As a yoga instructor, I’ve been to my fair share of Bikram classes where I exercised in just a sports bra, and the dude next to me pretty much sported a skimpy Speedo.
We’re sweating, we’re basically naked, we’re breathing heavily it’s basically like a spiritual porno.
So, you’d guess I would have no problem tearing off my baggy t-shirt when it came is high time to hit the gym rather than the yoga studio.
But, TBH, there’s just something about the extremely suspect side-eye I constantly suffer from the old man on the rowing machine that builds me want to wear a full-body space suit during the entirety of every HIIT circuit.
Yoga is my comfortable, happy place. When I’m in the studio , nothing can go wrong.
In comparison, uncovering my midriff at the gymseemed like it would be just as uncomfortable and awkward as demonstrating up to a party alone and standing in the corner pretending to enthusiastically text someone.
But, in the name of not dedicating a f* ck, I decided to suck it up, strip it down, and conquer some commandos sans workout shirt.
As I headed toward the elliptical for some warm-up cardio, my first instinct was to immediately turn around and grab my shirt from my car.
My belly button suddenly felt like international crimes punishable by law, and I could feel sweat beginning to drip down my forehead, even though I hadn’t even started my workout yet.
I managed to talkmyself out of it, realizing I should probably save my irrational anxieties of bellybutton-related felony for something more realistic, like my horrendous parking abilities( yup, shootings fired at myself ).
I finished my warm-up and strolled over to the ab mats with my headheld high, ready to kill the new HIIT workout I had planned.
I was candidly starting to feel various kinds of badass and liberated without my shirt.
However, right when I determined down on the mat, an elderly human decided to explosion my bubble by motioning for me to take out my headphones.
Oh no, I thought to myself.
I tentatively removed one earbud and prepared myself from what came next.
He told me I should set my shirt back on because my stomach was truly distracting to him and others.
Oh, I didn’t realize that my belly button is so disturbing to you? Is it the piercing? The diamond can be kind of blinding I altogether feel you.
That was the heavily sarcastic statement I I’d had the balls to throw back at him.
Instead, I mutely rolled my eyes, gave him a half-hearted nod, and decided to channels my newfound annoyance into my workout.
What seemed like a billion burpees afterwards, I was out of breath, drenched in sweat, and feeling on top of the world.
I refused to let this man’s commentary get at me, or build me put my shirt back on.
And I think that’s actually what made this whole experiencefeel so incredibly freeing.
Other than a handful of not-so-subtle gazes fromguys my age in between their dead-lift grunts, demonstrating my belly was actually a lot less scary than I anticipated.
As for that old dude on the ab mat, perhaps he should try to focus on his own workout routine rather than preoccupy himself with a young woman’s body. Just a think, you know?
Luckily, his comment actually a sort of natural, pre-workout-esque boost of energy for my sweat sesh, so perhaps I should thank him( nah, I’m good ).
I’m sure I’m not the first woman who’s experienced this kind of sexualization, and I’m certain I won’t be the last.
But if you can’t help but be distracted by my midriff, that sounds like a big bowl of your problem not mine.