Monday, May 7, 2012

Gold's Gym at Nacogdoches and Thousand Oaks

Ah, here it is: the bathroom that spawned a blog.

Remember when Gold's Gym was on Venice Beach, and all the meatheads would pump iron in front of ditzy chicks with daddy issues?  It was in all the pictures of all the fitness magazines: iconic images of bodybuilders holding three bikini-clad women in one arm while giving the classic biceps pose with the other.

The Late '60's to Early '80's were definitely the heyday for Gold's Gym; all the black and whites you'd see of people feeling 'Ah-nold's mah-sools;' the yellow-drenched, blighted, pre-SX-70 Polaroids of dads with their sons watching some bodybuilder hammer out 400-pound bench presses with a **cough cough** controlled rage?

Those days are long over, and the Gold's Gym at Nacogdoches and Thousand Oaks is a fall from Venice Beach Grace like no other.  It's the Dana Plato of the entire gym franchise's Growing Pains.  You pickin' up what I'm throwin' down?  You readin' the mail?

It's a dump.

And speaking of 'dump,' there is always - and I mean ALWAYS - someone in the stall at this Gold's Gym Men's Room casting odors afoul.  Always.  The Men's Room at the Gold's Gym on Nacogdoches and Thousand Oaks is a malodorous symphony of chlorine pool bleach, cheap cologne, and overwhelming undertones of sulfur.

I hate this place, but let's analyze it... so that you will too.

The Bottleneck
This is what it looks like: no door, and the sinks are on the other side of the wall to your right.  What you see here is the Death Valley of San Antonio Men's Rooms: nose-hair-curling wafts of noxious fumes whose only exit is right where this picture is taken.  Even with the lung capacity of an Olympic distance swimmer, you can smell - nay - FEEL the odors from this spot.  It's abhorrent; this must be what it feels like to be a war correspondent covering an attack on a Somali septic tank.

NEVER occupied.
Tepid pools of unflushed bladder sweat.  The cakes in these urinals were Davids versus Goliaths, only without the stones.  But here's the thing: though they were utterly powerless against the delicate bouquet of ammonia and asparagus, the urinals themselves were clean.  Spotless, even!  That tells me one thing: that someone recently cleaned them, but the chemical they decided to use had already been beaten back by all the pickle juice these guys use to clear their kidneys before drug testing.

At least one is ALWAYS occupied.
Um, yeah... There's three stalls here, but true to form, the third (far left) is occupied.  Like I said: ALWAYS.  If they made a soundtrack to this Men's Room, it would be nothing but track after track of flushing toilets, clearing throats, and turning newspaper pages.

What you become in a later life if you're a horrible, horrible person.
Plenty of toilet paper in each stall.  Good for them.

No hair dryer cord should be that long.  EVER.
Three sinks in a row with plenty of hot water to go around, but wetter counters than a grooming salon.  You know why?  Because these aren't just handwashing stations, these ARE WHERE THE GYM RATS BATHE.  They fly through foam soap at an unbelievable rate here, partly because this is the place where a good 60% of the male Gold's Gym membership cleans up after a workout. This is where they shave.  This is where they soap up their pits and wash their shaved heads.  And why not?  It's just like the real shower stalls twelve feet away, but you don't have to take off your clothes, and THERE'S A MIRROR RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU!

"No way, Nick.  You're crazy!"  Am I?  Then how do you explain the HAIRDRYER in the top left corner???  And you know WHY that cord's so long?  Because a lot of the time... it ain't just the hair on their HEAD that gets blow dried!

And people want to tease me for working out in a Haz-Mat suit...

The San Antonio Mens' Room at Gold's Gym on Nacogdoches and Thousand Oaks is clearly not the worst Men's Room in the city.  Nope, that title belongs to the famed 'Thursty Turtle,' and it would take a lone outhouse on the skirts of a city after the Apocalypse to oust it from its position, but you don't have to pay a membership to use that one!

This doesn't really lie on Gold's so much as it falls upon the shoulders of all the people using Gold's.  There's so many retirees and bouncers that work out here, they've got nothing better to do than hang out all day, and in the process, obliterate the sanctity of the public Men's Room.

One puck.