Listening in on Manly Men, at the Gym

I’ve belonged to the New York Sports Club since 1996, except for a four-year stretch in the early 2000s. I’ve always enjoyed the chain, which provides a very consistent experience — I’ve used probably 10 locations in New York State and Connecticut since I joined, and I liked all of them.

Being the observer of human behavior that I am, I always keep my ears open for snippets of conversation. Locker rooms are good for that, better in Connecticut than in New York. On the other hand, the weightlifting areas at the New York clubs excel at providing manly conversations, since so many muscular studs are busy flexing their pecs and abs there at lunch.

Case in point, from the Rockefeller Center gym I now visit on weekdays. I was in the weight area downstairs, doing arm curls and other moves with modest weights, 10 lbs., enough to keep toned but not rupture anything. I was the exception. Two men were down there slinging the 105-lb. hand weights (that’s 105 pounds in each hand). They looked suitably bulked up.

One man next to me told another, “They lifted 31,000 lbs.”

“You mean, 3,100 pounds?” asked his friend.

To clarify, they asked one of the men.

“Yeah, we lifted 31,000 pounds together. It took about two hours,” he said modestly. They must have kept a running total of weights x repetitions x men.

The two observers were in awe of this manly accomplishment. 31,000 pounds!

One said in amazement, “Not even A-Rod could do that!”

Hearty male laughter followed. And that’s my tale from the sweaty inner sanctums of the New York Sports Club for today.