my locker-room conversion
Remember when I complained about feeling awkward in the locker-room at the gym? That has changed. I have been making amazing discoveries. There is a phenomenon acutely present there which I had never experienced such full contact with before, and it is called womanhood.
The women at the gym are quite an assorted bunch. Some of them are annoying, to tell the truth, but each and every one of them, in her unique way, is a woman, a lady, a female – a girl. The sense of femininity is expressed every second, in their every move and action, in their very being.
I can see women standing before mirrors, gingerly poking their sides to see how they’ll look when they lose several pounds. I can see them stealing furtive glances at other women, comparing, envious, gloating, compassionate. I notice that their choice of undergarments is telling.
A woman of about 60 is putting on her swimsuit after a workout. When the slick fabric covers the bumps and scars of age, work, and motherhood, she becomes another happy ageless girl in the bubble bath – just like the three-year old next to her, come with her mom, laughing loud and hard.
In the locker-room, everyone shares – the space and ergo, for just a moment, their life. As I stand before the full-length mirror (alas, no such luxury at home), I see reflections of women leaning against lockers, drying themselves, chatting and giggling at each other, sorting their belongings.
After the workout, the girls gradually transform out of sharing mode, they cover themselves in layers: body cream, then underwear, clothes, accessories, packed bags, lastly a business-like air. They walk out into the lobby and call their assorted boys to pick them up and back into their lives.
Still, a girl, I’ve found out, is always a girl: when she adds a little extra wiggle to her salsa hips – the instructor is a handsome, amiable guy – and when she blushes in the locker-room, surrounded for the first time by casual nudity. When she lingers in the shower, and when she rushes out, hair still dripping.
I used to say I was unfeminine. In our first months together, A. never gave me flowers, because he thought I’d hate them. He was surprised to learn that I actually liked receiving flowers from him. I am now equally surprised to find myself doing all those things I just described. What do you know – I am, too, a girl.