tip tap tip tap
The strands of hair covering my forehead flicked little beads of sweat onto the treadmill interface below. I’ll need to wipe this down afterwards, I thought. The bud speakers in my ears translated electrical current into acoustic energy, filling my head with fast-paced workout music. Even so, I could not escape the rhythmic tapping of my own two feet below.
tip tap tip tap
I heard a group of people enter the workout room behind me, ending my solitude. Although a single room, partial walls divided the room into three sections. The people had evidently entered into the free-weight area. I ran another mile or so. Once I deactivated my treadmill, the sounds of my stomping feet no longer obscured the conversations of the young men in the room. I performed a set a sit-ups.
“Dude, I just want to **** three girls at once. Two isn’t enough, I need three.”
I initially attempted to drown them out with my music as I did my calisthenics. I could see them now–four males between the ages of approximately sixteen and twenty-two. They appeared to be brothers. So crude and loud was their conversation, that I could not help but listen. Sweat dripped from my body onto the floor while I completed a set of pushups.
“Just hit it and quit it. Don’t get sucked in. There are other women at work that you need to ****, man.”
“Yeah, I don’t know. I think I’ll just find a **** on Craig’s List.”
“****, you would <sexual act> with her.”
My anger increased with each passing minute. However, my resolve to confront these young men was dampened by cowardly thoughts in my mind. You’re not perfect, either, I had thought. You’ve been involved in these conversations before, but you didn’t say anything then. I finished my workout. I was about to leave, but God pricked my heart.
I walked a few paces to where they were gathered. I mentally contrasted my damp t-shirt with their dry bodies. One of them inattentively performed lat pull-downs using minimal weight, while the other three shot the breeze.
“Gentlemen,” I said. “Is sex all you are?”
I had caught them off guard. Nobody responded. I continued.
“I listened to you talk about sex for the last fifteen minutes. From your words it sounds like that’s all you care about. Is that true? Is sex what you’re living for?”
Three of the young men dropped their heads in shame. One of them spoke up. He attempted to turn the conversation toward jest.
“It’s our world,” he said with a smile. “We’re just hormones, aren’t we? We’re after sex, sure, yeah.”
“If that’s the case,” I said, “then you’re no more than an animal. You’re not a man.”
“Yes,” he said, still with a smirk. “We’re just animals.”
The boy’s attitude increased my anger.
“You know,” I continued, “I have friends overseas who are prepared to die for this country. They know what honor is. But this, this isn’t it.”
The boy’s smile left his face. His brothers stared at the ground.
“We’ve got a lot of respect for those guys, but that’s just not us.”
“You don’t have to be a warrior to live with honor,” I countered. “So tell me, what are you living for? All of you, what are you living for?” I was hoping to get an answer from the other three boys, but their spokesman continued.
“Sex and money,” he replied. He had become completely serious. “That’s all there is. All of the music, all of the shows, they’re all about sex and money. That’s what we live for.”
Disappointment replaced my former anger. The other three boys guiltily hung their heads. I knew that they didn’t believe statements of their spokesman. To them, I directed my final charge.
“Think about it, men.”
I walked out the door.