My earlier blogs brought comments an other website. Some expressed fear or disgust about going to gyms. I responed with the following in defense of working out in a gym:
I have found it to be great place to get addicted to endorphins and it is great to feel strong and healthy and to burn out the stress of the day and to clear my brain. The collective energy in the gym motivates me to work harder than I would at home. I have read a number of books while on the cardio machines and overall have met some very interesting people and may have helped them with my support and friendship. I believe that just a smile and positive recognition from me may enlighten a dark day for someone. I grumble to myself all the way to the gym about how tired I am and I glow all the way home about how good I feel. The feeling of strength in my body helps my self-confidence and thus helps me to fight negative voices that want me to beat up on myself. I am more tempted to escape into lust and lustful acts when I am down. I know that what works for me doesn't work for everyone.
The only dark side of the gym for me is what I expressed in my blog. Having served in the military I got somewhat used to showering in front of a bunch of guys. I only feel uncomfortable when someone stares at me and/or makes sexual gestures. My discomfort is heightened by the fact that I sometimes am aroused and this is obvious to the other person and others in the shower room. The particular gym I enrolled in had shower curtains. The closest gym where we now live has individual stalls but no curtains. I have checked out other gyms in the area and they don't even have stalls. I have requested curtains to no avail. I have thought of not showering, but the warm shower is my immediate reward for working out hard and I enjoy briefly visiting with friends I have developed in the locker room. Hey, I am paying for this! I am not going to let the occasional "jerk" (jerker?)drive me out.
What am I doing, then? I prefer the showers at the end, next to the wall because of privacy. But so do the jerks. So I shower in other stalls where we can be seen by others. This avoids some. If I see what's happening out of the corner of my eye I turn my back, keep my eyes to the wall, quickly cleanse and get out. I always wear a towel outside the shower, but if I am aroused it is still obvious. Those who try to get me visually involved, after a few trys and no cooperation usually don't try again.These guys irritate me, but I feel sorry for anyone who has such a shallow social life. When we are dressed I sometimes visit with him to let him know I don't reject him even though I am not into that kind of stuff. Some have opened up and shared concerns about work and family. Please don't get me wrong. The vast majority of those in the gym are not like this. I usually don't encounter problems in the showers and I go home refreshed and energized.