and the Girls
I spend a lot of time at the gym pulling and yanking and hurting myself. What
brings me back is the odor. Some people enjoy the scent of diesel fuel; others
prefer new tennis balls. I like the smell of stale sweat.
Friday, I was stinking up the treadmill when it occurred to me that we could
save major bucks on Stairmasters if we just built the gyms on top of mountains.
Someone tapped me on the elbow, stirring me from this fit of brilliance.
"A class starts at seven. Come do it with me, please, please, please..."
It wasn't an intellect groupie. It was my wife Yahaira. She was stuck on
the idea of my doing aerobics.
My answer stayed the same: "You know about my Richard Simmons nightmares."
Yahaira raised an eyebrow.
I had to resort to the truth, albeit in hushed tones. "Honeeey... the
guys will see me."
She considered my logic and, being a clever lass, turned it upside down
and inside out.
"I didn't realize that the opinion of big men mattered so much to you..."
Oh, that was good. I worked on the problem as a 5-year-old might do algebra.
Before I could isolate the variable, I was standing alongside 15 other women
in the Fitness Room. So it goes.
There was a window to our left. I was pretty sure that others could see
through it. I prayed for another, heterosexual male to join the class. Fate
was not that kind.
The instructor somersaulted into the room, bubbling from her implants. Her
legs were the kind of tone you get from jogging several million miles. She
promised an uplifting workout, one that would shape our bodies and minds.
I would have rolled my eyes, but you know, the mirrors.
We started with some "basic" moves that everyone else knew.
"V-step left, grapevine right, and power jacks, two, three, four..."
My body was too embarrassed to cooperate. I may as well have been dressing
I spun my arms in "baby helicopters" and peeked over my shoulder
to see that others weren't watching. There was just one boy in the lobby,
and he was fantasizing about having 15 mommies. Yahaira, on the other hand,
couldn't stop giggling. She was either pleased that I had swallowed my airs,
or she wanted me to come out of the closet, I don't know which.
The movements grew tricky as class wore on. The others followed the instructor
like a well-oiled machine while I trampled my own feet.
"Shuffle up, sidestep down, pony twist, now mambo-cha-cha..."
Something in my brain was very upset with another thing in my legs, and
peace was not in sight. A bead of sweat dropped from my head. In fact, my
whole body was beady. Eventually, I began to understand the steps. Thank
God for repetition. I was even kicking in the same general direction as the
others at the same general time. Yahaira nodded her head to say she was impressed.
I stuck out my tongue and added some flair to my cha-cha.
Ten minutes later, I had forgotten myself. The music was in my bones, baby,
and I was sweating like O.J. at Saint Peter's. Feel the burn!
Maybe it's the endorphins talking, but I really enjoyed myself in that Fitness
Room. I wondered why more men don't try aerobics. It's every bit the workout
of weightlifting, only your arms don't grow so big that you can't scratch
The teacher directed our attention to the clock and applauded our surviving
the class. The girls and I walked the room, checking our pulses. I was surprised
to find that I had one.
As class dispersed into the lobby, I stumbled on a shocker -- two guys from
my hockey team. They were here to get muscles for beating people up. One
of them shook his head at me; the other looked away as if from a train wreck.
I could already hear the laughter in the locker room. I put my arm around
Yahaira, but they didn't buy it. In their minds, I was undeniably, irrevocably
But I think they were just jealous of the definition in my calves.