etiquette

The Fact That I Don’t Sneeze Like a Lady

It’s very embarrassing, but no matter how hard I try, I can never put a handle on my sneezes.

That tickly, achy feeling of a sneezing rising in your throat? For me, that is the feeling of unpredictability. I do not know what noise (or detritus) will be forcefully expelled from my nose and mouth. I do not sneeze. Sneezes expel themselves from my weak and submissive body.

This would all be OK if I were male. Unfortunately, ladies are supposed to sneeze like small dogs. Daintily, unobtrusively and without requiring a wad of tissues. If you’re a man, you can sneeze however which way you like. You may trumpet, snort, honk, or holler. I have a friend who brings a lecture hall to a grinding halt every time he sneezes. But hey, it’s OK. Because he’s not a lady.

I blame it on genes. My dad’s sneezes involve falling backwards onto a couch or bed and kicking his legs up into the air (sorry Dad, I hope you don’t read my blog). I guess I’ll never be a lady, and I’ll always have to carry a pile of tissues around in my handbag to shield unsuspecting coffee dates/fellow train passengers/preoccupied pedestrians from my circle of destruction.

I apologise in advance.

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Gym Etiquette

So I occasionally go to this thing called the gym.

In general, I’m one of those unexciting people who likes to exercise alone. There’s something soothing about going for a jog or doing laps like a lab-rat up and down a pool. Maybe it’s something to do with the anonymity of it.

There are a few indisputable, unwritten rules for working out in the same space. You don’t play music out loud. You do your best not to smell (a little deo is good; please don’t enter within a miasma of perfume). You don’t jump on the cross-trainer in a miniskirt (see above photo). You don’t grunt (unless you are working out in a barn-converted-to-gym in Samoa in 35 degree heat).

Picture five treadmills in a row. I’ve always thought of the etiquette of treadmills as comparable to that of urinals. (Not that I have any first-hand experience with the latter. Althooooough, this may change in the near future. Clicky here.)

You’re the first person to arrive at the treadmills. Lucky duck. You get to pick any treadmill you want. You pick treadmill number 3.

You’re the second person. You don’t pick the treadmill number 2 or 4. You pick number 5. Tick. You have exhibited good gym etiquette.

You’re the third happy runner. You pick treadmill number 1.

You’re the fourth gym buff. You eye out the treadmills. Oh no! They’re looking pretty crowded. Reluctantly, you pick treadmill number 4. But it’s OK, you had no other choice. Your footsteps are drowned out in the pounding and puffing of your fellow runners.

What was the point of this post? Oh, yeah.

So I went to the gym today. And I’m running on a treadmill. 2 out of 10 treadmills are occupied. Dude comes up, picks the treadmill next to me and starts sprinting away.

Normally I don’t mind too much. OK, so your limbs are flying back and forth in my peripheral vision, and I’m pretty sure I can feel your sweat flecks forming a fine mist on my skin. But it’s OK. It’s the price I pay for hitting the local gym. It’s coooool.

But today there’s a problem. This guy’s huffing and puffing. And not only that. I sniff the air suspiciously, in between my own huffing and puffing. And…urck. I’m pretty sure that’s bad breath I’m smelling.

I. Really. Am. Not. Very. Fond. Of. Bad. Breath.

So yeah, that added a new challenge to my jog today. Moral of this story: personal space is a good thing.

I hope I’m not being overly picky about this whole gym etiquette issue. I’m not obsessional. I just have a ridiculously good sense of smell. It’s not a blessing. It’s a burden. Be nice to those of us who are olfactorily gifted. Have a mint.