Nov 152010
Authors: Molly Ungerer

For those of you who frequent the gym, I’m guessing you’ve noticed the range of peers that attend. Sometimes I feel as if the true purpose of the gym is lost in the college scene. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I was under the impression that the gym is here to sustain and advance people’s fitness and physical health.

I’m not suggesting that we all start dragging in there looking like slobs who haven’t showered or washed our clothes in months, but let’s just say it’s easy to flag down the ego-boosts from the people who are there to work out.

Apparently a simple T-shirt and running shorts just don’t cut it anymore for those some. What happened to the ill-fitting shorts and fluorescent green tops? Or full-on leggings, legwarmers, leotards, off-the-shoulder tees and sweatbands? The 80s scene wins, hands down. In terms of how far we’ve come, I’d say we’ve taken a few steps back.

The guys are easy to spot when they’re there to “work out” (ego-boost) because they’re generally the ones who look like they wish they weren’t wearing clothes.

Cut-offs are acceptable, to an extent. It’s been taken too far when the armhole has been cut so deep and low under the arm that the only material still holding the shirt together is the seam of the waistline on the shirt. Why wear a shirt? Oh, that’s right, you’re required to on the machines and in the free weights. Apparently these scantily cut cut-offs are the next best things.

The crew of these guys may also be seen watching their muscles as they work out with the free weights or on the machines. Even as they get up from the machine, in between sets, as they saunter their way to the water fountain, you may notice them continuing to flex as they watch their biceps contract and release. Charming.

Now the guys who are at the gym to work out are often recognized as the ones who aren’t drooling over their own body after getting their “swole” on.

On the other end are the girls who show up to be stared at, most likely by the guys that are caught up with staring at themselves. They wear the underwear that they label as “spandex” so that other girls can’t call them skanky.

This group is usually spotted on the elliptical or the stair-stepper chatting away on their BlackBerry.

It’s not “working out” if you can carry on a 25 minute phone conversation about how Brian didn’t show up to Lindsey’s on Tuesday for drinks just because Rachel was there and they had drunkenly hooked up on Sunday after watching Robin Hood with Russel Crowe over a bottle of wine.

Anyway, with these girls you can also tell that they’ve freshly done their make-up … hopefully, with no intention of breaking a sweat at the gym, as that would be disastrous. But if their make-up fails or somehow gets rubbed away, they have their hair done just-so to compensate for their cosmetics-lacking faces.

They have it down, in untouched ringlets, with a headband to keep their bangs from coming into contact with their face … and all that sweat, which has yet to surface.

The girls who are working out are usually in the basic running shorts, an older, worn shirt with a hasty, messy bun going about their business and most likely pushing themselves to do something a little more strenuous than an exhausting chat.

I can’t help but laugh when I notice these things. I can’t, however, honestly say I would want the scene at the gym to change. It gives everyone something to talk about.

For those ego-boosters, they probably think the others look just as ridiculous. “Look at all these sweaty pig-like people sweating and all while they just run themselves into the ground. I was thinking the gym was more or less to see if we could get the guys to take their eyes off their arms and onto my spandex.” Everyone has a right to his or her own opinion.

Molly Ungerer is a sophomore journalism major. Her column appears Tuesdays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to

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