Happy Hour took a dark turn this evening.
I can be talked into a number of things after two martinis. Giant tire swings, weeknight karaoke and making out with strangers are a few of the antics that have followed happy hours gone by, but tonight was something new. Something sinister. Something I never thought I’d do. Tonight, I joined a gym.
Once four or five ounces of gin start sloshing around in my stomach, everything sounds like a great idea and I turn into a very supportive friend. Without the gin, I’m terribly disagreeable. On this occasion, conversations of weekend plans and rough terrain on the job front turned to self improvement and affirmations of change. My friend announced that she was going to get herself a gym membership after dinner and I quickly stated my intentions to join her. Then immediately regretted it. But it was out there in the universe. I had said it and she intended to stick me to it.
True to our (her) word, we left our empty martini glasses and went straight to Fitness 19. This particular location is situated conveniently on my way home from work, which I knew was the only option if I was actually expected to go there occasionally. As I clomped across the parking lot in my 5-inch heels, I stared in horror at the sight before me and nearly turned around. The front of the facility is all windows and framed in those windows were gads of overly-muscled dudes. Dudes as far as the eye could see. Dudes squatting, lifting, curling and presumably grunting in close proximity to each other. Dudes wearing t-shirts that had had the sleeves viciously ripped from them, perhaps in a Hulk-like manner.
We walked in, arguing about who would do the talking and I stepped up, telling the overly-muscled man behind the counter that we needed help. He laughed and I stared, unblinking, at his forehead until he realized that we truly needed to be treated with kid-gloves. I told him I had never been inside a gym before and he laughed again, realizing more quickly this time that I was again serious. We were led over to a small table, adjacent to a handful of sweaty people jogging slowly on treadmills. At the table, the gym representative (I’m sure he told me his name, but my buzzed brain ignored it) asked us some preliminary questions, including what our expectations and goals were. I had no answers. I wanted to say, “Help me, I’m fat” and call it a day. I assumed they’d just need to take a look at me and they’d know every answer they ever needed. I was in business casual, of course, with full makeup and the aforementioned high-heeled boots. I was sweating at the mere mention of exercise and babbling sarcastically, like I do when I’m uncomfortable.
We settled on a 6-month plan and embarked on a tour of the facility. I asked questions along the way, things like, “Is there a particular time that is less populated by dudes?” And he said, no. It’s always dude-city at Fitness 19. He did recommend sticking to the treadmills and/or elliptical machines, which is “where the women usually stay”. So, at the very least, I know there’s sex segregation. Basically, the treadmills are the “kitchen” and I should stay there where I belong. Which is fine. I don’t want to bulk up with weights, anyway. And I’ve always wanted to be barefoot and pregnant. Truthfully, being in the weight-area made me uncomfortable. There’s something very “bath house” about groups of glistening men, all grunting and moving in otherwise silent unison. Totes fine for them to experience. Not fine for me to watch.
Asking about possible classes they offered led me to the gloriously named “Werq”, which is a dance-based fitness class. I can’t not go to it. It’s called “Werq”. With an E. And a Q. I only know how it’s spelled because I jokingly asked if it was spelled with an “e”. I did not expect to be correct. If “Werq” isn’t danced entirely to post-insanity Britney Spears, I’m going to be incredibly disappointed.
Before we left, the gym-guys behind the counter made us promise they’d see us tomorrow. We of course said they would, and even meant it. So I guess I should start practicing my grunting face and find out if I own any clothing that stretches in a good way.