Jim? Your Name Is Jim?

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Gym_jim There is an oxymoron for the condition I have observed in my sweaty neighbors at this workout place I go to—it’s gym giddiness. Maybe it’s the rush of adrenalin, or the inadvertent release of pheromones in the air, or maybe just a pronounced sadomasochistic streak, but people actually seem to be happy to spend time at the gym. I’ve never seen so many smiling, grunting, sweaty people in my life.

Sure, I am sold on the total fitness philosophy, the healthy lifestyle, the habit of torture, er… tenacity that would merit a slim physique. But mainly, the gym for me is a place where I release the tension and the blind fury that will otherwise manifest in a conference room brawl at work, with me going for the jugular vein, life draining out on the Pledged-wood surface. A safe stress outlet and a shapely butt, those are the things I want out of gym.

For some folks apparently, gym giddiness is linked directly, inexorably, to positive self-perception. Self-affirmation. Self-love. By that I mean intense, serious, narcissistic affairs.

There’s the guy with the awesome upper body mass but with the stick-thin legs, pumping away 25 pounds to firm up already bulging biceps. There’s the endless wall of mirrors, all the better to reflect the adoring expression on his face as he gazes at his image. A few 15-set repeats, and then it’s switch to the next bicep, different side, same adoration. I almost expect him to kiss his reflection in the mirror. And if he did, I wouldn’t be surprised.

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