While at the Gym today I eyed a tight knit group of 4 young men working out together. Not for reasons you might suppose. It was actually the 50 pound barbell they were passing between them that I was looking at. I needed it to complete my workout routine. Dead drops to be specific. They are the best thing that's happened to my butt since Sir Mix Alot's "Baby Got Back". Really, my butt almost looks cute and that is saying something. So you can see why I really needed that barbell. I had done all my other exercises and still it was missing from the barbell rack, only now it was resting on the floor and the 4 chatted away with each other. I calculated my week in my head and tried to figure if I could skip it this time. But my workout schedule was already mucked up because I had missed the day before (Another story. Let me just say that when they show the video of my life, that won't be my proudest 15 minutes.) There was no way around it. I had to have that barbell.
There was nothing for it but to go over and ask them for it. I know this to be proper protocol in the gym because people have done the same to me. So I walked over and asked them if they were done with it. A couple of them nodded yes, but one in particular looked at me and said,
Ma'am? Ma'am? When did I become a Ma'am?
Don't get me wrong. I'm not delusional about how those young men--oh they're really just boys who am I kidding--those boys perceived me. And they were all jocks. Even in my heyday I was never the jock type. (Though how I actually came to marry a jock is something my close friends are still scratching their heads at. Again, another story.) It's not like I was expecting them, or anyone else in the gym to check me out--but Ma'am? I wasn't entirely sure how I felt about that.
As I began to crunch out my dead drops (2 sets of 15), I pondered over this new title. Well, frankly it's hardly surprising, after all 45 is safely behind me. I looked in the mirror the other day and thought, "Who is that old woman?" I think I was holding my own until motherhood robbed me of any significant sleep. I could fit a coin purse, a comb and even some chapstick into the bags under my eyes. Wrinkles, gray hair that even Miss Clairol won't cover up, and belly fat (Yes friends I have belly fat and that is NOT another story) are all the tell-tell signs that I am no longer girl I was.
As I put the barbell back on the rack I took another look at the four boys still chatting with each other. Nope, definitely not the girl I used to be, I thought. But then I realized that the girl I was probably wouldn't have gone over there and asked for the barbell to begin with. As stupid as that seems, I probably would have been too self conscious and insecure. I would have skipped the exercise, or at best made due with a lighter weight, or just waited around until they returned it to the rack. That girl was a bit of a wuss, always worried about what other people thought. I think I've finally left some of that behind me now and it's sorta liberating.
And you know something else. I have to admit that I was just a tiny bit thrilled by it. With that Ma'am there was just a tinge of respect. It was kinda cool. "Ma'am." "Yes Ma'am". You know, it's not so bad once you get used to it. Helen Mirin is a Ma'am and she's got more goin' on than half those empty headed starlets in Hollywood. I'm not a girl anymore, I'm a Woman. I'm empowered--a force to be reckoned with.That's something I can live with. So go ahead, call me Ma'am.
And try keepin that 50 pound barbell from me at your own peril.