Women everywhere are a little on edge.

I’m at the gym on the stair stepper, when a man comes in holding a duffle bag. Every woman is watching him. The lady on the treadmill next to me gasps when the man unzips his bag and pulls out a black yoga mat that, rolled up, looks like a grenade launcher.

Later, Ana, Norma and I are sitting around a wobbly table at Starbucks, shooting the breeze.

“You’ll never see a woman walking into a men’s wrestling match, turning off the lights and firing rounds into the crowd just because she can’t find a date,” Norma says. “There are a lot of lonely and violently psychopathic people out there.”

“Well, I don’t know about you two, but I’ll never set foot in a gym again!” Ana states, and then slurps up the whipping cream off her caramel frappuccino.

Truly, no one has ever seen Ana in a gym, and since the LA Fitness shooting rampage, now she has another excuse to add to her list of reasons why she shouldn’t exercise.

“What a sad man to have done that,” I comment. “Dating isn’t what it used to be.”

“The guy was looking in the wrong place; he lost hope and shot those women and himself,” Ana says frankly. “I could have helped him if he would have gone out with me. But I wasn’t at a gym.”

Norma and I look at each other and erupt in laughter.

“Well, think about it,” Ana continues. “All those gym bimbos are too tired to date. They exercise half to death, go home and sleep. Plus, they don’t eat out because they’re trying to starve themselves. The guy was simply looking in the wrong place!”

I glance over at Norma, who is in the middle of a nasty divorce. No one envies what’s ahead for her.

“I finally got up the courage to stop in and see Aaron,” Norma says.

Divorced, attractive and well-off, plus he saves homeless animals, Aaron is a hot commodity around town.

“Is he as yummy as ever?” Ana asks, licking her lips.

“Absolutely. He was at work and invited me to go for a bite after he was done,” Norma continues, rubbing her temples with the tips of her fingers.

I’ve known Norma all my life, and her body language indicates this event is not easy to relive.

“We left my car at his house,” Norma continues, “and drove his truck to Gomez’ Pizza Diner.”

“What kind of pizza did you order?” Ana asks.

“I don’t remember,” Norma says, “but there was a woman sitting in her car outside the restaurant. She called Aaron’s cell phone and was telling him she was going to come in and punch me.”

“You’re kidding!” I gasp.

“No joke,” Norma says. “Aaron had been seeing this married woman with three little kids, and the woman followed him everywhere like a buzzard to a dying rabbit.”

“That’s like Fatal Attraction!” Ana says.

“I was so upset, I couldn’t eat a bite,” Norma adds. “I thought everything would be fine when we got back to his house.”

“And?” Ana and I ask simultaneously.

“I needed to use his restroom. When I came out, Aaron was standing there wearing nothing but a string Speedo,” Norma replies, visibly disturbed. “He was rocking back and forth on his heels with a grin that looked like the Grinch’s. ‘Want to go skinny dipping in my hot tub?’ he had the nerve to ask!”

“That’s crazy!” I say.

“I told Aaron I had to go and then made a mad dash to my car before the woman waiting in her car could get out and punch me.”

“Wow!” Ana exclaims. “Did you hear about the four women who tied up the man who was cheating with all of them, including the guy’s own wife? They tormented the man and poured Superglue over particular terrain they all had carnal knowledge of, if you get my drift.”

“Did he get away?” Norma asks.

“Yes. Now, the women are in jail, and the man is out gathering up more lovers.”

“Whatever happened to going out for ice cream or a movie?” I ask. “Am I naive?”

“Being single means my holidays will cost less,” Norma states, head held high. “I don’t have to worry about anniversaries, birthdays and irritating in-laws. I can even walk around naked whenever I want.”

“Just make sure you warn us before you go walking around in the skivvy,” Ana says. “We don’t want to come over and have you answer the door in ‘full moon’!”

Gina Tiano is the author of Life in the Bike Lane, available at Amazon.com. Post your comment on this column at www.valleytowncrier.com Columns can be found by typing Gina Tiano in the search bar or by clicking the ‘columnists’ tab.