Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Swimming Pool Walks of Shame...

I'm in defiance of today's lead "health news" story:

Scientists dismiss detox schemes
The detox business - which includes diets, tablets and drinks said to flush out toxins - is said to be worth tens of millions of pounds. But the scientists from the Sense About Science organisation say water, fresh air and sleep is all that is needed. The term detox is meaningless as the body is perfectly capable of clearing out harmful substances, they add.

However, in compliance with the water part I went swimming after work today. In the past I’ve experimented with the best time to go swimming. I’d prefer to go to the early morning sessions (6am ish) but the pool is usually taken over by the Pensioner Swimming Mafia and I seemed to spend all my time getting out of the way of hostile old people with appalling swimming pool etiquette.

So, I tried the afternoon sessions but after the embarrassment of accidentally getting into the pool during the “women only” hour, I decided it was best avoided. (I just paid my money, got the locker key and went in. I guess the spotty youth in a tracksuit on the desk wasn’t really paying attention that day. I must confess that I was initially quite impressed how, as I took the “walk of shame” to the pool, my almost-manly physique was attracting so much obvious female attention. Thus you can understand the subsequent embarrassment at being asked by the pretty 20-something lifeguard to leave again (but of course she waited until I’d been fully submersed and so had to take the reverse walk of shame exactly 2 minutes after the first one, dripping wet and to the sound of middle aged women either tutting or saying in a motherly fashion, “aww...shame.”)

So after that experience, I tried weekends – no good – the pool was way too packed with kids having fun, men who stare and one bloke in particular who kept winking at me in that “knowing” fashion.

So then it was onto the late night pool sessions. I thought I was onto a certain winner as surely all former categories would be in bed. How naïve can a guy be? I went along only to learn as I took the walk of shame that the pool was packed with two thousand teenagers “on the pull” checking out everyone that either entered or left the pool. At the not-too-excessive age of 34, and clearly the oldest in the pool, I began to feel a bit like the proverbial dirty old man and as much as I tried to look like a bloke who’d just gone there innocently in order to go swimming, which of course only served to make me look even more dodgy. Less than 10 minutes after arriving I decided to leave the seething teenage mass of hormones and acne and took the reverse walk of shame whilst trying to covertly adjust my clinging trunks so that I may hide the chilling effect of the cool water. Thumb sized mars bars spring to mind.

So surely today’s swimming attempts could only get better. 515pm is without doubt the optimal time. The Pensioner Mafia are just arousing from their afternoon snooze in order to prepare a resentful supper of tea and toast, most working people are still stuck in traffic trying to wend their way home from work, small children are being fed their ready meals in the caring bosom of their families and teenagers will be busy hanging outside shops in baseball caps intimidating the pensioners still sprightly enough not to need an afternoon snooze.

Before paying, I peer through the windows, briefly so as not appear perverted. Success! Less than ten people. I spoke to the two nice ladies on the reception desk (Hello!), collected my white membership form, briefly outlined my detox mission and headed for the changing rooms.

Now, I find something strangely reassuring and yet slightly worrying about unisex changing rooms. Reassuring in that the homoerotic element is removed (is homoerotic the right word – not sure about that) and slightly worrying knowing full well that shortly I’d be wearing nothing but a pair of trunks (glorified pants really) whilst trying to navigate my way to the pool without my glasses. From previous experience, I know well not to squint and stare too much – this can prove problematic, depending on where the stare accidentally lands.

Anyway, I made it to the pool – quick blurry head count: Ten adults, 2 children and one other staring man who spent most of the time in the corner appearing to be adjusting his trunks. Pool etiquette seemed well observed.

Success! My trunks didn’t come off, no collisions with the elderly, no blue plaster incidents and no pool attendant blowing their whistle at me.

I am a swimmer.

Tomorrow, i start yoga...


Blogger Trance said...

Hysterical Andy... thank you

9:20 PM  
Anonymous Monica Turnage said...

This is very funny and educational. There is alot of natural products to detox. I am a lite smoker for years, I smoke maybe 2 ciggys a day and sometimes a week, drinking nights is a pack a night, anyway, I detox last year to show my insurance I wasn't a smoker, and It worked. Drink a lot of liquids and take colon cleansers from Mexico.
I will read this everyday and see if you can get in shape, and make sure you have not hurt yourself trying to do YOGA, or something else...
Rembember your age..........NOT a spring chicken anymore.
love Moni T.

9:45 PM  

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