Holla Back

On my drive home today, I was scanning the airwaves and stumbled upon “Hollaback Girl” by Gwen Stefani. I’m not a huge fan of the song so I continued searching stations, but it got me thinking: what was the meaning of these lyrics? If you’re not a “hollaback girl,” as Gwen so craftily phrases it, does this mean you will not return my phone calls? It strikes me as kind of strange. I mean, I’m a nice enough guy, I think, and I thought we really hit things off. I have a genuine desire to see you again, and it’s pretty conventional for a guy to coordinate with a romantic interest via telephone, possibly even leaving a voice message which common courtesy would suggest returning. Why does this somehow make me bananas?


Once in a while I am presented with empirical evidence that suggests, at least to a degree, I must be maturing. I know, I know…I think it’s strange, too.

Last week I was at Fitworks in Rocky River performing the mindless exercises that remind me of my mediocre physical condition. In the middle of four sets of straight-legged dead lifts (Romanian dead lifts – RDL’s – if you’re an OU wrestler…sounds more exotic that way, I guess…adding “Romanian” in front of anything makes it better), I stepped away for a drink. As I returned I saw a couple of guys eyeing my workout cage. I’m always pretty cordial when I see this happen. I asked, “You guys want to work in?”

“No, I don’t do *that* kind of weight,” the one replied smugly. This was by no means a hat-tipping to the amount of weight I had on the bar.

Restraint Demonstration #1: Resisting the urge to say “What, want me to peel some off for you?”

By that, I mean that’s what I DIDN’T say, and I’m not sure why; I normally have few reservations about running my mouth. Maybe it was a combination of the facts that a) this guy had about 50 lbs. on me; and b) I was within arm’s reach. Yeah, maybe that’s it, but even those two factors would be powerless to alter my behavior without receiving some acknowledgment by me, acknowledgment in the form of restraint. This is where I begin to arrive at the somewhat unsettling notion of impending maturity.

At any rate, in my mind I was facetiously thanking him for the moral support as he and his friend found a spot nearby in which to work. The talker of the duo was visually a fairly typical specimen one expects to see in a weight room: meticulous year-round tan, bravado more than compensating for any thinning hair, donning square pieces of fabric held together by shoulder straps. Imagine my surprise when I see him set up a few feet away from me and begin working out with the same exact amount of weight I was using.

Restraint Demonstration #2: “Whew. Good thing you don’t do *this* kind of weight.”

Again, a comment I did NOT make. And again, I lack explanation for my reservedness. I’m as appalled as you are. Maybe it was something I ate that day, maybe it was something in the air, but for whatever reason I just chuckled, kept my mouth shut, and went on my merry way.