Nothing Means Something

I forgot to charge my iPod before the gym. This is usually a pain in the ass because the music at the gym doesn’t always inspire. And it didn’t on this day, though it didn’t matter, the place was January busy. A glut of new members is all that many long term lifters need to get it going. When contrasted with the new people we look outstanding and this makes us trying harder. The average of the place drops creating new outliers and it’s nice to suddenly look and feel a little more successful. We try to pay it back by bringing our best and being polite and helpful.

This day it was a couple of the new members that made my day.

Two average early 20’s guys. The one who knew more about training was setting the tone for their workout; the only thing that struck me about the program was that the new guy didn’t seen to need the amount of rest, and that only registered because I was able to hear them talking.

The more experienced guy (J) is pretty confident. He looks like he does well with people. What he’s saying is fast, funny and non-offensive. The new guy (H) is kind of rigid, being out of his element, but as the workout continues it seems like the confidence is rubbing onto him. He seems taller, his laugh gets deeper, there is an emerging swagger.

The hot female trainer walks past them being trailed by her client who is sort of slugging a trail of sweat behind her. “Huh, she does have a clue,” my thought, is not copied by the two training dudes. The confident guy thinks something that fires him up. There’s a slight twitch and his energy grows. He seems larger now, maybe taller, I don’t know, but there just seems to be more of him. The opposite seemed to happen to the new guy. It wasn’t just the contrast thing, it wasn’t just that he seemed less large, it was that he was actually smaller. His shoulders were rounding again, his face was longer and the floor was in his line of sight. The trainer killed the fan of this wacky waving inflatable arm-flailing tubeman. I keep lifting, slightly unsettled.

I pick-up the conversation between the two guys a few minutes later. J is giving H the gears. He has seen the same thing as me and he is now telling H the reason he needed the gym was because of girls like her.

“You don’t feel equal or worthy of them. She’s interesting, not my type H, but honestly, she’s got your sense of humor. Lift hard, level the field and everything will be fine. Oh, and actually talk to her as well.”


“Like that, Jesus Christ man, what the hell did someone do to you? Smile, say hi, ask a stupid question, tell her something stupid, or interesting, see what she does.”

“What am I waiting for?”

“The Kool-Aid man. That’s how it goes, he crashes through the wall when soul mates find each other…. I actually sometimes hate you. You are waiting for anything. Think about it, if you ever go out with her you’re gonna need to talk about stuff. On dates, most of that stuff is just questions. But before you get the chance to bore the hell out of her with your life, you need to find-out if you can talk to her about anything. Actually, you need to know if she’ll talk back to you at all. It’s pretty obvious man, people who are interested in you will talk to you. If she doesn’t talk back or it’s too much effort to get her to talk, you shouldn’t have taken your shirt off.”

I’m laughing inside. There’s wisdom in his words.

People communicate with those they are interested in. If the girl thinks the boy is interesting, she’ll talk to him. If a guy starts to like a girl he’ll make the efforts to be around her. All of my relationships have started with a smile and a hello, and then us riffing on something. Every relationship that I didn’t have started the same way but with one or both of us not getting enough out of the conversation to bother having a second one.