from his stag weekend. Exercise was the smaller demon. I got in the pool, and Mr “I am in my thirties but i still have a pre shaving tache” got in after me. There I was, quietly lapping the pool, when he started his ridiculously showing off front crawl. It created a tidal wave, and I nearly drowned. OK, possibly a little over the top, but you get the gist. In such a small pool, this kind of behaviour isn’t helpful for those who aren’t intent on swallowing a large percentage of the communal, not sure who has peed in it pool water.
But, I lasted the duration, grimacing and continuing with my swimming, and soon he tired of me not swooning at his annoying showy swimming, and got out and left. The rest of my swim passed fairly uneventfully, with people getting in and out, and me quietly challenging myself to swim a little further, just a few more lengths, you know the drill.
Until Mr “Mid Life Crisis” got in. I was nearly at the end of my slog, but in my mind I was going to persevere past my 100 lengths goal, and aim for 150. As I got to 90, Mr Crisis got in the pool, wearing the smallest pair of speedos I had ever seen, and showered pornographically for far too long, not dissimilar to Take That in their early nineties music videos, all of which I noted but ignored. He then got in the pool and crossed slowly in front of me, apologising for getting in my way, despite the fact that he had stayed still until i got to him, and then decided to cross. Argh!!
Mr Crisis then proceeded to swim his lengths right next to me, and his stroke of choice was, of course, the butterfly. For the next ten lengths, I breathed strategically to avoid chlorine water inhalation, and edged further and further away. The splashing resembled the last Shamu show I saw at SeaWorld, and the grunting didn’t exactly help to preserve the calm that had descended on my soul as I had whittled away the time. Alas, I couldn’t put up with it, and got out as soon as I reached my goal. Meh!!
So men in my life, if you are reading this and thinking how ridiculous women are, that’s fine. But please, next time you are in the pool, think back to the moment you read this and swim a little less vigorously. Oh yeah, and go shopping for some trunks. Man + speedo. Never a good look. Even if it looks good in the mirror at home. Unless you work for Calvin Klein, give us girls a break and opt for something a little less snug. Over and out.