So I was sitting across from the trainer at my new gym, having just filled out a ridiculously long survey, full of asinine questions like, “How committed (on a scale of 1 to 10) are you to achieving your fitness goals?” and “When is the last time when you were in your ideal physical shape?”
Ideal physical shape. I wanted to laugh in that man’s face. Have you ever been conscious of being, at that moment, in your ideal physical shape? Is that something that happens for women in this country? And I do a pretty good job these days of not stressing out about my body, but we have a culture whose major function exists to tell women they’re not at their ideal physical shape, or better yet, that they’re just 5 lbs. or whatever away from it.
But, in any event, he looks at my survey, looks over at me, looks at my stomach and says, “You want to work on your ABS, right? I mean, your ABS, you want to work on those, right?”
This whole conversation is happening while he’s holding his head and telling me about how he was out SO late last night at some bar next door in the strip mall (because in Texas, everything’s in a strip mall, including bars, Thai food, and the erotic cabaret, sometimes all in the same strip mall). I mean, I know the man’s job is to make me feel insecure enough about my body and my fitness sense that I’ll feel I need to pay him to make me do lunges and whatnot, but really, does he take that tack when he’s trying to pick up girls down at trashy mcpants bar? Is this what he considers an effective way of talking to women?
(Shock. The gym does not have female trainers. Not a one.)
But the long and short of the whole conversation, which my friend the hungover trainer illustrates with helpful diagrams like
metabolism ↑ muscle ↑ fat ↓
(read “metabolism UP!, muscle UP!, fat DOWN!”)
is that his goal is for me to get my body fat down to 19%. This is after I’ve both written and said that I’m not really concerned with weight loss, I just want to feel better and be in better shape. There was a time when my body fat was well under 19%, but I was 16 then and a bit crazed, and it’s not the place I’m hoping to go back to. That ship has sailed.
(Also, getting down to 19% at my advanced and crotchety age would probably require giving up this, and that is not a bargain I’m willing to strike.)
As we do the aforementioned lunges, he has my place my hands in his palms, leaving me with nowhere to look as I lunge but at his crotch. I settle on his shoes as an alternative.
In the news of other people I’ve met recently, I had a great poetry class last night. I signed up for a summer workshop and sat in the room all nervous and eyeing up my classmates, the way we all do at the beginning of a class, especially the first class, y’know, trying to figure out who I’m going to be friends with and who I’m going to have to try not to roll my eyes about when they talk. And the class was GREAT; the instructor started with a wonderful Lucille Clifton poem as his “invocation” and blah blah blah I loved him and was busily plotting how we could be new best friends, when I realized, through a conversation with one the woman sitting across from me, that I was in the WRONG class. My class, the one with the bargain-basement teacher’s rate, is actually on Wednesday, not Tuesday. Damn.
So now I have to do the whole rigmarole again tonight, with some other dude. But I reread the course description for the class I’m actually in, and he says while we may not find perfection in our poems, but we will “certainly find empowerment.” Look out.
And I’m working on composing an email to my true love writing teacher (“true love” in the words of a woman wittier than I am meaning, “my boyfriend, in the sense that he’s clearly a gay man”) that will convince him I’m clever and smart, without sounding like a stalker. Suggestions?
Two more things. I’m thinking about getting my dad a TerraPass for Father’s Day. It seems like it might be lame to get him a gift that isn’t really a gift (except he gets a decal, I think), but past Father’s Day hits have included a compost bin and a conservation license plate. My dad’s recycled longer than anyone I know, and recycling for him entails saving all the cans and bottles and whatnot in the basement and driving it two towns over, since his podunk town doesn’t recycle. At least a TerraPass isn’t the Bing cherries proflowers keeps telling me to buy. Thoughts?
Also, we have raccoons living under our house. They’re of the brazen I will chew your legs off as you get out of your car variety, too – standing up on hind legs, staring me down in the driveway. Fucking Texas.