For the past month, I have been attending Curves, or I prefer to call it, the The Gym For Ladies Who've Almost Given Up, But Not Quite.
Let me preface this whole thing by stating the following: The fact that I have been going to Curves in no way signifies that I will continue going to Curves. So don't ask me if I've lost any weight, or how the exercise is going, or why are you wearing that muumuu, Nina, for I thought you were going to Curves. As evidenced by my "figure," I dislike physical activity in direct proportion to how much I enjoy eating fried cheese. I'm just saying that none of us should get our hopes up, okay? Okay.
Now that we've gotten that out of the way, let me tell you a little bit about the "gym," in case your comparatively skinny ass didn't know.
Curves pretty much works on a twofold philosophy:
- Regular gyms are intimidating for the fat and/or old
- Something is better than nothing
Since I subscribe fully to both facets of that philosophy, I signed myself up. I won't get into what the Curves workout actually entails, but suffice it to say, it is definitely designed with your Aunt Marge in mind.
Everything about the place is gimmicky in a low-key sort of way. There are cartoons on the wall that lament having a big butt! and declare that shopping sure is fun! There's also a weekly trivia question, and if you answer it correctly, you can win a t-shirt that says "exercise with attitude!" Basically, if Cathy went to a gym, she'd go to Curves.
The music is an absolute riot. It's a selection of once-popular songs which are either several years or several decades old, sped up to an aerobically-appropriate beat and, of course, not sung by the artists who made them famous, but rather by studio singers who someone decided approximated the voice of the original crooner. My favorite rendition is of the B-52's "Love Shack," as it never fails to crack my shit up when Not Kate Pierson screams "tiiiiin rooooof!"
But the beauty of Curves is truly the women who go there. The age range is astonishing, with everyone from teenagers to women pushing 70, the majority being in their 40s. The place really isn't intimidating at all, which is good, but if you were trying to get to a level of fitness above, say, basic mobility, you'd look elsewhere.
Therefore, a lot of the attendees aren't that serious about exercising, which pisses me off because I'm fat and I have work to do. There are a lot of women who go there, it seems, just to socialize with their friends while they lazily curl a bicep. I don't know why these bitches need to pay a monthly fee to do this, when they could just go mall-walking instead and finish up the "workout" with a nice cup of coffee from Cinnabon.
My favorite denizen of Curves, though, is a woman I've named Mary Pat. Mary Pat is a hateful, hateful hag, and her constant busybodyness and negative judgment about everything makes the workout go that much faster.
Let me remind you that I do not live in Tokyo. Rather, I live in a relatively small suburban community where it is not uncommon to find that you and the person behind you in line at the supermarket know 37% of the same people. Mary Pat, however, has no problem calling out the names of people she disapproves of, and, so far, she's mentioned 4 people I know pretty well, (and I'm not that social).
Other topics M.P. has been unafraid to broach:
- The surprising number of Jews at her children's Catholic school
- Sex (on several different occasions)
- Incarcerated single mothers
- Chinese dry cleaners
- What an idiot her husband is
She is so damn entertaining, in fact, that when I show up and she's not there, I am sad.
I also really like Heather, the Curves employee who is phenomenally dumb and sweet. She never shuts up, either, and has said a few choice things herself, including:
- "You have really nice handwriting, especially for writing so fast!"
- "I worked out in flip-flops once!"
- "How do you spell 'Celine Dion'?"
- "I've been with my boyfriend for 3 years. He's great, except for that time he cheated on me."
- While the Go-Go's "We've Got the Beat" was playing on the stereo -- "Do you guys mind if I put on something more upbeat?"
The bottom line on Curves, though, is that it truly is the anti-gym, which is why I chose it. There are no locker rooms or showers, so no one can have any of those awkward naked conversations with you, and there are women who come there in street clothes and shuffle around the room "exercising." If I ever get more serious about physical activity, I will have to move on to someplace that contains scary things like men and free weights, but for now, as my mother would say, it's got my molecules moving.