I’m just gonna be the a-hole on this one: climbing in a gym is gym climbing. Without further context, “I love climbing” or “I’m going climbing” or “I’m climbing on Wednesday” means you will be exposed to sunlight and the stuff you’ll be climbing on will be the product of geology.
The worst offenders in this category are people on online dating web sites. Like OK Cupid, which is famous for their zillions of personality profiling “match questions.” I’ve answered 236, and I still keep getting people who think flag burning should be outlawed.
So guys on OK Cupid or whatever buttsecks finding dating web site message to say, “I LOOOOOOVE CLIMBING!”
This is when you ask, “what kind of climbing”, and it all falls apart. Because in the gym, there aren’t multiple kinds of climbing, there is only one kind of climbing, where there’s a rope running up to the top and you’re wearing athletic shorts and socks in your shoes and climbing gloves (note: Julio can pull off athletic shorts, because they are athletic short-shorts, and the indentation of his penis is visibly large enough to create a veil of shame with enough mass that time slows down and light bends around it, but the chances are very, very high that you are not Julio).
Although I’m usually not a prescriptive grammarian, if you’re going to climb at the gym, “I’m going to climb at the gym” is the superior nomenclature. Because to us, when you refer to gym climbing as simply “climbing”, it’s as though we’re saying, “we’re gonna take our Harleys up the interstate” and you say, “I love biking! I own an 18 speed Trek! I, too, take it on the road from time to time.”
But even that isn’t an appropriate analogy, because biking (as in bicycling) is still cool. So maybe a more appropriate analogy would be, “I’m trying to decide whether I like a single speed for mountain biking or not,” and you replying, “well I love being able to adjust the friction in my spin class, so I would highly recommend that feature!”
Not that the people in spin class couldn’t totally kick my ass at spin class. They did. I was well short of whatever it was those people were spinning. Just like there may be some German girl who can crush all your climbing gym projects and offer you struedel afterwards. But if you put her on the Orb, she’d probably fall three feet, hit her head on the dirt, and start crying and demanding why there isn’t 200 square feet of padding. But then again, maybe not. Maybe I’m just trying to make Ann feel better about getting demolished by someone too callous to even offer her a 2nd place struedel. But by gosh, there is something absolutely special about taking 5.12 gym climbers outside for the first time. And by special, I mean retarded. And by retarded, I mean you’re amazing and you can do anything! Except climb outside, apparently.
Now, there are those who have presented very compelling reasons why gym climbing is a sport that deserves recognition as its own inherent institution. And to them, I say, your photo of you on a 5.14 gym climb will be discarded by the editors of the Patagonia catalog for a picture of some fat jerk on a 5.8 top-roping outside and there’s not a goddamn thing you can do about it. It is literally easier to collect the money to pay someone to judge your Klingon costume than it is to collect the money to pay someone to judge your gym climbing. You will find more opponents in Scrabble, Street Fighter II, and putting together castles out of popsicle sticks.
“Do you know what lead climbing even is?”
“Have you ever worn a helmet because rocks were hitting you in the head?”
“Are your routes ever marked with anything besides tape or neon colors?”
A kind of captcha for posers. Poser Captcha.
Poser Captcha could really be extended to all sorts of things. Want to indicate an interest in biking?
“Do you even own a bike?”
“You don’t. Be honest.”
“Are you able to even take the wheel off of a bike?”
“When someone buzzes you on the roadway, do you smash their rearview mirror with your bike lock before or after photographing their license plate and uploading it to facebook?”
Comment thread idea: Poser Captchas for your own interest areas!