Friday, April 13, 2012

Gym Changing Rooms

There is a very white, over 50, male, west-country bias in the gym I go to but over-hearing conversations is fun. Clearly casual racism is not a spectator sport I am proud of but it is hard to know precisely where to complain. Some of the everyday prejudice comes so naturally to these guys it is hard to be moved by anything but the more extreme examples (that thought from David Lodge in his novel Nice Work).

Obviously I use the male changing rooms so my sample is limited. Some of the conversations are so personal, so detailed, that I can't believe those involved really are happy that complete strangers overhear them. I have never got any change out of Pete, even when smiling and saying good morning, so I expect he'd be surprised I knew his name and even more surprised I could speak freely of his Viagra prescription.

Today a loud-mouthed regular (LMR) was getting to know another guy. Turned out the other guy was an experienced yachtsman who had taken part in serious races. LMR had been on one boat trip once and decided that the best getting-to-know-you tactic was to tell experienced sailor (another Steve, again he doesn't know I know) all about his one trip. The story went on for ever and probably eliminated this developing relationship from Steve's enquiries.

At the end of the conversation LMR announced that he would like to be buried at sea. I revealed my identity and offered to conduct the service. A voice from across the changing room said 'Make sure he's dead first.'

3 comments:

RuthJ said...

Not sure whether I hope the last para is apocryphal or hope that it isn't - nice one, St.

Coming from an area where anyone with southern vowel sounds is stuck up and a snob, I was astounded at the level of anti-Welsh prejudice down here in the south-west. I suppose it's just a case of being different enough and near enough to be annoying.

St said...

It's true Ruth.

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