Chivalry…and Lack Thereof

An interesting little wrinkle has been added to the fold of recent training. A young, loud, upper body work only “man” has started talking (loudly) to anyone who will listen about all of his bitches. See, when he’s fu*king his main bitch, he has bitches in line waiting…or so he says. He also will talk about the stupidity of his “main bitch”, that’s awesome.  He’s also obviously just discovered the “F” word because it’s in every three or four words of each sentence. Awesome.

Honestly, am I so naive that I am shocked anyone this back woods is even around anymore? What kind of upbringing do you have to address women as ‘bitches?’ What was really awesome, last week, was when he took the clip off my platform while I was loading my deadlift bar. I say, “Did you take my clip?” a couple of times before he mumbled for me to “relax” and threw the clip at my platform. Yup, he threw it. OH! After talking to the gym owner about it, he told me this person is at the police academy!  Goodie. The poster child for every wanna be prospect for police brutality.

However, my beef isn’t really with him. He’s backwards, big deal. My disappointment lies in every other man in that gym who looks embarrassed and uncomfortable while he’s spewing his verbal sewage and will try to walk away BUT THEY DON’T SAY ANYTHING TO HIM! As in, “Dude, that’s completely inappropriate, knock it off.” How hard is that??

Now, being disrespected in a black iron gym is not anything new. Happens all the time as the boys will need to flex their ego a bit. I’ve had men in this gym grab weights off my squat rack that I’ve set up for my sets, smile and say, “Thanks for finding that for me.” Funny, eh? But the behavior of this kid just seems hostile enough to affect how I feel when I walk in the gym and see him in there.

The whole mess makes me miss my Grandpa. See, my G’pa was a tough guy. He grew up in an orphanage in Chicago, during the depression, keeping he and his brothers together as best as possible. He was a fighter, in every sense of the word. There are some pretty good Grandpa stories about some of his more famous fights. A whole weekend is needed for Grandpa stories…believe me, we’ve done it. So how did this tough guy treat my Grandma?

Like a queen. Literally. It would not occur to me, growing up or even now, that he would have shown her (or other women) disrespect. I’m sure they argued, I guess. I can’t recall my Grandma ever opening her own door, carrying anything heavier than a partially filled laundry basket, and as I write this I can picture the countless times he would grab her hand if the walk was more than a few steps long. A man who received such little love, in one of the harshest times in our history, never stopped showing my Grandma love. He was not intimidated or had the silly notion that this made him LESS of a man, it proved his absolute confidence in himself and I loved that about him.

My Grandpa would not only speak up to this bully at the gym, he’d clock him. It wouldn’t matter that he was a foot shorter, that talk would not stand with him. Maybe that’s my problem, I grew up in an atmosphere of such unrealistic care and respect so my expectations are too high? I dunno. I do know that now I miss my Grandpa and if I see this idiot at the gym again, I’ll try to think happy thoughts of my G’pa and ignore the unpleasantness. And I guess I’ll hold on to enough hope that someone will have the character to speak up to this guy. We’ll see.

Some say the age of chivalry is past, that the spirit of romance is dead. The age of chivalry is never past, so long as there is a wrong left unredressed on earth.

Charles Kingsley

About tosabarbell

For training opportunities at tosabarbell, call or text Juli at 320-296-9313. e-mail to At tosabarbell, I build relationships cultivated in a strength and learning environment. There is no 12 week magic pill program to strength but rather a lifetime commitment to be the very best and most useful human you can be. tosabarbell is a private, home grown gym with three lifting platforms; squat rack; prowlers; throwing implements; bars, bumpers and everything else needed for an effective strength and conditioning program. Straightforward barbell programming including the Olympic lifts; sound (read: not fancy bullshit) diet advance for weight gain or loss; and strong coaching will ensure you will meet your goals such as becoming stronger, more explosive, and better conditioned. I have been coaching teams and athletes for over 30 years. I grew up participating in various sports at various levels but was always drawn to those that require strength training. I have multiple local, national, and world records in the sports of Weightlifting and Highland Games Heavy Events as well as a combined total of 5 World Championships. My 5 years of training and coaching under Mark Rippetoe provided a wide range of influence from some of the top strength & conditioning and throwing coaches in the country. I will strongly encourage tosabarbell athletes to compete (and prepare you to do so.) However, tosabarbell is also for those who wish to be stronger and go through life feeling better. Matt WanAt is a retired Professional Strongman who competed frequently with Strongman Champions League in Europe. He played a year of D1 football with Iowa before concentrating on his Chemical Engineering degree in Iowa City. He is a native of Wauwatosa and still remains a staunch supporter of Tosa East. This blog will be a mixture of strength notes, coaching and nutrition tips, personal shit; bacon delicacies, and a whole lot of fun.
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