As a proud Southerner, I have faithfully committed to many things that make our people great; tailgating, fried foods, overzealous traditions and friendliness ad nauseum. I hold doors, I let people in traffic, I make small talk until I can small talk no more… but must we be Southern in the gym? Is there an Article of Confederation that states all Southerners can act like Northerners in a workout facility?
The short answer is, you bet your biscuit lovin butt no.
Social Southern graces are a thing of beauty, which is the antithesis of the gym. The gym should be a place to be disgusting and sweaty and as gross as humanly possibly. Unless that gym lies South of the Mason Dixon line.
Everything about our workouts is polite and full of that good old Southern charm.
For starters, we schedule in advance for the whole week. Southern women like schedules and plans and workout times should be no different. If you have to be at church for a meeting, your Pilates shouldn’t suffer. Monday morning, if not earlier, we will plan out our week of workouts so as not to inconvenience anyone. Why can’t we just show up and workout when we want to? Because that is not good planning.
Next, we will never inconvenience anyone in a class. “Is this your treadmill? “ or “Do you mind if I hop on this reformer?” We will literally ask permission to use equipment we pay for just like anyone else. Again, Heaven forbid anyone be inconvenienced for one second by us being in the gym. In a group class, we will seldom ask you to turn the fans on until our best friend passes out from heat exhaustion. And only then will we say, “Would y’all mind to turn a fan on? If it isn’t too much trouble? I don’t want to be a bother, but Mary Louise has the vapors….”
Why can’t we just ask for the equipment or the fans the we literally pay for? Because that would seem imposing or forward.
We will chat you up the whole time we workout. If you are new to the class, we will gladly fill you in on the expectations, the workout, the calorie burn, poor choice of workout attire the lady next to you makes week after week, and the sexuality of the instructor. Without seeming too catty. Why can’t we just be quiet? Because it isn’t polite.
We will grace you with our (basically) pageant style workout attire. You’re welcome. The matching outfits with shoes, jackets, bags and even headbands will knock your mismatched socks off. We pity the fool in her Target leggings and tattered Bid Day shirt. Coordination is key. And let’s be honest, a little mascara and lip gloss never hurt anybody, either. This is the gym, after all. Not a … well, I can’t think of a single place not to wear make-up. “But you will just sweat it off” you say. Oh, no. Southern girls don’t sweat. We glisten. We spend all our lives basking in humid climates. The gym is just a gigantic sauna for us.
Is a world where you just throw on some sordid sweats outfit, pile your hair on top of your head, and go sweat it out anonymously appealing to a Southerner? No. This is a social hour; a time to see and be seen and possibly get some definition in our upper arms. Yes, health is important, but so is being seen at the gym. Looking all kinds of good. And yes, huffing and puffing through those workouts, but still being able to list off the ingredients to your Waldorf salad from the third row of spin bikes is required. Hell, it’s an art.