Jim, 2.

The following is the things I have noticed whilst being at the gym and make up 40% of my material for my up and coming stand up comedy show (not really).

The Men, naked.
I know what a man looks like naked, having been one for most of my life. I also have no problem with nudity whatsoever, sleeping naked and walking around the flat nude whenever Steve isn’t about. I don’t really care to be honest, everyone knows what I look like underneath my clothes, and everyone knows what naked men look like. I mean, I’m naked whilst I type this right now, albeit under all my clothes. If you start thinking about everyone naked you suddenly have a very interesting outlook on life, and it can be quite funny. Be careful not to deploy this tactic in an old mans pub though, the results can put you off living for life.

There seem to be three types of men in the gym changing rooms though.
- The Never Nude
Taken (stolen) from Arrested Development this is the guy who puts his boxers on whilst still wearing his towel, the kind of guy so unsettled by the human form and his own body that he will cower in the corner, arse facing outwards hiding his willy from the rest of the room so to hide his modesty fully. This is the guy who goes for a shower with his swim shorts on.
- The Alpha Nude
This is the guy who wants you to facking look at his penis, come on, look I am facking naked all right? He stands, towelling his crotch for incessant amounts of time, talking about the latest episode of Channel 4 News or the latest spread in nuts magazine, look I am so facking manly I don’t care about your body, I ain’t no poof all right? I’ve seen this man put his socks on, then his shirt and tie, check himself in the mirror, and THEN put on boxers, all whilst talking to a similarly comfortable man.
- The Whatever Nude
This is me. I don’t really care either way – I know my body has shapes and bulges and isn’t exactly perfect, I am no Adonis. But I also couldn’t care less either way and don’t hide myself anymore than is polite to. Seeing me get changed in my flat (you pervert, how are you doing that?) is no different from me getting changed in the gym, with the potential difference that I might not start singing Elbow and drumming stark bullock naked in the gym. I won’t make any promises.

The Women, ignored.
There is this amazing dance being performed by the two sexes having to gym-it together in such close proximity. There are men and women of all sizes, but if you so much as even catch the gaze of a lady in the throws of exercise, pushing her self to the limit, you have to look away - most likely you have just seen her orgasm face, or seen her pushing her self to the max of her ability, be it good or bad. The problem with this is internal embarrassment it causes as you automatically think that they will assume you are being a pervert checking her out. Ewww, you filthy bastard.

If you so much as catch the gaze of a man, you are in for trouble. There are three ways this can go. The first is that you can just exchange a calm friendly knowing nod as if there was nothing wrong with your eyes meeting, almost like two gents acknowledging each other at a urinal. The second is that they can assume you are challenging them, for example, if you are both using machines next to each other. Always go another weight higher than you would normally and always look like it is nothing, almost nonchalantly lifting the now impossible weight. No worries. The third way is that could assume that you have just seen his orgasm face, or seen him pushing him self to the max of his ability, be it good or bad. The problem with this is internal embarrassment it causes as you automatically think that they will assume you are being a pervert checking him out. Ewww, you filthy bastard.

The Sauna, enjoyment.
I have been in a few saunas (this, taken out of context, could be the greatest quote on my blog ever). I remember being in a sauna in Sweden with several nude Swedes who were probably, in Swedish, laughing at the ugly Scots that were sitting there like lemons wearing swim shorts. As already established I was up for getting all nudey and grabbing a Prips Blu from the ice box and conversing in hilarious pidgin English to them. But I decided against it. Too awkward for the others in my party. Then I witnessed the single oddest moment in my life – a nude man, standing in the shower reading a magazine, perfectly placed outside of the stream of water so that it was bone dry. I’ll forever remember the moment Stephen and I exchanged glances.

In the Sauna in Aberdeen there is a perverse enjoyment about sitting in 80’C, 60% RH, and watching fat people swim up and down in the pool. There is a feeling of deep cleansing from the deep heat. There is also a comfort to be taken from the rather friendly bus stop banter to be had with people in the sauna. If I am sitting with Ana, she’ll be no doubt lying on the bench fully spread out silently pissing off all the men in the Sauna that she is ruining the bench space for us all, and that I am the one talking to her, refusing to tell her to move. The banter I had last night once Ana left was so bland that it made me instantly return it with words so beige they could’ve ended up on my wall in my flat. I can’t remember what was said, but we were definitely saying words.

It’s a metaphor for life, the gym. What that metaphor is, beats me.