It’s weird, when you think about it, what is considered acceptable to complain about in the workout/OCR/fitness world.
If you’re injured, for example, being open and forward about it is accepted and recognized as wise. I’ve had a fair amount of experience with that this month—minor injuries, fortunately, but they were enough to affect my workouts, and by letting my class instructors know about them, I was able to get some alternative exercises and some stretches to aid in recovery and good stuff like that.
If you’re tired, on the other hand, declaring your fatigue won’t get you very far. You’ll be told to suck it up, stop whining, grow a pair or a trio, and so on.
And yet, complaining about being tired is far from the worst thing you can do. Don’t believe me? Try going to the gym and complaining about your nipples.
Perhaps I need to back up a bit to explain, although it’s a bit less complicated than you might think. I went running yesterday, and it was a nice run (7K, my longest of the year so far and a distance that would have been absurd at this point last year) The downside is, well, nipple chafing. It’s a thing, and it’s annoying, and it seems to be getting worse for me (although that could just be because I’m upping the distances I’m running).
Anyhow, when I went to my gym class today I wasn’t expecting any issues with my, as Stephen Fry once described them, fulsome pair of funbags.* But the class that I took is a pretty wide-ranging one that included a bunch of different things, including several sections of running (both on treadmill and, since the weather was nice, outside), which weren’t terribly pleasant on the ol’ nip.
But now I need to take one more step backward and explain: One of my gym buddies asked about my shoulder—the most recent of my injuries—and I was able to tell her that it was feeling much better. But, just in the course of making complaintservation, I shared the fact that I had a bit of a welt on my arm from the phone holder I use when running, and it was really annoying, positioned as it was in just the place where my sleeve ended.
Body Glide, she instantaneously recommended, which was probably the worst thing that could have happened, because realizing—as I know did—her knowledge and authority in matters of running-based rubbing, I apparently figured that she would want to know about my buzzwams.
“Does it work on nipples too?” I asked. Although we were on the treadmill doing high-grade inclines, so it came out more, “Does… it work… on… nipples… too?” And as I was huffing and puffing I wasn’t really moderating my volume quite as expertly as one normally might in day-to-day conversations. Furthermore, it happened to be taking place at the end of a song on the gym’s sound system. Yeah, you can guess where this is going: I bellowed “nipples” right at the moment when the normally noisy gym was almost completely silent.
Now, I’m okay with being thought of as a bit weird. It’s probably my personal brand. But I prefer being sweet weird to creepy weird, so I needed to defuse the situation, because just letting it pass and expecting people would forget it couldn’t possibly work. The only way out would be to work my way through.
“My nipples really hurt,” I announced to the entire class, as if that were thoroughly normal. “You know, chafing. Because I ran yesterday. Because my man-boobs rub up against my shirt. I should probably run without one, but, you know, hair. Scares the children. Does anyone else have nipples that hurt? Or worse, bleed? Fortunately I haven’t had that yet.”
At no point in that monologue did I find myself in danger of defusing the situation. I did, however, have an overwhelming sensations of just how effective a pile of kettlebells could be as a weapon.
Don’t worry—nobody actually chucked a kettlebell at my head. I have been asked to not speak or look anyone in the eye at the gym for the next few months, though, which I have to agree is more than fair.
On the other hand… as I was leaving, one of the trainers slipped something into my bag. A pair of bright blue suction cups, delivered with a knowing nod. I tried them on my next run and—fantastic. Sure, they protruded a lot, but as I said, I’m cool with being weird. So maybe talking about our nipples is something we all need to do a lot more of.
* He wasn’t referring to mine specifically. Still, it’s a nice turn of phrase.