Somewhere around a week ago, I saw something that made very little to no sense to me, which subsequently got me thinking.
I witnessed a woman, a relatively attractive, and in good shape, enter the locker room at the gym, stow her stuff in a locker, take a shower, change into her workout gear, then proceed to do her hair and makeup before heading out to the gym to work out.
I observed this as I pealed myself out of my own sweaty gym clothes, took a shower and dressed and brushed my hair ( I don't usually wear makeup ) along side her. The entire time I was thinking about how little sense it made to me. I was taking a shower because I was heading to work, and because I had recently finished my workout, smelled slightly better than the inside of a hockey bag. Why would someone bother to worry that much about how they looked when they were heading to do something that would make them look like, well like they had run a few miles.
Then I started thinking, and noticing my own behaviors and emotions. I realized that what I wear to the gym is a source of some anxiety to me. I spend a lot of time convincing myself that it doesn't matter what I wear, I am there to work, not to show off. I have stood in front of the many full length mirrors in the gym, evaluating my outfit, Do I look frumpy? Is it weird that my shoes don't match? Why is that lump showing up on my stomach and how can I tug my clothes to hide it?
Or worse, while I'm on the treadmill, or standing on the mats doing my strength workout and some very fit or very tiny, or because I live and workout in NYC very chic, girl comes over to run/lift/stretch/be generally cooler and better than me, I start the mental comparison check list. There really isn't any conscious decision that goes into this process, it's virtually instinctual. It usually lands me firmly in the "not as good as her" category, but that's my issues talking.
What has been occupying my mind lately is the fact that we, as women, feel this need to be "presentable" at all times. That even in the gym, where we are supposed to get sweaty, gross and generally work our butts off, we tend to play the "fashion game".
Why is that?