Monday, June 23, 2008


I have them, so I joined them. Yes, I joined Curves. The bastion of the frumpy, the dumpy, the too much junky-in-trunky. At my Curves, the women wear thick sweats, over-sized t-shirts, and sensible sneakers without recrimination. The walls are sponged mauve and pink, and a garden trellis border circles the perimeter. There are no mirrors, only affirmations. Avon catalogs clutter tabletops and accent dot lettering on homemade signs tell you to store your "Keys in a cubby!" It is the place where erectile dysfunction is born.

While mauve and pink faux finishing is not my thing, I was more than happy to show up today festooned in the anti-sexy and sporting two day's worth of stubble on my legs. I felt confident I would be the most stylish one there. And initially, as I worked out alongside the woman wearing jean shorts and a tank top and the confused grandma in polyester pants and matching leisure shirt, I was. But suddenly, twelve minutes into my workout and at the exact moment I realized-- as my pectoral muscles snapped like frayed rope-- working out in an old nursing bra is not a good idea, she showed up.

I knew I was in trouble the second I saw the hair stylist smock. Nothing healthy for the ego can come from someone who can pull off a plastic apron in public. Under her smock she wore a small slip of a dress slightly darker than the kohl rimming her eyes. On her feet were Miss Piggy shoes, black leather attached to wooden, platform stilettos with fat, silver, nail heads. As she signed in, a ray of sunshine bounced off her left tricep and blinded me. The sky opened up and angels perched on clouds strummed Gary Wright's "Dream Weaver."

She came out of the dressing room dressed for a Britney Spears video audition and positioned herself several stations ahead of me so I wouldn't slow her down. It was a good move on her part, because when she got to the thigh press she worked that extension machine like the wings of a hummingbird. When she reached the rowing machine, she rowed with such force I half expected her to burst through the wall and down the street.

But she didn't. Instead, she was there to witness my own attempts at the thigh press machine. An attempt that was more lame duck than jeweled bird. And my row was more of a paddle. By the end of my workout I was dripping sweat. She, on the other hand, glistened. But all of that is ok. I'm going back tomorrow at 7am, provided I can still use my muscles.

As for my diet, I'm trying to convince the Mister that I need a gastric bypass and, after that, a lap-band cinched around my new, thumb-sized stomach. For some reason, he doesn't think it's a good plan. Instead, he has this crazy idea that I should eat right and exercise a month before I start dissecting important organs. I guess I'll give it a try.