Posts Tagged ‘Eww’

I like swimming.  You could even say I love it.  Of the three triathlon disciplines it’s probably my strongest and the easiest to be motivated to train for.  In other words, it’s not hard to talk myself into my pool or open water workouts.  I mean, sometimes it sucks getting up early n’ all but once I’ve done so I typically enjoy myself.  I can’t always say that about, say, running.

Anyway, as with most things though it’s not all unicorns, lollipops and rainbows and there is a not so “glamorous” side to swimming.  This blog post then is a confession of sorts to the kinds of stuff that, while we have come to accept as swimmers, we don’t necessarily talk openly about either.

So keep reading at your own risk.

  1. ‘Snot Enough?

Yes, we swimmers tend to get really phlegmy from time to time.  And I’m talking about huge, glistening streams of yellowish snot rockets hanging from our nose.

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Swimming tends to increase phlegm build up inside your sinuses shortly after or during a swimming session meaning that every now and again we’ll surface with an enormous nose goblin hanging from our snoz.

I mean, it kind of makes sense when you consider that while you’re swimming, you’re basically allowing water to naturally enter your nasal passages in a minor amount despite either holding your breath or exhaling when submerged.

And then there’s the whole humidity thing going on in most pools causing boogers, which are little more than dehydrated snot, to rehydrate and become more fluid.  This pairing of conditions causes them to break loose from the interior of the nasal passage.  And when you’re exhaling forcefully as most swimmers are apt to do, boogies might cling to stray nose hairs and such, which leaves you seeing swimmers with what looks to be an eel hanging from their nostril.

And what else is there to do but wipe it off and carry on with the workout?

Still want to keep reading?

  1. Who gives a flying fart?

Yup, we fart too.

Well, at least I do so I’m sure other swimmers do as well.  Around our house, we simply refer to them as “pool farts”.

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As best as I can figure it, while swimming a swimmer will swallow little bits of air here and there over and over again, not to mention little mouthfuls of water.  It’s just inevitable.  It happens.  So eventually, that build up of air has to come out somewhere.

Now, usually, this is not big deal.  Seldom are they the nasty, toxic beer and sauerkraut kind of fart, but more the breezy release of air that wafts out harmlessly and ripples to the surface like a bubble lazily drifting up to the surface from the ocean floor.  For me, this happens most often when I do my flip turns and I push off the wall leaving a little string of bubbles behind me with a low, audible underwater moan as if a dying sperm whale somewhere in the pool has up and kicked the bucket and I have to complete the next 25m or so with this little pocket of air sloshing around underneath my Speedo’s.

But then there’s the good ‘ol post-workout pool fart as you’re walking back to the car afterwards and, man, do these ever feel good.

It’s the best part of the workout if you ask me.

However, sometimes, depending on what you’ve eaten the night before (if you’re swimming in the morning) or before the workout (if you’re swimming later on) where you rip what you think is just going to be a harmless little squeaker and what bubbles up smells like it came up from the bowels of Hell itself.  These are certainly the more dire of the two.  Here, the water fart is 100% unfiltered; the Platonic ideal, the form, the ‘fart-in-itself’ if you will.  An ordinary air fart is simply a shadow cast into the physical realm of this singular perfection but these monsters, the unfiltered variety gets trapped in the water only to burst and be released upon the surface like angry Krakon it is.   If you launch one of these in the pool, my suggestion is to bid a hasty retreat to the next lane.

  1. Pee that as it may

I’ve already professed before my feelings about pissing in the pool (click HERE); that being, you just don’t do it.

Period.

However, maybe I was a bit hasty because, well, I do.  I mean, I don’t…but I do.

Ya, know?

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Now I’m not talking about full blown streams of piss here as if I was out behind the wood shed after a few wobbly pops and conscientiously letting ‘er rip into the wind, no.  I’m talking more about little slips here and there.

Have you ever noticed that when you swim you don’t really have any sense of your bladder?  I don’t know why, but it’s not until I come to wall and stop when I become aware that, yeah, I have to take a leak…except, I have a few more 100’s to do and so I decide to hold it.  C’mon, you’ve all been there.  So I might do a fast flip turn and, oops, a little gets released.

What can I say?

It happens.

          4.  Poo too?

Yup.

Shit.

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The CDC collected samples from public pool filters and found that 58% tested positive for E. Coli, which is usually found in feces.

I’m not saying that swimmers take dumps in the pool, hells no!  But you also have to remember that there are often kids in the pool when you’re not there and, even then, humans have, on average, .14 grams of fecal matter on their butt when they enter the pool and can easily contaminate the water.  Multiply that by the hundreds of people who visit the pool every day and you’ve got almost a full turd floating around.

       5.  The Dirty Truth

How about showering first before entering the pool?

Ha!

Not likely.

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A 2012 survey by the Water Quality and Health Council concluded that 43% of North Americans don’t shower before getting into the pool. Somehow they think that the chlorine with automatically make them clean.

It doesn’t.  And that’s gross.

And considering some of the people I’ve seen enter my local pool, well, let’s just say I don’t even want to go there in my mind.

So?

How excited are you now for your next swim workout?

Lord knows the Men’s change room at the local YMCA is the Ground Zero from which all things fucked up and ridiculous emanate and it’s already well documented the strange assortment of weirdos and weird behavior I’ve encountered in there.  I even wrote a list of haloed “Locker Room Commandments” once (click HERE) in an effort to keep us aligned and playing nicely with no awkward weirdness but, apparently, nobody gave a second look.

*sigh*

So now, usually, I just try to get in and out as quickly as possible without ever diverting my eyes from the ground immediately in front of me.  If I thought it wasn’t too weird to sport a pair of those side-view blinder things that see on professional bowlers and race horses, I would – believe me.  However, sometimes there is just no avoiding the strange behavior of some people as their internal idiocy just shines too bright.  And just when you thought you’d seen it all, some moron’s bizarre habit or total douchebaggery suddenly leaps out from the shadows and hits you full impact with all the force of a runaway freight train.

This is exactly  what happened this morning.

Usually I swim early in the morning beginning at 6:30am.  At that time the pool is jam packed with all the old buzzards doing, well, whatever is they do between ends of the pool.  Some swim, some float, some bob, others – who the fuck knows what they’re doing exactly (click HERE) – but as long as they do in any other lane aside from mine I couldn’t give two shits.  For the most part though, they all know me well enough by now to know that I’m there to kick ass and so they pretty much leave me alone to the Fast lane.

It’s perfect.

Anyway, as we all more or less arrive together, most of them will have long since left by the time I’m finished my workout.  In fact, in some cases and entire second wave of morning swimmers and “bobbers” have entered the pool and left again.  It’s just the circle of life at my community pool between 6:30am and 9:00am.

Queue the lions.

As such, I seldom see any of the change room habits these old dudes have as they’re long since gone by the time I emerge from the pool to shower and get changed.  This suits me just fine since I’ve seen enough wrinkled up old man dick to last me a lifetime.

Today, however, one of the second wave “bobber-floaters” – an old man – in the next lane decided to stick around a little longer than usual.

No big deal though, right?

Of course not!

However, what this also meant is that since he happened to excuse himself from the pool only 10 minutes before my own workout, it was very likely I wasn’t going to have the shower-change room to myself as is usually the case when I leave.

Now this isn’t really a big deal either, although I will admit I do look forward to and enjoy that few minutes of peace and quiet after my long swims.  After all, when you’ve been more or less submerged in water in a near sensory deprivation state for approximately 90 minutes to two hours at a time, reemerging into a loud, boisterous environment can be somewhat overwhelming.

Trust me.

So when I exit the pool and enter the change room I am a bit, shall we say, “absent”.  It actually takes me a few minutes to acclimate to dry land and regain the use of all my faculties.  So while I’m in this state, let’s just say that I can be a bit, well, oblivious.  I mean, really, all I’ve had to focus on for the past two hours is the sound of my underwater breathing and maybe the echo of the odd pool fart I squeaked out somewhere mid-stroke. There’s not a whole lot else to occupy your mind and senses.  So, anyway, this was the state I was in when I happened to enter into the change room this morning.

And then it happened…

When you enter into the Men’s change room from the pool area you first have to pass through the showers in order to get to the change room.  I typically do this right away prior to showering as I like to drop off all my pool equipment at the locker, strip out of my suit and grab my bottles of TRISWIM.  Then I proceed to head back to the showers to take care of business.

Between the showers and the lockers area there are two wall mounted hot air driers situated up high that people can use to blow dry their hair.

I know, real men don’t blow dry their hair.

(Pussies)

But whatever…the driers are still there.

On this particularly occasion as I was passing through the showers to my locker I was suddenly greeted by a most disturbing scene.  The old man who had left the pool just minutes before me, had decided that he was now going to grab one of the plastic stools out of the showers to stand on and…

…wait for it…

…blow dry his nut sack.

Yup.

There he was, shoving his wrinkled old man dick into the hair drier while running his fingers through his greying pubes.  Now, think about it, at that level his droopy old man balls were perfectly situated at eye level just a mere inches away from my face.

I was instantly all:

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Yeah.

I absolutely gagged.

I just couldn’t wrap my brain around the total train wreck before me.  His testicles dangled there like a day old Tetley tea bag.  Had a bell rung I would have been tempted to go all Rocky on his “speed bag” like this:

Fortunately for this numbnuts (and I say that both figuratively and, very likely, literally) no bell was to be heard.

I mean, seriously?

WTF?

What would possess someone to – you know – dry their nut sack in a public change room using the drying machine located approximately 6ft. up on the wall?  Clearly, had it been intended to warm your Charlie Brown’s it would be at least waist level! B ut apparently this fact was completely lost on this ass clown.

After I’d dealt with the mental trauma (hours later, of course) I started to wonder what would happen if this old guy, who looked like he had all the physical durability of a china doll.  Honestly, if he were ever to slip and fall from his plastic roost mid-blowjob he’d likely shatter into a thousand like a fluorescent light bulb.

One has to wonder if the reward of a toasty ball sack is really worth the risk?

Everybody has phobias of some sort.

Some people are afraid of spiders while others are afraid of, say, flying, clowns or the dentist. Some weirdoes are even terrified of chickens (Alektorophobia).  Lord knows I suffer from a touch of Globophobia myself, or the fear of balloons (don’t ask).  But, lately, in recent years I’ve also developed a healthy dose of fear for hot tubs.

Yes, hot tubs.

I mean, I used to use them.  When I first joined the gym I would really look forward to those post-workout soaks in the locker room.  I literally spent hours in it. Shit, sometimes I would pack a picnic basket, skip the workout altogether and just spend the entire day completely enveloped in the hot, soothing bubbles of the Members Plus hot tub.

It was absolutely divine.

Kinda like this:

Okay, maybe not quite like this.

Insert some old dudes in for the bikini-ed women and tubes of Bengay in lieu of cocktails and, yeah, it was probably more like this:

Regardless, I still liked it well enough after a good workout.

But then – not so long ago – I happened to show up to the gym anticipating a good relax in the tub following one of my long, cold winter runs and, low and behold, it was closed for “maintenance”.

Shit.

Sure there was still a sauna I could use but a sauna doesn’t have bubbles, does it?

Hells no!

And who can relax without bubbles, amiright?

Anyway, there I am in the shower casually watching the guy “work” on the hot tub (coincidentally, I was also trying to avoid the Black Mamba – click HERE) when to my immense horror, I watched him fish out what looked to be an entire rodent of some sort from out of the drain.

“What the fuck is THAT?!”, my brain screamed.

Was it a beaver?   Was it a CHUD of some sort?

Whatever it was it was fucking nasty.

Then it dawned on me: what I was actually witnessing being extracted from the drain was a huge tangled mass of graying old geezer pubes.

I instantly started dry-heaving and the maintenance guy only looked at me momentarily and winked an acknowledge as if to confirm my horrific realization.  I felt exactly like detective Frank Thorn must have felt when he suddenly realized what main ingredient in Soylent Green was (click HERE).

Of course, not willing to simply let it go I decided to dig a little deeper if you pardon the expression).  As it turns out, you can pick up some unappetizing and even dangerous bugs from a dip in the hot tub, both from the water itself and also from the steamy atmosphere around it.  Unlike a pool, the warmer temperature of a hot tub makes it more difficult to maintain the proper disinfectant levels that kill certain germs.  One common germ is ‘Pseudomonas aeruginosa’, which can result in an infection called ‘Pseudomonas folliculitis’, or the aptly-chosen nickname, “hot tub rash”.  The rash often follows the shape of a person’s bathing suit, and is characterized by itchy spots that develop into a bumpy rash, as well as pus-filled blisters around hair follicles.   Another more serious condition is the potentially fatal ‘Legionnaires’ disease, a type of pneumonia caused by a germ called Legionella, which is found in water (especially warm water) and can be breathed in from the steam or mist surrounding a contaminated hot tub – people older than age 50, smokers and those with weakened immune systems are particularly susceptible.

But here’s the real coup d’etat: did you know that the average bather has about a tenth of a gram of feces in their gluteal fold, which is a nice way of saying ‘butt crack’.  So what that means then is with only five people, you have about a tablespoon of shit in the hot tub.

Yeah.

Since that time, I’ve been pretty spooked about stepping foot in the hot tub – any  hot tub. Now, every time I see a group of naked dudes relaxing in the sauna all I can pictures is that tangled mass of nastiness and know that it’s not longer a “hot tub”, it’s a huge steeping bowl of crotch soup and there’s absolutely no fucking way I’m ever subjecting myself to that evil recipe.  So every time I hit the showers now I will inevitably give the hot tub a wide berth as it were a bomb that might go off at any second.

Anyway, fast forward a few years to about three weeks ago and I’m enter into the showers at the local YMCA after my Masters spin class.  As per usual, the hot tub has about 2-3 guys in it all enjoying the hot water and jets.

Except one guy who, well, let’s just say that he was enjoying it just a bit too much.

He wasn’t just sitting there lounging around with his arms draped over the side of the tub as it the common posture when soaking in a hot tub.  No, sir!  He was getting right down and dirty into the water itself – up to his eyeballs – like a hippopotamus enjoying the watering hole on a hot day.

Every time he submerged himself all I could picture was that tablespoon of ass residue that he was inevitably getting a faceful of.  Take about a “facial”. This would even make the most grizzled German fetishist quiver in disgust. The whole scene made me was to mash a fistful of Quaaludes into my mouth and burrito myself in a wool blanket in the middle of a field somewhere to away fate.

And then it happened….

Upon going all ‘Hunt for Red October’  around on the bottom of the hot tub for a few seconds (God knows why), he resurfaced and fountained a stream of water out of his mouth and all over himself like a happy elephant cooling himself down on the African plain.

I was all:

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Oh, but he did!

I probably turned whiter than Marshmallow Fluff and instinctively clutched the towel to my chest in complete horror like I was protecting a briefcase full of stolen state secrets.  I think I might have even threw up in my mouth a little.

Old School Funk

Posted: November 7, 2015 in In Transition
Tags: ,

I was faced with a bit of a dilemma today.

The initial plan had me going to the gym after work (and a quick and dirty 20k tempo ride) to get my He-man on which, in and of itself, is no big deal.  The problem was in my haste to get the child packed and ready that I had forgotten to pack a t-shirt.

Yeah.

Where this might pose as no real issue for other dudes but, when you have the upper body of a melted ice cream cone such as I do, working out shirtless (which, fortunately, is frowned upon at your local YMCA) is not an option unless you also happen to enjoy working out to the sound of other gym goers around you dry-heaving through their weights sets…and I don’t.  Hence my distress when I realized that I had overlooked this necessity.

Shitballs!

Not wanting to cancel my planned workout I went so far to inquire at the front desk about any extra volunteer shirts that might be lying around unused and even rifled through the Lost & Found…all to no avail.  What does it say about you when you’re willing to risk a whole cornucopia of infections by wearing a strange and potentially dirty shirt from an unknown gym patron rather than forgo a workout?

Fortunately, I remembered that I always carry a “Plan B” bag in the back of my car.

What’s a “Plan B” bag you ask?

Well, in it is an extra towel (2), baby wipes, swim goggles (2), swim cap, socks, first aid kit, spare tire (for a bike), air cartridge, a set of levers, zip-lock baggies, water bottle, protein bar and, yes, even an old t-shirt.  Everything a busy on-the-go triathlete might ever need, you know, just in case.

But let’s back track a little bit.

Years ago when I first routed myself down this active lifestyle pathway and started going to the gym, I didn’t have any of the kazillion (seriously, I think these things multiple like Tribbles on their own in my bottom cabinet drawer) of fancy dry-wicking t-shirts that I have now.  Whenever I went to the gym I just inevitably threw on any random ordinary cotton t-shirt from my drawer that invariably absorbed every single drop of sweat that oozed from my bloated frame so that it eventually hung off me like a wet shower curtain by the of the workout.

It was not pretty…but it worked.

I meant that after 60 minutes or so I would smell like a rancid pole cat and I then needed a gas mask and 10ft. pole to fish it out from my gym bag afterwards but, not knowing any better, this was the routine.

To this effect, I had three go-to shirts for the gym since after about a dozen uses or so I couldn’t really wear them anywhere else; clean or otherwise since you practically needed a priest to exorcize the stink away.  They were all threadbare and sweat-stained and I was immensely proud of them.  So much so, that while they are pretty much unwearable now, I still have them lovingly stashed away (hidden) in my closet as a reminder of the early days.  But in the grand scheme of things, these “fat shirts” ultimately befell the same fate as my “Fat Shorts” and went the way of the dodo.

The other thing to recognize as well is that these shirts were huge…like, really HUGE.  Hey, I was a much bigger dude when this all this started so each of these shirts was an extra large to begin with, coupled with the fact that they had been stretched even bigger after baring all that spent sweat.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I realize now the many health hazards (various rashes, skin irritations, et al.) as well as the various social faux-pas of wearing this type of unruly garment to the gym (#9 in my own Gym Commandments) and I have since stopped this practice in favor of wearing cleaner, more efficient, breathable and presentable shirts.  I still sweat pure battery acid, but at least I don’t look like someone from whom you might get a staph infection.

You’re welcome.

Anyway, one of these old gym shirts also just happens to be the same shirt I just fished out of my “Plan B” bag.

It was a faded green concert t-shirt that I picked up way back in June of 1995 after attending a Yo La Tengo concert at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire in London, U.K..  It’s, easily, an XXL…well, more like an XXXL now after years of wear n’ tear.  Holes?  Oh, it has holes.  In the pits…in the collar…in the front, back, shit, I’m a walking peep show.

I do have to admit, though, I was kind of excited.  While not exactly “gym fashionable” anymore, it did feel pretty nostalgic as if I was going back to my early gym roots back when I didn’t know any better and didn’t give two flying fucks.  For 60 minutes I got my He-man on in and among all the spandex-clad gym beauties and their perfectly accessorized Under-Armor beaus.

Yup.  I was that guy.

Of course it wasn’t beautiful but, tonight, to all those fashionable gym haters I was all like:

So, fuck the popular gym etiquette, tonight I got my He-man on old school style.  Yeah, sure, it was 3 sizes too big and I probably looked like a midget wearing a camping tent but, still, I totally enjoyed going all Rocky 3 and going back to basics – gnarly sweat stains, rips and tears n’ all – old school funk if you will.  After about 3 nanoseconds on the ergometer, the first hint of moisture appeared under my arms and across my chest.  After 3 minutes it was an all out hot mess and I couldn’t have been more pleased.

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Old school funk

Because, baby, that’s how REAL men do it.

…well, this  time anyway.

The Case of the Funky Wetsuit

Posted: July 31, 2015 in Equipment, Swim
Tags:

It’s already been well documented here on my feelings regarding peeing in one’s wetsuit.

Yes, it’s gross.

But sometimes it’s necessary.  Shit, sometimes it’s even pretty nice.

I understand all the ick factors associated with pissing in ones wetsuit for sure (click HERE for a little reminder) but, over time, I’ve just learned to accept it as one of things when it comes to triathlon and open water swimming in general.

If you gotta go, go.

Let ‘er rip.

But where I don’t necessarily look forward to it as some others seem to do, I have learned to relax a bit and just learned to go with the flow, so to speak. Shit, at times I’ve even enjoyed it.  For example, it’s just after 6:00am in the morning and you’re a kilometer into your open water swim in the canal and you’re in the middle of these calm, still waters with no one else around but the ducks…and you have to piss.

Hey, don’t judge me.

Unless you’ve felt the warm sensation of pee spreading through your wetsuit as you casually stroke through the misty water then, well, let’s just saying you’re missing something a kin to being back inside the womb. It’s comforting.  Gross – but comforting.

Anyway this was the case this past Wednesday morning.  It was glorious.  And after said pee break I swim back to the dock at a leisurely pace, strip out of my wetsuit and wrap it in a towel and proceed to the nearby gym to shower off, get dressed and get to work with not another thought about it.

Perfect workout.

Except that when I get home later that day to rinse out my wetsuit I get the comment from my step-daughter, “that smells really, really bad.”

“It just smells like the canal”, I responded.

Usually, this is the case anyway and I was dismissing it as more of the same.

We then left for Stage 2 of our ‘Tour de Ridgeway’ (post coming shortly) around the neighborhood for approximately 45 minutes or so for.  Upon entering the front door immediately adjacent from where my wetsuit had been hanging in her bathroom to drip dry, the smell just kind of lashed out at you and punched you in the face.

Okay, it definitely smelled bad.

Kind of a cross between road kill that has been steeping in mustard gas and the potent whiff of ammonia you might get off your pee after eating a shit ton of asparagus.

I couldn’t deny HRH  her claim any longer to it smelled bad and maybe I had even been a bit presumptuous.  In fact, there was the very real possibility now that the smell would reach the neighbors and potentially arouse suspicion that something or something had actually died in the house.

“We’ve got the funk. Gotta have that funk…”

WTF?

This had never happen before.  That quick rinse out of the wetsuit afterwards had always worked before, likewise, it’s not like I piss in it all  the time – quite rarely, actually – but for whatever reason, the wetsuit did reek.

Badly.

But I had done everything I knew how to do (i.e. rinse and hang it) so the task of “defunking” the wetsuit then fell onto Kelly’s shoulder’s; ever the dutiful Triathletes Wife.

She spent about 10 minutes click-clacking away on her laptop and eventually found a few websites with suggestions on how to remedy just such a problem.

In particular she found this:  “Wetsuit Care – 360guide

The site offered a bunch of obvious tips for cleaning wetsuits, including what NOT to do (i.e. bleach, iron, machine wash, etc.), but at the very end there was this little quip about relieving wetsuit funk.

“Once every couple weeks, throw your wetsuit in a tub of fresh warm water (not hot) with a couple of caps of dish-washing detergent. Wash it and the detergent will break down the body oils and wash away the bacteria that leads to smelliness. Rinse your wetsuit in fresh water so you get all the detergent off, then dry your wetsuit in the fresh air.”

So she did this.

It didn’t work.

I think we might have to call in a priest.

1001 Things to do with a Tetrasock

Posted: January 6, 2015 in Equipment
Tags: ,

Like every other triathlete I assume, I can be a bit of an equipment or “gear snob”.  Yes, triathletes are the techies of the sporting world, it’s true.  If it in any way enhances, cushions, protects, builds, wicks, strengthens, or optimizes, like, anything, we’re totally 100% onboard.   Count us in.  I have seen some triathletes set out for their planned 10k runs kitted out with just about everything short of a full kitchenette.   From the looks of all the shit dangling from their fuel belts, they look more like Batman running off to save Gotham City from the latest super villain than they do a runner simply going for a jog.  The other aspect of this is that if any us should ever randomly discover something that we feel successfully does any of the things listed above, we’ll inevitably preach about it to no end to anyone who will listen (or lacks an immediate escape route) until the greater world at bay also buys in and is also reaping those same benefit. Triathletes are very supportive of one another that way and my Coach and I are no different.

Often, during one of our long bike rides or runs, the conversation would inevitably switch to whatever that new thing was in our training program that we’ve recently discovered and believe to be reaping the benefits of be it a new brand of running shoe, cycling short, Garmin tracking devise, training website, what have you.  Many kilometers have been passed while actively discussing the numerous pros and cons of every new gadget, gizmo and article of clothing available on the market.  Sometimes we agree with one another on something specific and sometimes we disagree but, whatever the case, at least we’re open to talk about it.  Such was the case with my Coaches new discovery, the ‘Performance Tetrasok’.

At first, I listened intriguingly.  After all, it was coming from the Coach and when the Coach speaks, you listen.  But then, she mentioned these socks were of the “toe design” variety.  Crap.  Now, I admit it, at this point I wasn’t quite as enthusiastic as she was as I’m not a fan of the whole “toe design” thing that she apparently is; I think they’re pretty gay.  Now, first there’s the Neil Patrick Harris kind of cool gay, and then there’s the complete “Siegfried and Roy sing show tunes” kind of gay, and these toe socks are definitely part of the later classification.  In my mind, they were kinda like this:

Believe me, I felt the same way about the Vibram Fivefingers barefoot running shoe craze as well. I’d rather be slathered with honey and staked to an anthill than be seen in public wearing these things.  However, my opinion not with-standing, a pair of these socks mysteriously ended up under our Christmas tree after our annual Christmas Open House a few weeks back.  Oh boy.  Apparently, she’s not giving up that easy.

Here they are:

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Now, I appreciate what she’s doing here, don’t get me wrong, and on paper they sound pretty damn excellent.  They brag being constructed with 70% “CoolMax moisture wicking lining and resistant nylon outer shell built with Lycra fibers”.  Now, I have no freakin’ clue what “CoolMax” is exactly, but it definitely sounds pretty awesome.  Whatever it is, the benefit is intended to create a thin, anti-friction membrane that is both lightweight and breathable.  Again, sounds pretty awesome right?  Furthermore, they “conform to the contour of your feet allowing for true restriction free movement from your heel to five toes”  encouraging healthy circulation and eliminating skin on skin contact between the toes to prevent blistering.  Really?  People blister between  their toes?  That’s probably a bit of a stretch but, again, it still sounds cool.  Regardless, those five toes still look ridiculously gay so I’m still sitting steadfastly on the fence.

One the one hand, there’s the recommendation from someone I know and trust and whose opinion I respect but on the other hand – gay.  So when it comes down to it there’s only one sure fire way to know for sure I guess.  Yup, I decided to give them a test drive, err, run, whatever.

Now, first, I think it’s important to give you the full scope of my concerns. The whole “five toe design” is fine and dandy providing your feet are as perfectly anatomically correct as, say, a runway shoe model.  Mine feet however?  Well, not so much.

Just take a look at these misshapen hooves:

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I know what you’re probably thinking:  “Holy fuckfarts are those ever gross!”   Yeah, not exactly model material are they?  Hopefully, I didn’t just put you off your dinner.  Shit, I can barely wear sandals in the summer without developing a complex.  These are feet you’d expect to see sported by some gnarly looking hillbilly playing a banjo on a porch somewhere.

The big toe (also known as the ‘hallux’, or “Big Toe”), second and third toe (“long toe” and “middle toe” respectively) are fine and dandy, but the real ugly begins with my fourth toe on each foot, known as the “ring toe” which is all puffy and clubbed.  They’re like pudgy children acting all shy and trying to hide away from the other toes. Likewise, my baby (“pinky”) toes are  practically attached to their neighboring ring toes like baby spider monkeys clinging to their mama’s.  How are they ever going to separate enough to fit individually into each specific “sleeve” within the sock itself is anybody’s guess.

Here’s my first attempt on fitting my left hoof into the sock:

DSCF2243Looks a little off, right?

The big toe and long toe are definitely no problem but the other three, well, not so much.

Here’s the other hoof:

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Even uglier, right?  In fact, it looks like I’m missing a toe altogether.

Here’s the full effect:

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Yeah.  Who feels sexy?  Not this guy.

Dr. Scholl is probably somewhere doing this right now:

After much stretching, pulling, manipulating, maneuvering, grunting, groaning, huffing and puffing, I managed to get the Tetrasocks on in such a way that they slightly resembled what normal toe socks must look like when they’ve been put on correctly.  This whole process only took about 45 minutes.  I swear, I could probably put socks on a rooster quicker than it took to wedge my deformed digits into these things.  And while I’m on the topic, I learned that I definitely need to do more yoga since the whole process of bending over to fight with my toes was not easy in the slightest; hence all the huffing and puffing.

Anyway, once on they felt, well, weird; as one might expect for the first time having your toes separated by a thin strip of lyrca.  It felt like I had poker chips inserted between my toes and I found it to be very unpleasant.  I think my toes might actually have started to miss one another.  I pressed forward with my planned run despite the discomfort and laced up my shoeing thinking that the weird feeling would subside once I had my runners on and I had started actually running…

…I thought wrong.

Within minutes that weird, uncomfortable feeling gave way to sheer annoyance and then a complete freakout of epic proportions.  I wanted to stop, rip off my shoes and literally chew them off with my teeth right then and there like a rabid coyote.  And given that my neighbors already have enough to shake their heads about what with my current running tights, not to mention my leaping and skipping drills, I figure the addition of seeing me sitting in the middle of the road attempting to chew off my gay toe socks would not help my social game any.  I’d probably be added to the neighborhood ‘Block Parent’ watch list for sure!  My next thought was that this gift was more a case for my Coach’s inane “schadenfreude” condition where she derives pleasure in the misfortunes of others…namely, mine.

I had barely made it home, like 5 minutes later before I stripped them off and replaced them with a normal pair of running socks so I could continue on with my run.

The instant they were off I was all like:

I definitely feel bad but at least I gave them a try.  Sorry Coach.

However, a gift is a gift and it was very thoughtful, so at the very least so I figure I still have to find something – anything – that I can utilize them for so her kindness does not go unappreciated.  Here then are some of the different ideas I’ve come up with as alternative uses for these Tetrasoks:

Running gloves (obviously):

1.a

Handling hot pans on the oven:

1

Preventing dish pan hands:

2

Washing the car:

3

Dusting the woodwork:

4

And my favorite:

5

Yeah, I’m sure there are lots of other more creative uses for these things but, what can I say, I’m a pretty simply cat.  Simple is pretty much my jam.  And with that in mind, I think I’m going to stick to wearing socks of the normal variety of socks.

Sorry Coach, it was a nice try though.

Despite blogging candidly about peeing, pooping, the time I seemingly shit myself in the locker room (click HERE) and, oh, let’s not forget about being perceived as some deviant who likes to watch roadside animals fuck (click HERE), I am actually a somewhat modest person, especially when it comes to nudity as I’ve already discussed in my post about locker room etiquette.

In high school Phys-Ed I would marvel at the other boys who’d casually stroll around the locker room buck naked while I showered in my underpants.  Yes, I was one of those poor shy bastards.  Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against  nudity; I just prefer to keep my shit covered up to everyone who’s either not my doctor or my girlfriend because the general public doesn’t need to see my intimate bits.

Nowadays I’ve gotten pretty skilled at slipping out of a wet swimsuit or soggy exercise clothes and into a dry outfit without exposing so much as a random fold, pube or crack.  Of course, I shower and everything but, even then, it’s all business.  I keep my head down and focused on getting back to my locker (discretely wrapped in a towel, of course) and into my street clothes and out of the locker room as innocuously as possible…

…unless someone takes it upon himself to strike up a conversation with me while his monster schlong dangles in front of me like an uncaged python.  That’s  when things tend to get a little awkward.  Because you know what? If you’re naked and you’re talking to me, I’m probably gonna stare at your unmentionables.  How can I not?  You’re freaking naked, for crying out loud, and you’re talking to me about the weather and how humid is out today while I try not to gawk at your junk.  It’s human nature to stare at something that’s out of the ordinary, and an old dude (honestly, this guy was probably older than fire) with a penis you could use for home defense qualifies as being a bit on the “abnormal” side of things.  Typically, my encounters with old dudes at the Y never go well.  Click HERE  for a little reminder.

Take this most recent encounter.  Today I went to the Welland International Flatwater Center for an early open water swim which is one of the true joys of triathlon training if you ask me.  It’s just you, the mist, the ducks and the peaceful serenity of still water.  Afterwards, I made my way to the YMCA for a sauna, shave and shower before heading onto work.  Because, you know, nobody wants to smell canal all day long.  Anyway, as I plodded towards the shower portion of the program I noticed an old black guy engaged in his own morning cleanse ritual which, apparently, included lathering up his asshole but, hey, who’s judging?

I think it’s an unwritten rule that if given the opportunity to allow for a little distance to exist between exposed naked bits then it is ones responsibility to take that initiative and position themselves as far as possible from the other exposed bit.  I call this the ‘Urinal Philosophy’ that guys typically observe at ball games and such.  You don’t use the urinal directly next to another dude doing his business if there’s an opportunity to use a free urinal elsewhere and thereby allowing for some ‘privacy’, what little it may be (unless, of course, it happens to be John Stanton).  I take this same philosophy to the showers at the gym: NEVER shower directly next to another dude if there’s the option of showering one shower head over, or elsewhere if possible.  In this case, I made my way to the other side of the showers altogether as I definitely have a limited quota of soapy bungholes in my day (i.e. zero).

The guy was naked, obviously, gettin’ his scrub on.  I quickly glanced in his direction as I walked by when I entered the shower room before looking away because I didn’t want to stare at his ridiculously huge cock.  I mean, seriously, this thing was scary. Like way scarier than anything I might have encountered in the canal (for example).  It was like a policeman’s baton with a nutsack that resembled something a bank robber might be carrying had it a dollar sign tattooed on it.  It didn’t.  I checked.  I fumbled with the shower faucet and began my quick rinse.

And then:

Dandy McDinoschlong: “You think it’s gonna be hot out today?”

Oh god.  No.  Don’t do this.

Me (staring at the farthest corner of the room): “Hmm?”  Maybe he wasn’t talking to me.  Maybe he was…talking to himself?  I dunno.  I just hoped he wasn’t trying to get a very exposed me to talk to a very nude him.

Dandy McDinoschlong: “Do you think it’s gonna be hot out today?”  Damnit.  Now he had moved over to, you know, talk.

I shot a brief glance back at him and my eyes tractor-beamed back to his gigantic Johnson before I forced them to pull their gaze up towards his face.  He was staring at me inquisitively while sudsing his crotch.  I flashed back to a previous experience in the locker room a few months ago (click HERE) and, honestly, this couldn’t have been anymore awkward had the ‘Crying Game’  started to play over the muzac system.

Just excellent.

Was he lonely or what?  Why now of all times and places to strike up a conversation?  At the very least, couldn’t he choose a moment when he wasn’t also rubbing and fondling his pet anaconda?

Dandy McDinoschlong: “I don’t mind the heat, but I can’t take this humidity”, he continued.

He bent down and started washing his knees and – I swear – his gigantic disco stick plonked itself down on the floor with an audible ‘thud’.  I bet this man’s poor wife hasn’t walked right since their honeymoon.

Me: “Uh huh”, was all I could muster in response.

Maybe if I ignored him he’d simply go away back to his own shower head.

No dice.

Dandy McDinoschlong: “Yeah, I used to live in Florida so I know humidity and this is about as bad as it gets.”

My brain: “Goddamnit, eyes, stop looking at his dick! Look anywhere else! ANYWHERE!!”

My eyes: “You got it, boss!” (immediately flicks gaze to his crotch)

My brain: “Oh for crying out loud…”

Dandy McDinoschlong: “So, you going to work then?”

Me: “Uh, yeah.”  Maybe this was my way out but he wasn’t having any of it.

Dandy McDinoschlong: “I’m retired now so this is my only workout before going home to watch television.”

My brain: “I bet just lifting that thing to scrub yourself is a workout!  I wonder if you can use that thing to change the channel too?”   Damnit!  Shut up brain!

Me: “That’s great.  I’m late as it is so…”

At this point I would have literally limbo-ed my way under his monstrous black mamba just to get out of there.  I was that desperate.

Dandy McDinoschlong: Oh yeah, well don’t let me keep you. Welphaveagoodone”, he offered.

Me: “Thanks! You too!”, I replied as I made my big prison break towards the shower exit, desperately trying to keep my eyes forward on where I was going.  I failed.

My brain: “C’mon, one last looksee…”  Fuck!

This man’s phallus will forever be etched in my mind.  I probably know it better than my own now.

Maybe it’s just me.  Maybe every other dude on this planet enjoys chatting with his peers in the shower while nude, furiously washing every wrinkly nook and cranny like a raccoon on crack while discussing the weather, the local sports team, or what have you.  Maybe I’m  the weird one because I don’t particularly like partaking in conversations while my taint is exposed and vulnerable.

If that’s the case, so be it.  Personally, I don’t relish being naked in front of strangers and I don’t particularly enjoy naked people talking to me, so if you’re thinking of striking up a convo with me while you’re bent over with your leather Cheerio thrust up towards the ceiling, please grant me the courtesy of throwing on a pair of pants before chatting me up.  Because contrary to what you may think, I assure you that I don’t  want to see any of that.