I'm no Joe Piscopo, but I would like to be in shape (someday), so I work out pretty regularly. Recently, I've started using free weights. This would have the added benefit of making me look super-cool if I were lifting significant amounts of weight. Unfortunately, I'm not, so it has taken some guts (and humility) for me to move from the "machine zone" to the free weight area at my gym.
The Machine Zone is for the civilians, those people who want to be in shape, but don't wanna put a lot of thought into it. There's also the Cardio Zone for people who just wanna be skinny. The free weight area, however, is for those who are truly dedicated to the craft of body-building. Their level of dedication is sometimes frightening, but you can't question their commitment. (You can only question whether they should be committed.)
Through brute strength, they have "raised the bar" (get it?) for entry to the free weight area. Most people are too intimidated to venture into that "sanctum sanctorum" of physical fitness for fear of having their relative weakness exposed in public. But not this guy! I've proudly stridden into the domain of the not-at-all-doughy and displayed my lack of strength next to those brawny behemoths.
Seriously, though, it takes some gumption to do an incline chest press at the gym when you're only lifting the bar. Even on a regular bench press I've just been putting one 2.5-pound weight on each side. It's kind of embarrassing. One question for the equipment manufacturer: Why do you have to make the bars so freaking heavy?! I'm sure there's a perfectly reasonable explanation, but, frankly, I don't want to hear it.
So far, no one's made fun of me or kicked sand in my face and run off with my best girl. Therefore, I think it's safe to say that, like many of life's obstacles, this barrier is self-imposed. Nor is the free weight area an exclusive club that confers social privileges to its denizens. In other words, if I wanna get laid, I'm still gonna need confidence and social skills.