The other night I went to the gym that I've been trying to make an appearance at every other night. I did my usual routine: cardio, weightlifting, and abs. I was getting ready to stretch--you know, in that one area every gym has for people to do that in--when I suddenly became very aware of my surroundings. I was being watched.
I've gone to gyms in the past, and I've always felt a tad uneasy in these spaces. I would stretch, and feel like people were looking at me, but I chalked that up to my being paranoid. I tried to let go of the thought, but at every gym I had the same experience.
So this past week, as I'm stretching at the gym, that feeling came up again. I was doing "Uttanasa" or bending over to touch my toes, when I noticed one overly buff dude staring at me and grossly smiling. I'm very flexible--I practice yoga regularly and was a dancer for years. In the past, I would often think, "Oh, they must be impressed by my flexibility!" Now that I'm less naive, I know what it's really about--they're thinking, "If she can do that here, she can probably do that in the bedroom! *wink-wink* *high-five-to-bros-in-general-vicinity*"
Stretching feels so good, especially after doing icky cardio, but I can't help thinking maybe I should just do it at home. Wouldn't it be easier? Then I think, no, no, no NO! I will not feel weird for stretching at a gym. Why must I be made to feel like an object when I move my body in this way? I will not rearrange my life because of pervy guys.
I try to close my eyes when I'm stretching--thinking it will render me invisible--thinking I will be protected from preying eyes--but I know this doesn't work. It doesn't stop anything from potentially happening. Again, yet another space that caters to men and their safety.
In the end, it just really pisses me off. I'm not going to change my routine. I already have to do that when I'm walking alone at night. I should be able to do the splits, if I wanted to, and not think, "Oh shoot, this might give someone the wrong impression."
Just stop it.