Friday, May 23

A Day at the Roman Baths

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.


Anonymous said...

Wow, are these woman actually sweating and working out? Like yourself, when I work out, I'm not looking to strut around- I just want to get on the machines and exercise!

Michelle | Bleeding Espresso said...

Thank you for giving me one more excuse, er, reason not to go to the gym here ;)

Anonymous said...

Hahahha, great post. Gym culture in italy always confused me. The locals seem to go there to strut and show-off instead of to work out. I remember women in my aerobics class wearing Superga sneakers (that have as much support as a pair of converse one stars) and large hoop earrings. They always referred to me as the "athlete" because I actually sweat and pushed myself as hard as I could while working out.

Anonymous said...

does anyone know where mara carfagna works out?

Irreverent Italy said...

Well, I do tend toward hyperbole. Actually, the woman in the courses are total powerhouses (and their bodies show the results). You only have to put up with them rolling down the tops of their sweats to pubic hair level (if they had them) in order to show off the menagerie creeping up their back.
Call me crazy, but I have enough on my mind without having to worry about what's going on on the small of my back...