I have always played a tug-of-war with my weight, and try as I may, there always seems to be that 10 pounds that yo-yo’s up and down like Nicholas Cage’s career. I suppose I could always just eat less but I swear to God it’s like I’m on the Truman Show. Every time I attempt to diet and actually drop a pound or two, some higher form of intelligence takes note and BAM! Taco Bell comes out with a new menu item (te amo para siempre, Cantina Bowl), or Ben & Jerry crawl out of their commune in Vermont and fire up a new flavor sensation that leads to my ultimate demise. Between that and the summer BBQ menu at Burger King I’m surrounded by more temptation than a priest at a Vatican summer camp. So, as dieting is out, exercise is my only logical recourse against a lifetime of washing my back fat with a rag on a stick.
Ordinarily, I am not a gym person. Part of it may be because I worked at one for four years and know waaaaaay too much about what goes on behind the scenes, but most of my loathing stems from the fact that gym people are just far too comfortable with the whole public nudity thing.
*Seriously? Women get in the locker room and it’s like ‘Girls Gone Wild’. I’d like to shower and change without watching you sling your leg on the counter and start blow-drying your hurt locker, thank you very much.
Also, gym classes annoy the ever-loving shit out of me because I do NOT like being told what to do. “You will come here at exactly 5:30pm, you will listen to MY music, and you will move and contort your body as I command you to do.” Fuck that noise. If I want someone to scream at me and make me listen to shitty music I’ll call my ex husband. But while I may hate gyms, that seething hatred is greatly tempered by how much I love my friends. So, on my sojourn to the Central California coast last week, I allowed my friend Curtis to drag my sorry ass to Spin class.
For those of you unfamiliar with Spinning, you basically pedal your legs frantically like a gerbil with ADHD while some steroid enhanced sociopath yells at you to “climb the hill!” like a sherpa on crystal meth. Good times.
When we first entered the Spinning studio, I was mildly distressed to see that there were large windows surrounding three walls. Why are there windows all around us? Is it necessary that my lycra-covered ass be bobbing and weaving in a giant terrarium for all to see? Why not just hire the girl’s soccer team from my high school to stand there and tell me I look fat in my cheerleading skirt while we’re at it because reliving that fond memory sounds only slightly less humiliating. I climbed up onto the bike and began pedaling briskly. Huh. . .maybe this won’t be so bad. . .relatively painless and now the music’s starting. Ooh! It’s Britney, bitch! OK, I could actually get into this whole Spinning thing and. . .wait. Turn? Did he say ‘turn’? How do I turn on a stationary. . .Oh! He meant turn up the resistance. Got it. OK, turning up and. . .all righty, suddenly not so much with the ‘painless’. Within seconds my leg muscles were howling like a beagle with his nuts caught in a vise. I gasped for air and looked around the room to find that I was indeed the only one doubled-over and wheezing like an asthmatic orangutan. Not my finest moment.
The instructor continued to belt out commands like a coked-up brownshirt while everyone around me had their bikes cranked higher than Charlie Sheen on a three-day weekend. I silently cursed Curtis and his damned commitment to personal health while I mimed adjusting my bike’s resistance in an effort to save face. Fine. So, I can’t pedal any harder but I can channel this bitter loathing and pedal faster. I’ll show you healthy bastards; I’ll pedal so fast my legs will be a blur. A veritable BLUR, I tell you! Of course, this would have been a far better plan if I didn’t have the motor skills of a one-legged man with Parkinson’s disease.*
*And if I wasn’t wearing two right shoes. Minor packing snafu.
I pedaled furiously. So furiously that one of my feet shot out of the little pedal-clampy thing and I flew headlong across the handlebars. I managed to catch myself just in time and shot a look around the room to see if anyone had noticed. Everyone appeared to be hyper-focused on the instructor so I thought I’d successfully evaded public humiliation. That’s when I remembered the windows. Looking out into the main gym I saw two girls looking in at me, stifling their laughter behind their perfectly delicate, manicured hands. I hate you both. I hate this gym. I hate Spinning. I hate those hot firefighters. . .wait, what?
Ho. Ly. Shit. Right there before me, artfully displayed through the windows like a living museum of testosterone were five of the finest specimens of manhood it has ever been my delight to ogle. For the better part of an hour I gazed on lovingly while they crunched, flexed, and did things to that weight bench seen only in a Ron Jeremy film. It was beautiful. Almost like watching “Magic Mike” with the sound turned off.*
*Because, seriously? There was waaaaaay to much dialogue in that damned movie. Less talky, more strippy, Channing.
I was so enamored of my current eye candy that it barely even registered when Curtis climbed off of his bike and handed me a towel.
“Class is over, Jen. What did you think?”
I looked down at my shaking legs and sweat soaked shirt and pondered just how brutally I would ache the following day. I glanced back at the snickering she-devils on the Stairmasters and watched the 85 year old woman who had just spanked my ass like a red-headed stepchild descend from her bike with nary a gasp nor moan. I remembered in that moment absolutely every goddamned thing I have ever hated about gyms in my 40 years on the planet. . .then I looked back at the firefighters.
“I love Spin. I love you. And I love this gym.” I passionately gushed. “Can we come back tomorrow? Twice?”
Curtis grinned happily. “Oh, no. I thought tomorrow we’d try Zumba!”
Public humiliation: 2, Jen: 0. Check and mate, bitches.