I just got back from the gym, or palestra as the ancient Romans called it. Even though it’s a relatively recent phenomenon, you can see that the palestra is seen by all Italians as a modern update to those days spent at the baths as in olden times. Modern, because men and women now mix and thus they wear clothing -- albeit just enough to cover up their obvious disdain for such a barbaric practice.
As an American, I use the gym like I always have: as a place to work out, get sweaty and go home to take my shower; sweats and all. All I know is that the difference between me in my 20yr old Stanford sweatpants and oversized t-shirt and the hotties posing on the treadmills is like the difference between Charlize Theron in Monster and Charlize Theron – if she were infinitely more tiny.
But, it’s in the locker room where they really show their stuff. These women (at any age) work out in underclothes (and I use the term loosely) that, if the Bush Administration got a hold of them, would be used for torture at Abu Ghraib. How they can work out with strings and things riding up you-know-where is beyond me.
Call me traditional, but I’m from the Midwest where cotton was considered a good thing to wear to the gym. These women look like they were just passing through on their way to the lap dancing club just out the back door.
But, maybe I’m just not traditional enough; in Hadrian’s time, men & women alike had piercings from top to bottom, shaved everywhere and everything, and always left the baths beautifully coiffed.
No better way to show off all those tattoos.