Somewhere between its glorious Greek and illustrious Latin roots, the word gymnasium (a funny-sounding word, I think) has one appealing meaning – to exercise naked. :) Gyms (not to repeat an unappealing word) are sprouting everywhere in the city of Accra. Now, I have never been to one, so I cannot say for certain if it is vaguely true – the honeyed stories about the Personal Trainer and the rich, adventurous or neglected … :) I always found that job title lewdly loaded with measureless meaning – Personal Trainer, huh.
So, the modern Accraian cares about how they look, and if their body can be recognised from the basic human blueprint. Others say they merely want to lose the heavy sack of potatoes that they have quietly hidden inside their bulging bodies for a reckless half-decade. Some are calmly honest, and come slowly to admit that they are looking for friends, or more, in that tiny, sweaty room. Which brings me to the African at Salsa - all the rage (but a topic to be slain at a later date).
For peeps (i.e. people) who have flaunt-worthy flesh, the gym is quite an exhibition, really (admit it, admit it). I might join a gym next week, just to observe the human body in free, unguarded physical exertion. In between looking everywhere, a very stiff neck and a few contact details, I might get to build some bulk on my certainly easily recognisable blueprint.
Now, I, for one, would not mind if they practised the Greek-and-Roman notion, and stripped down to the barest minimum. Appropriately minimal clothes make as much sense as the mediaeval knight who went to the battlefield dressed in a coat of mail. So, Accraians, why not lose the track suits, the raincoats :) and the super-hero capes :), and mimic the Roman example. In no time, the fluid body you painfully conceal should be a physical joy to look at, no?
The gyms will continue to grow until a new thing takes over. That has been the history of Accra. For now, seeing so many healthy, firm and firm bodies on the capital’s humanscape gives me a wisp of hope that the carbo-abdomen (the blighted flab, flesh and gas that some young women disrespectfully show off) and the beer belly (proudly pregnant men) are about to disappear.
Accra does love a beautiful body.