No.I went to the gym this evening for a swim. I arrived feeling smug already after cycling past enormous queues of people stuck in traffic on their way out of the office. I find cycling therapeutic at the best of times, but it's been fairly mild this week, and it's definitely getting lighter in the mornings and staying lighter for longer in the evenings. This makes me feel pretty good, and the ride along the canal to the gym this evening was excellent. I was feeling pretty tired, but my mood was good and I was slightly surprised to find that the gym was quiet as apparently most of the New Year's Resolution crowd have now given it up for another year. Excellent.
The swim was okay too, but my sense of karmic wellbeing was soon to be totally shattered. I've grown sadly accustomed over the years to seeing young men preening in front of the floor length mirrors; I don't like it, but there it is. Apparently some people need to style their hair both before and after exercising. It's not something I've ever felt the need to do, even when I had hair, but there you go. Each to their own. O tempora, O mores and all that.
Look, I use moisturiser; I wear fragrance from time to time, I trim my beard.... although that's clearly not going the full Beckham, I think that makes me sensibly metrosexual. I don't have my eyebrows plucked or shaped because I have no desire to look (more) like a Vulcan, but I won't deny that I have occasionally attended to hairs located elsewhere on my body. Not in public, mind.
There are limits.
So when I walked past the mirrors in the gym this evening, I was somewhat perturbed to see a young man hunched right up against the mirror, meticulously setting about his - not very long - fringe with a set of straightening tongs. His portable set, obviously. Small enough to pack into his gym bag, but powerful enough to get the job done. As he worked at his hair, the rest of the world seemed to have disappeared, so rapt was he in his task. Somehow, it seemed, he had forgotten that he was standing in the middle of a public changing room at the gym in full sight of everyone else there... and that it was a Wednesday night, that he didn't really have all that much hair in the first place AND THAT HE WAS A MAN.
What has happened to us? I'm hardly nostalgic for a time when men were men and never spoke of their feelings.....well, not too much..... but how did it become essential for a man to remember to put his straightening tongs into his gym bag with his towel, padlock and trainers? I might be talking out of turn here, but that's not essential packing for most women, is it?
a normal man, yesterday.I'm saddened this evening, friends. Saddened and disappointed in my sex*. I've had to come home and shower using a bar of Imperial Leather, splash my cheeks with Brut aftershave, pour myself a pint of mild and settle down in front of One Man and his Dog, but I just can't rid myself of that shocking image. One bad apple, it seems, can spoil the whole darn bunch.
It's just one bad apple, right? No other man does that, right? Not in public, anyway....
* Sex, that is, rather than gender.... gender is a construct, innit.