Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Teenage kicks

Gym changing rooms are a wonderful place. Here, all manner of life exists. Amidst the various naked bodies and smell of talcum powder, it is also a great place for gossip. The conversations of teenage girls are the best for eavesdropping as well as the most ridiculous. With their loud voices and overdramatic hyperbole, they offer up the details of their lives as if they were writing a detailed Facebook status. Indeed, spend five minutes in the same changing room as them and you are guaranteed to find out who they fancy, just how much they hate their hair and their favourite member of One Direction.

Let me just say now, I have nothing against teenage girls.  Up until a few years ago, I was one. Inevitably, the second half of my teenage years were considerably better than the first half. This was mainly due to replacing school with Sixth Form College and exchanging my Croydon facelift hairstyle for a proper cut. By their very nature, your teenage years are some of the best and worst of your life. In those six long years, you will provided with your fair share of memories and firsts. House parties and bottles of cheap Lambrini, the first time your heart was broken perhaps, or the first time you sat in a darkened room and listened to The Smiths.

The only place, however, where I cannot abide this particular species of teenage girl is at the gym. They attend in pairs mainly, their best friend almost a mirror image of themselves. They wear their hair in topknots, made fashionable perhaps by emaciated sumo wrestlers. Their faces are plastered in thick foundation and black eyeliner and their gym kits are small ensembles designed by Jack Wills or Pineapple dance studios.

I have observed that they spend most of their getting ready time moaning about their hair and slating one of their absent and less attractive ‘friends.’ ‘You know, if she lost some weight and wore mascara, she’d probably be ok’, says one to the other. ‘I know’ says her identical friend, pouting in the mirror. Who said the sisterhood was dead? Whilst in the gym, they spend the first five minutes deciding what machines they will use. They will predictably sigh when they spot that there aren’t two treadmills together and opt for something else to remain as a duo. Here, they will use a quarter of their strength on the cross-trainer, ensuring that the other three quarters are devoted to having a chat about Justin Bieber or that poor ugly girl from school.

When they have grown tired of each other, they’ll resort to their Iphones in the hope that playing Bejewelled and exercising at a glacial pace will improve the condition of their thighs. Twenty minutes later, whilst I am red and hot and sweating profusely, their eyeliner has not even smudged. Back to the changing rooms, they quickly apply more make-up, complain about their hair and have enough time to call their Mum to ask for a lift home before purchasing a Twix in the vending machines on the way out. It’s almost making me want to be fifteen all over again.