Strength Training at the Gym

A few days ago, I was lifting 50 pounds on the machine that is supposed to strengthen my lateral muscles and help me eliminate love handles.  I was chatting to the woman next to me who was doing back extensions. 

“I’m a family therapist,” she said between repetitions.  “I see it all the time.  The women say they just want to be listened to, have their feelings heard.”

“And the guys?”

“They want to fix things, get it over with and move on.”  She did ten more reps.  She’s skinnier than my 15-year-old but she has a son graduating from college.  Another single mom.  Another strong back.  She paused. “The kind of support the women describe?  The guys get it all the time.  They don’t even realize it.”

“I bet they tell you they never asked for it in the first place.”

She laughed.

Supportive: what women try to do when listening to feelings.  Drama: what some men hear when women talk about their own.  I wanted to ask her if there were exceptions but by that time she’d moved down the line of machines to work on her biceps.   Maybe the exceptions don’t need a therapist and the rest of us go to the gym.

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About HomenDunRoamin

Teaching Artist & Writer: fiction, poetry & nonfiction. Recently completed work: a hybrid memoir. In progress: a novel set in an unnamed Latin American country on the brink of war. The book examines violent and nonviolent resistance and the choices women are forced to make to survive.
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