>>> Primal Urges
By staff writer Nathan DeGraaf

October 10, 2007

Dave: Come on over, dude. First round’s on me.
I’m only drinking on Friday and Saturday now.
Come on, man. Who’s gonna be my measuring stick?
Measuring stick?
Yeah. When my woman gives me shit about drinking, I always tell her, “At least I’m not as bad as Nate.”
Do I drink that much?
Joe the Bartender’s wondering where you are.

I’ve been to a lot of bars in my life. It started when I was a little tyke and my dad would take me up to his local watering hole and teach me how to shoot pool. As I aged, certain career choices would force me to enter strip clubs, bars, and techno clubs with a fake ID. I didn’t want to do it. Really.

(You’re not buying that, are you?)

And then there was college, where I fell in love with a local watering hole that I called my own for four blissful years. And after college, well, I can’t even count all the bars in which my name is known, my jokes are told on repeat by other patrons, and bartenders invite me to their parties. Hell, there are bars in cities I don’t even live in where certain regulars know my name. Some would say I’m an alcoholic, but I prefer to think of myself as a socialite drinker (euphemisms are the new duct tape).

But now, I’m taking some time off, choosing to drink only on weekends like the Patron Saint of Personal Responsibility told me to in a dream I had after drinking an entire bottle of rum and chocolate syrup in one night (side note: delicious mix).

“I learned that it took a lot more than a crazy, drug using asshole to scare a meathead.”

And I’m going to the gym again.

Now, I’ve been working out off and on since my senior year in high school. I’ve been in a lot of gyms and I’ve learned a lot of stuff. And I figure, you know, maybe this stuff could help you. So we’ll take it gym by gym and get to the bottom of the mysteries I uncovered while trying to make myself more attractive to the opposite sex.

We’ll start where I started.

The Old High School Gym

My senior year, I took a weight lifting course. I had the highest GPA of anyone in that class (a phenomenon that had only occurred once previously in my high school career—in Wood Shop), and I learned that gym teachers are not necessarily stupider than any other teachers.

You see, I had a few personal problems that stemmed from me being on drugs all the time. Also, I was an obnoxious jerk. And at times, I would get a little mad, freak out a little bit, and threaten the livelihood of random (read: smaller than me) students in class. Because my grades were pretty good, certain school officials got together and decided that if any teachers felt I was a threat to their classroom, then I could take my classes from home. Five of my teachers agreed to this in less time than it takes the average 18-year-old male to rub one out. My gym teacher, Coach Radke, had a different idea, as I learned during the following conversation.

Radke: DeGraaf, get in my office.
What up, Coach?
DeGraaf, I got the funniest phone call about you. It turns out that if I feel you are a threat to my classroom—whatever the hell that means—that I can allow you to take my course from home.
Yes sir.
Well, I told the lady on the other end of that line—she’s some head shrinker or something—that I highly doubt that you have a gym in your home. I’m not wrong here, am I?
No sir.
Good. I then told the shrink lady that I have ten representatives of our school’s offensive and defensive lines in this class, and as such, I’m pretty sure we can contain your buck thirty ass.
Buck forty.

So there you go. In my first gym experience, I learned that it took a lot more than a crazy, drug using asshole to scare a meathead.

My second gym experience taught me a lot about what it’s like to be a woman.

The Old College Gym

Other than how to workout hungover (lots of water and bathroom breaks) and how to steal protein from the ocean when I was broke (i.e. go fishing), the most important thing I learned in the old college gym had to do with appearances.

Women, it turns out, get hit on a lot at the gym…for obvious reasons. The gym, much like the beach, cuts down on the guesswork when it comes to sizing up a potential mate. I mean, it’s not hard to tell how hot a chick is when she’s wearing Lycra. That stuff doesn’t hide much.

One day, while I was working out, a random dude I never met came up to me and said, “Dude, that’s a fine girlfriend you got.”

At the time, I had a girlfriend and she was very fine. But she only exercised outside, so there was no way this dude could have known her.

“How do you know her?” I asked him.

“Dude, she’s here like every day you are. I mean, how could I miss her?”

He then pointed to my roommate’s girlfriend of four years. She smiled at me.

“Oh, yeah,” I said, and then added, “Excuse me,” because I am very fucking polite.

I then walked over to my roommate’s girlfriend and politely asked her what the hell was going on.

“Well,” she said, “your girl never comes to the gym and my man never comes to the gym so I figured you could be my beard. I get hit on like 50 times a day in here and it gets really annoying. But the guys all leave you alone when you say, ‘Actually that’s my boyfriend right over there.’”

“Why can’t you just say where your real boyfriend is?”

“Because when you say, ‘My boyfriend’s sitting on the couch eating leftover pizza and watching SportsCenter’, they keep hitting on you.”

“Ah,” I replied.

And so for the remainder of their relationship, I was her “gym boyfriend.”

And I basically learned that guys really need to stop turning the gym into a singles bar. I mean, come on, women are there to workout, not pick up dudes.

Of course, that was easy to unlearn, especially when I got a job in a gym.

The Old Gold’s Gym

After graduating college and spending my summer consuming much better liquor in Europe, I decided I needed to start working out again. The only thing was, I couldn’t afford a gym membership because I didn’t have a job. So, because I am inherently brilliant, I realized that if I got a job at a gym, I would kill two Iraqis with one hand grenade.

A little while later, I was a personal trainer and gym membership salesman. And that job taught me the most valuable lesson of all: how to hunt MILFs.

You see, hot older women do not go to the gym and hire personal trainers to solve health issues, or because they’re looking to become bulked up she-males (insert A-Rod joke here). For the most part, they hire personal trainers for one reason: to make up for the personal attention they’re lacking at home.

And if you don’t know how to capitalize on such an easy offer, there’s nothing I can type here that will help you, so let’s
just move on.

My Current Gym

I have been a member of my current gym since 2002. I took a small break between October 2003 and last week, so I can’t really recall anything important that I’ve learned in my new gym. So, I’ll just give you guys some general workout advice.

  • Diet
  • Focus on form
  • Drink lots of water
  • Try not to yell too loud
  • Do not hit on the high school girls behind the counter

So there you go, exercise is about more than looking good and feeling good. It’s about more than weights and cardio and fat and protein. In addition to all that fun stuff, exercise is also about MILFs, respecting a woman’s personal space and realizing that no one is so badass that an entire gym can’t contain them.

And if you’re wondering why this week’s column is so long, well, the thing is, normally I tap this bad boy out real fast on Monday, then head on up to the Local Pub. And since I can’t do that due to diet restrictions, I am taking advantage of the time by writing really long-winded, self-involved columns.

So now you can get even less done at your work or institution of higher learning.

No need to thank me. I’m here to help.