WARNING: This post is surprisingly NSFW. Unless you work at a gym.
Other women’s bums are putting me off the gym at the moment.
Not those belonging to other women working out. They are fine, unthreatening bums of varying shapes and sizes, all wrapped up in workout-appropriate lycra, going about their business on the treadmills.
It’s the bums on the giant TV screens positioned around the gyms that I’m talking about. There are eight of these screens facing the cardio machines where I work out, and what they show is video after video of this:
1. Women’s bums.
2. Women’s bums in little black bikinis.
3. Women’s bum’s in little black bikinis, jiggling around in jungles and on yachts in time to lyrics like this: “BIG, BIG BOOTY. WHAT? YOU GOT A BIG BOOTY.”
Two of the many screens in my gym.
There I am on a Tuesday afternoon, plodding along red-faced on my cross-trainer, gingerly trying to improve my cardio fitness. Sometimes I’m in my oversized t-shirt. Perhaps I’ve forgotten my socks and am hoping my personal trainer won’t wander by and outfit-shame me. I’m almost certainly wearing my $23 Target sneakers and I’m certainly about as far from sexy as I’ve ever been.
My bum is present during this workout, but it’s present in the the same kind of totally unerotic, just-getting-some-exercise way that say, my calves or biceps are.
Grace, ready for the gym.
But then I accidentally find myself running on the treadmill to lyrics that go like this: “BOOTY BOOTY BOOTY BOOTY! BOOTY EVERYWHERE!”
And then I realise with a start that at least four giant screens directly facing me are projecting videos that look like this:
All of a sudden my workout has gone from a casual, calorie-burning exercise to a four-minute bottom-appreciation party, loudly narrated by lyrical artists intent on inviting viewers to examine women’s bums. Like this:
“LOOK AT HER BOOTY! STOP! STARE!”
Then, once that photo video is over, it’ll be replaced by another bum-song like this:
“MY ANACONDA DON’T WANT NONE UNLESS YOU GOT BUNS, HUN!”
“OH MY GOSH, LOOK AT HER BUTT. OH MY GOSH, LOOK AT HER BUTT.”
Then, when that finishes (exhausted yet?) they usually play this one.
“GET LOW. GET GET GET LOW.
“GET LOW. GET GET GET LOW. GET LOW. GET GET GET LOW.”
Or this kind of thing:
“WHITE GIRL GOT SOME ASS, I WANNA SEE IT.
BABY TURN AROUND I WANNA SEE IT! TRYIN’ TO SEE IT, GOTTA SEE IT!”
“I WANNA SEE THAT BUBBLE YUM BUM, BADUM BUM BADUM.
BUBBLE YUM BUM, BADUM BUM BADAM!”
Now it’s not that I have a particular fear of other women’s sexy bums. It’s not that I think there’s anything wrong with wanting to gaze between the bounteous bumcheeks of Jennifer Lopez, if that’s your kind of thing.
It’s not even that I’m particularly outraged that my gym chooses to play these videos. I’m pretty sure they’ve just chosen to loop a bunch of dancey songs that happen to be popular, and big bums happen to be big business right now (thanks, Kimmy K).
It’s just that I’m not interested in staring at a thin wedge of lycra between Iggy Azalea’s bumcheeks when I could be watching, say, 30 Rock reruns.
And it’s also that, when I signed up to the gym, I didn’t realise I was paying $25 a week to jog along to endless repeats of enthuasiastic bum-worshipping rhythms that, frankly, are kind of boring for about half the club’s members.
Also: Anyone else feel ever-so-slightly self-concious when they realise their bum is inadvertantly bouncing around to the exact beat of Pitbull yelling: “WHITE GIRL GOT SOME ASS, IT AIN’T A SECRET”?
Anyone else bewildered at how an everyday activity — which women mostly undertake for reasons of health and wellbeing — has suddenly been hijacked by a soundtrack of (let’s be honest) creepy catcalls?
What can I do to alleviate this awkward situation? Bring in my headphones and exclusively listen to artists whose obsession with bottoms is at a more moderate level (T-Swift, come at me)?
Start seeking out the exercise equipment at the back of the room to avoid a row of 12 men inadvertently viewing viewing my jiggling buns — while Sir Mixalot vocally assesses whether they’re sufficiently round for his anaconda’s satisfaction?
I don’t know what the solution is.
But in the meantime, me and my non-bikini-clad bum are off for an afternoon jog.
Far, far away from the vocal desires of Sir Mixalot, Pittbull and his booty-loving mate Flo Rida.