If there’s one part of UC Irvine that makes me feel particularly spoiled, it’s the Anteater Recreation Center (ARC). Not only does its recent remodel boast a brand-new weight room and equipment, but only at the ARC can you go swimming, get a massage, take a cooking class and climb a rock wall in the same afternoon. It’s the nicest college athletics facility I’ve ever been to, and in my opinion even surpasses expensive private fitness clubs like Newport Beach’s Equinox or the ritzy 24-Hour Fitness Ultra Sport.
Now the ARC’s awesomeness might make it a little crowded (especially in the aftermath of spring break shenanigans), but if there’s one thing I love about crowded places it’s people watching, and boy is the ARC good for that. For those of you who frequent the ARC, you might notice some similar sets of people who just always seem to be there. And so I am pleased to bring you, for your reading pleasure, ARC-types, a selection of just a few of my favorite kinds of people that you always see at the ARC. Trust me, you know who they are.
Ah, one of my personal favorites. This ARC-type is the one who arrives looking like she’s going to an America’s Next Top Model casting call at the Citadel Outlets off the 5 freeway. Even though she’s going to the gym, you can count on Skimpy-Shorts to still have on makeup, earrings, and her hair carefully done up in a bouffant. But her namesake is awarded thanks to her “look-at-me” cotton sweat-shorts that barely cover up her behind. Skimpy-Shorts is most commonly seen on those vaguely inappropriate leg machines that involve the repeated opening and closing of one’s legs while in a seated position; however she can also be found on the Stairmaster or elliptical, sweating out her foundation. You go, girl. That’s what the complimentary towels are for.
This may be difficult to imagine but you’ll know one when you see one. The macho type generally wears something that was once a T-shirt, but has since been de-sleeved to the point where his entire torso is displayed. The effect is sort of tunic-like, as though he were preparing for a medieval jousting match and decided to substitute cotton for chain mail. Although his shorts and shoes may vary, Macho McManly can usually be found with an expression of exaggerated seriousness, punctuated by grimaces and scowls. McManly is almost always at the bench or with free weights, working on the only two muscle groups he thinks exist: pectorals and biceps. Occasionally, McManly will take lazy strolls to a faraway drinking fountain, so as to puff out his chest and hope that Skimpy-Shorts McGee will notice him.
This is almost as uncomfortable to write about as it is to actually witness, but I know that many of you have experienced “the groaner.” This ARC-type is one who … seems to get a little too into their exercise routine. You’ll be minding your own business when suddenly you’re interrupted by this individual’s echoing grunts as they try to get in those last few reps. For additional hilarity, take a gander at their face, which will no doubt be screwed up into a puffy red mess of exertion. I’m not sure if it’s to prove that they’re working harder than everybody else or if their headphones are too loud to hear the sounds that they are making. Either way, tone it down. No one wants to hear you expel those kinds of vocals in public places.
Speaking of no one wants to hear it, why would you take your intimate conversations to the ARC’s weight room? Chatty McChatterson is the person who comes dressed to work out but really just spends an hour leaning on the nearest machine and revealing the latest installment of their life drama to their friends and anyone around to hear. Honestly, isn’t that what YouTube is for? Additionally, if no friends are around, Chatty McChatterson can also be found blabbing loudly on his or her cell phone. “Sorry babe, can I call you back? I’m in the middle of my crunches right now.” Give it a rest.
This ARC-type is one that probably bugs me the most. They may not be obnoxiously dressed or unnecessarily vocal, but their crimes are worse. The Monopolizer is guilty of just sitting on a weight machine not doing anything. They just sit there, staring off into oblivion, sometimes drooling, while you wait patiently for them to finish up their set. Upon asking The Monopolizer how many sets they have left, they will often say things like, “I’m just starting,” when really they haven’t done a thing since they sat down.
I’m throwing this term out there for the ARC-goer who manages to find all kinds of wacky and mysterious ways to use the machines and equipment. Usually, it’s in a precarious and potentially life-threatening manner. An example would be someone twirling two dumbbells around that have been tied together with a sock while standing on one foot atop a bench. The Entrepreneur usually wears a smirk as people gaze at him or her with raised eyebrows. Attention whores by nature, they will tell you all about muscle groups that you didn’t even know existed. The Entrepreneur is quick to scoff at the directions posted on machines and even quicker to create fulcrums out of yoga mats, exercise balls and a couple of towels tied together. Although they may not utilize traditional workout methods, they definitely earn props for creativity.
Think you’ve seen some good ARC-types? E-mail them to email@example.com and they could be published in future issues!