I’ve been really making an effort to get to the gym at least once a week since my son was born. It’s been an hour or so each week that I’ve come to really look forward to because I get the opportunity to do something for myself. I used to be tremendously uncomfortable going to the gym because of my social phobias and the feeling that everyone’s fucking staring at me.

I still get that way from time to time, but it’s much easier now that I’m a mom and care far less than I used to about what people may think of me. Also, I’ve found that plugging into my music helps me drown out a lot of the negative thoughts that trigger my anxiety.

I noticed that the elliptical machine asks me for my weight and age when I begin my warmup. I think it’s one or two pieces of information away from a good dating site algorhythm. For example, in addition to weight and age, if it asked for a user’s relationship status and gender, it could generate a few love matches, if one were so inclined to find them. Not that I would, but hey, it could be the next eHarmony.

I’m never more self conscious anywhere in the gym than I am in the locker room. I had a Stage Four clinger in the ladies locker room. I know it has been a while since I had consistent adult interaction, but this woman was bizarre. She was having a conversation with me while I’m trying to change. Rule #1 broken. Don’t speak to strangers in the locker room.

Then she began debating no one whether or not to take a shower because “I’m just going to get right back on the bike.” I don’t even know why she was sharing this with me.  She seemed like she was just off her meds or something. But, halfway through her debate to either me or herself, which I couldn’t really tell, she took her shirt off and is standing there in her bra. She was like, “Should I get a shower? I do smell bad.”

I don’t think she was hitting on me. I mean, if you’re going to hit on someone, definitely not a good idea to announce that, right? I couldn’t get changed fast enough. She left for a minute (and I thought she was going to the showers) but then came back, still in bra and shorts.

I just stopped answering her after a while. I don’t know how it works for guys, but as far as I can tell, once you start taking your clothes off in the locker room at the gym, all conversation stops.

After that interaction, I found there were private changing areas and began using them exclusively. Then I was only privy to other people’s conversation through the anonymity of the changing curtain.