Blogging from A - Z about clothes...
“Oh by the way, Mum, I forgot to tell you…” My daughter Imogen looks up from her book. “I entered your name in a competition last week. The prize is a free session at that new women’s gym that’s just opened in town.”
“Why did you do that?” I am alarmed. I’m not a gym person. I have nothing suitable to wear to a gym.
“The woman who approached me was very insistent. I couldn’t enter my name because I’m under 18 and so she suggested you…” Imogen looks at my face and then hurriedly says, “Don’t worry, Mum. I’m sure there are hundreds or maybe even thousands of names entered. What’s the chance of you winning?”
Before I can say anything more, the phone rings. It's Samantha from the Cuddly Women's Gym. She's delighted to tell me I've won a free gym session.
“Oh I’m not sure…” I say to Samantha, but she cuts me off: “Now you’re not going to refuse, are you? Come on! Be a sport. You’ll enjoy yourself.”
“But I haven’t anything to wear.”
“Oh you don’t need to dress up. I’ll see you at 10 am tomorrow.”
I think about not turning up, but then I remember the gym has my telephone number. They probably won't leave me alone until I sample their gym. So instead I think about what I’ll wear. What does one wear to the gym? Last time I went anywhere near one, all the women wore leotards and tights. (That was a long time ago.) I remember how important it was to look good. I decide I need to buy some new sports clothes. My old T shirt and shorts just won't do.
The next day at 10 am, I roll up to the gym wearing some brand new navy blue exercise pants with a crisp white T shirt. I’m feeling fit. I‘m in good shape. I look great in my new cothes. I reckon Samantha is going to be impressed. All of a sudden I‘m looking forward to my free gym session.
Samantha greets me with a huge smile. And then she says, “We offered three free gym sessions and all three winners are older women.” She beams widely. “Isn't that wonderful? It’s nice to see older women at the gym.”
Older women? What does she mean? Is she calling me an older woman? Suddenly I don’t think I like Samanatha. I don’t like her gym.
“So are you going back, Mum?” Imogen asks when I return home.
I think about my new exercise clothes. It would be a pity not to use them again.
“No,” I say. “I’m just not a gym person.” I don't think I like exercising in public.
I decide to take up running instead. I run along the bush tracks close to home. It doesn’t matter what I wear: No one can see me, except the kookaburras and they don't care about things like that. Then one morning…
I’m running along under the gum trees when I meet another woman, a younger more beautiful one. She is power walking, striding along with her elbows high in the air. She smiles as I race by. I notice she is dressed in black leggings and a new ultra-white brand-name sports shirt. Her shoes are ultra-white. So are her socks. I wonder if she noticed my faded old T shirt, soaked in sweat. I glance down at my once new pants. They are now a little stretched and not so very navy. My shoes are dusty. I feel a mess.
Then I grin. What does it matter what I'm wearing? Who cares what I look like? I am running. I am running through the beautiful Australian bush on a glorious sunny morning. I am fit. I am healthy. That’s all that matters. Don’t you agree?