I am at the gym, rushing through the sidewalk in a large coat with my active wear under me. I am almost always too excited at the prospect of the gym to waste time in the changing room.
I open the door and a cool breeze welcomes me and I know I am home.
I take off my coat and reveal a tight pair of grey gym pants, my favourite piece from Gap I got at a bargain in New Jersey.
My sports bra clings on my breasts and have a blue and often white cotton top to avoid any accidental boob slippage.
I walk down the shiny plastic red lit staircase to the basement where the heavy weights are, tightening my fanny pack and taking out my gym gloves to wear.
I stare at my reflection the in the mirror. A red haired girl stares back, a tribal tattoo peeking out from her left breast, a sneaky quote on her left wrist and a symbol on her neck. I raise my arms to tighten my hair and my grandmothers’ names on my arm peek out. All off these, surrounding me and giving me comfort.
The music blasts on and I put on my blue headphones at maximum volume, ready to lift and lift heavy.
As a woman who lives in the city, being comfortable with your body and the inherent nakedness that comes with at the gym are two paradoxical lives I have lived.
In the gym, while deadlifting, I would always push all off my top inside my sports bra to avoid any piece of cloth being stuck in my waist belt and while working out any body part, I make sure clothes are not a part of it.
Will I get stared at?
Will I get nasty comments or comments that would make me feel disgusting about being a woman?
A common answer would be yes, maybe.
But, to my surprise, I am never stared at. The gym is surrounded by people working their asses off on a schedule and is full of mirrors. Appreciative glances are passed and acknowledged at a good form, at a heavy weight you are lifting and at an amazing muscle pump you get and that is that.
90 minutes later, I step out, in my coat, a hoodie or a hat on my head and the only way you would know I am a woman is by looking at my breasts and behind and that is enough for men to stare at me.
They cannot see my eyes or my face.
They see red hair peeking out and curves and that walk is the most excruciatingly painful walk ever.
You can call out a cat-caller or fight someone who tries to touch you, but what do you do to people who stare at you and mentally undress you?
I often ask myself why would they do this? What do they gain from it? It is not like I hand out my number to any guy who stares at my body parts.
I found this open letter to men who stare and it connected with me.
Have you also faced this?
Have you been stared at and made to feel uncomfortable?
Please read this and comment with your experience.
Open Letter to Men who Stare