There are many things in life that annoy me (people who stand on the wrong side of the escalator, how single socks disappear in the washing machine, my face’s inability to stay shine-free, to name but a few…), but top of my list at the moment are photos of celebrities leaving the gym. Anyone who occasionally (or frequently, no judgement here) glances at the Daily Mail Sidebar of Shame will know what I’m talking about. It’s not the fact that they’re leaving the gym that grates, it’s the fact that they do so looking bloody flawless. Michelle Keegan, Karlie Kloss, Khloe Kardashian… There they are, waltzing out of Barry’s or Lomax or somewhere else uber-fashionable, without a sweat patch or damp sock in sight.
The caption ‘they’re just like us!’ will frequently accompany this type of photo. Erm, if they were really ‘just like us’ they’d be leaving the gym with their sweaty hair scraped back into a bun, glugging water out of an un-branded plastic bottle that should have been thrown away about a month ago, trying to gauge precisely how many minutes it will be until they can be home and in the shower. Because, unless you’re the kind of person who goes to the gym to sit on a cycling machine to read a magazine (don’t even get me started on this), anyone who goes to the gym will pant, sweat, strain and grimace themselves into an unholy dishevelled mess. And this is a GOOD thing! No one pushes themselves whilst maintaining perfect makeup.
Now, I’m not implying that these celebs go to the gym and spend an hour sitting on a Swiss ball filing their nails. A quick glance at most Instagram accounts will show that when these women work out they do it properly, mostly with personal trainers, and they’ve got the bodies to show for it. But I have a strong suspicion that an hour so passes between the end of the workout and the departure of the gym – plenty of time to shower, wash your hair, apply no-makeup-makeup and put on some leggings and a top that aren’t soggy and beginning to ferment. Again, no judgement here. I nearly always change into a fresh top and make a vague attempt to blow-dry some of the sweat off my hair before heading home, mainly to save my fellow-tube goers the experience of having to sit next to someone who is a walking advert for rehydration. But there is no way I’m even near photo-ready. I really wish Kim, Cheryl, Doutzen et al would just admit it with a breezy ‘hey y’all, just did a quick touch-up before facing the hordes of paparazzi outside, we are human after all’.
Sweating is normal. Sweating is healthy. Most things that make us sweat are normal and healthy. The heat wave a couple of weeks ago made us realise that a) the UK is woefully inept at functional air conditioning and b) everyone sweats at some point. I can understand how Karlie and co will make efforts to disguise any kind of bodily moisture at something like an evening event (note to self: NEVER wear grey), but when one is sweating in context, i.e. at the gym, why bother? I’d have a hell of a lot more respect for any celebrity who posted a red-faced damp-haired no-makeup selfie along with the caption ‘couldn’t get my ass sweat in the same picture, soz #perspiration’. If we can witness the fitness, why can’t we get the sweat too?