Chances are if you've ever drank too much, talked shit about someone being their back, been inolved in a love triangle or sold a lemon of a used car, then you have been the big white elephant in the room? But now I pose the question, have you ever been the big white trunked elephant in the locker room?
No workout session is routine at Vitamin Fitness. The front desk attendants know my membership number by memory and punch it in quickly when I step foot outside the elevators (when I asked for a membership card the lady said, "no, we know you face"). Aside from Koreans infatuation with weight lifting machines, see fear of free weights, and the presence of not one, but two, fat massagers, I'd say that Vitamin Fitness is an average place to get your pump on. Of course, it's the gym's clientele that sets the facility apart from any place on earth I've set foot in.
My first workout at Vitamin Fitness was what I considered to be operation don't-step-on-any-Korean-toes. What I failed to understand, or failed to consider, is there is no flying under the radar when you've got blond hair, blue eyes and more strength than the average bear.
I should have known the session was going to be bizarre when the gym master tried to spot me doing a bent over single-arm row. For the laymen, the single-arm bent over row is without a doubt a solo person exercise. Also, the head gym guy said I was too loud when I set the dead lifting weight on the floor. So now I must control the weight so it doesn't even touch the ground on the bottom of the lift. Again, not the end of the world just a stupid rule.
After my first workout, I was excited to get into the shower (not because I particularly enjoy showering with Asian men but because I hadn't figured out how to use my own shower at that time and it had been SEVERAL days) . Again, a man looks me shamelessly up and down an the first word, the only words, out of his mouth are "very ... nice ...". With slight pause he then mustered the word "body". Long story short, Cho Haut and I are now gym friends. By friends I mean we know one anothers name and exchange pleasantries. There's nothing like a hot gym shower to cement ever lasting international friendship!
Working the front desk is a young Korean man I presume to be about 20 years of age. He's works out there and has a good build to him. At first, he seemed to be kind of standoff-ish about my presence. About three sessions in, I asked him in Korean and hand gestures to spot me in on the bench press. Seeing the way he greats me now with a hefty bow you might mistake him for a friend of mine.
It only really became weird, and when I say "weird" I mean more weird, when I went into the locker room to jump in the shower. Keep in the mind the changing room MIGHT be 120 sq. foot and when you've got 6 or 7 dudes engaged in a costume change, there isn't anything hiding from anyone. When I change, I try to keep to the perimeter (no sense in bringing added attention to myself putting my foot up on the sink and shoot a grin and wink across the room) and my main preoccupation is making sure my sword doesn't go banging against anybodies armor. So there I was standing ass naked and one by one the talking turns to whispers and I can see one man elbow another and their attention turned to me. I'm not sure which part of me the infatuation is guided towards and that's what is the most uncomfortable part of the situation.
I made my way into the shower and tried to carry on as much as a guy who has just been visually raped can. After my shower, and on my way out the door, the 20 something Korean front desk worker said to me,"very nice body" as he threw me a bow. If I was John Holmes, or Arnold Schwarzenegger for that matter, I could understand the attention, but back in the US, I'm just another average swingin' dick. Pun intended.