I was at the pool today, the big one up by the Rose Bowl. My hubs bought me a one month membership to try out some fitness for the new year. There is a heated pool in which the old can swim without breaking their bones. There is another pool full of nubile youthlets, and much colder water. I don’t even know that the old people are even allowed in this pool. Not between 4pm – 7pm at least.
I should be commended for swimming in January. The journey from the locker to the room was very much not heated. After I fell into the water (a graceful easing of myself into the pool was not possible today), I swam maybe 20 laps and did some underwater breathing, and felt like I had done a good deed.
Afterwards, l gingerly made my way back to the locker room with my towel around my shoulders. Upon opening the door, I found myself in a locker room full of young girls — I would have to guess mostly pre-teenagers. It seemed they were at every locker and at ever shower-head. In all their nubile glory. For a minute, I thought, what am I going to do? Just stand here and be wet forever because this legion of chittering chattering young females will carry on in the locker room like some kind of eternal damnation? Then a girl dashed past me, grabbing her towel from the hanging rack, and I knew that a shower head was open for me.
The shower room was an open, tiled space without walls. Shower-heads pointed in from the perimeter and all the girls were showering in their swimsuits, faithful to some first-world Pasadena Rose-Bowl Aquatics Center notion of modesty or body consciousness. I didn’t know what to make of it. As I’ve traversed a lot of gym locker-rooms over my life time, I’ve gone from shy-undisclosed-body to being pretty comfortable rub-a-dub-dub-naked in front of others. The girls were all absurdly young and firm and most of them had long-hair. I felt like I did when I was in junior high school in an ugly swimsuit, because I was wearing an ugly swimsuit. It was an old familiar feeling of not being like the others. In this late in life iteration of long ago junior high school sadness, I was still Taiwanese not like the others, but I was also a full-grown woman not like the others. I washed my hair and wondered at what kind of bizarre social pressure I was feeling that I was standing in my swimsuit still? I almost said, “Girls, do you mind, I’m going to take off my swimsuit even though that is not of your culture; it makes it easier to wash the chlorine out. Capeesh?” I scrubbed the top of my boobs with my suit still on. While I was awkwardly trying to maneuver around my shoulder straps to wash the rest of my body, I realized I was feeling terribly self-conscious and reprimanded myself. As an adult female I needed to give that sh-t up and set a good example to these unseasoned, inexperienced, self-conscious youngsters. For the love of God and womankind! So I shucked my ugly swimsuit and showed all the girls my somewhat troubled, stretch-marked butt and ascertained that if they could see my womanly pubes, all the better. I guess as good way of describing this would be– imagine you are a crumpled brown paper bag with some grease and food in it, and you’re in a locker room shower with untouched xerox paper. I needed to show them 1. it was okay to be naked. 2. it’s okay to be a brown paper bag — crumpled, but not without charisma!
The two tweens who had been loitering at the shower heads next to me quickly departed. I didn’t think it was me, but maybe I wouldn’t know because I was averting my gaze. That would have been too weird, to be naked (when others weren’t) and making a lot of eye contact. I tried not to make a big deal of it, since it wasn’t a big deal. After I finished rinsing I grabbed my toiletries, grabbed my towel and wrapped it around myself and walked to the locker area. My locker was blocked by at least four nymphets. One was trying to put her training bra on over her towel. A dressing room full of girls who managed to get dressed while maintaining the appearance of being dressed already. Crazy.
I don’t know that this story is a good one. At least I didn’t have my horrible pre-marital underwear hidden in my locker. I had some sheer undergarments that were age appropriate to me and no one else! I got dressed and allowed that process to include moments of being naked-ish. As I toweled off my hair, an older lady magically appeared a few lockers down from me. . .I noticed her just as I was finishing up. She had a swimmer’s tan, and a toned, lithe body for a seventy-five-year-old. She caught my eye and smiled. Young f*cking nubile nymphs! What do they know about womanhood! This she did not say, but I knew it was what she was thinking.
Outside of the aqua-plex, I waited for Matt (my husband) to pick me up, and was subjected to youths flirting with each other. I watched as they teased and harassed each other in obtuse expressions of puppy love. Pupply love. Lots of mock-anger and quick snatching, grabbing / hugging. It made me want to go back into the pool and drown myself. I thought about teen pregnancy and used my phone to google: “Does it suck to be a mom?”
Going to the pool is a real work-out.