At the suggestion of a good friend, I accepted a one week membership to David Barton Gyms so I can try it out and see how I like it.
I went knowing a few things:
1) My primary location would be in the heart of Chelsea (and for those not in the know, that's the epicenter of the gay world in NYC). It's also not on the commute home or to work (but can be with a bit of difficulty).
2) The place is loaded with muscled out Chelsea-ites who don't consider you worth looking at if your waist size is above 28
3) It's a gym with the feel of a gay pick-up bar
4) I could get a better deal through my company at NYSC for $30 less a month and be able to go to any NYSC in the city
Knowing ALL of this, I was still willing to try DBG before I took the plunge. Yesterday was okay. I did my cardio and felt pretty good afterwards. I was too focused on my hour of cardio (and was pretty much facing a wall), showered and went home. Tonight, I got hurricane force attitude winds from the second I walked into the door. With looks ranging from "Why are you even bothering to come?" to "No, you will never look like me" to "Go home. You don't belong here" I felt about as comfortable as Pat Robertson being a judge for Miss Drag Queen USA.
I used to work out at a very small, even intimate gym. Never packed. Rarely crowded. And it worked for me. No I didn't wind up with abs of steel or a huge muscle body but I was okay with that. I looked good and I felt good. Today I felt like that would never happen at DBG. A little discouraging.
My friend kept trying to sell me on the hot eye candy and how I could meet someone there, etc. but he didn't get the fact is that gym time, for me, is "me" time. I don't have to answer a phone or email. I can shut out the world and do my own thing. I'm not there to cruise or meet men or have sex in the steam room (another thing that DBG is notorious for). I'm there to work out, relieve stress, and be healthy.
"It's all in your mind," my friend said after I regaled him of my tale.
No. It wasn't in my mind. I just don't feel comfortable there. It could be right next door to my apartment and free and I doubt I would have a different opinion. Having been through enough rejection and recipient of more than a few of those judgmental looks that make me hate most gay bars as well, I knew what was going on. David Barton Gym wasn't going to be the place where I would want to go after work to get fit.
Yeah, so maybe I have a thin skin and can't take the constant barrage of quizzical looks and glances designed to make me feel like less of a person because I don't fit their mold. However, it doesn't mean that I have to force myself to go to a gym that's going to make me feel like crap at the end of the day. $105 a month is a lot to pay each month just to be told you don't belong and probably never will.
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