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Him: “Are you trying to look like a man?”

Me: “No. Are you?”

I entered the gym, heading straight into the deepest part. Past the treadmills and steppers, the aerobics room, and the weight machines. Back to the free weights area. Regardless of the gym, the free weights area always seems to be in the back. The refuge for iron and sweat. Male sweat. But not today. Today was different. 

In the corner, a tall blonde slipped on elbow bands and laid down to do a bench press. Next door, a short brown-skinned woman strapped her knees, readying for a deadlift. And on my left, two young college girls gossiped as they readied for squats. And not a man in sight.

I have no idea when this revolution started – but I like it. In my 20s, men stared - or stared me down - when I entered the weight room. It was clear that I was invading their space and they were not amused. Actually, some looked amused. But most seemed to bristle. They knew they would have to watch how they acted. They would have to watch their words. 

In those days, I entered the weight room unapologetically. I kept my head down, headphones in my ears, and my Walkman on. I minded all the gym rules and kept it moving. And every time, I had to prove myself worthwhile of taking up their space. 

But now? Now the weight room is full of girls. And I love it.   

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