Guts and Bu**s

So every most Tuesday evenings at 5:30, I head on over to my gym spot for Jackie’s Guts and Butts class.  Generally speaking, this is not something I would admit to comfortably on the Internet because:

a) it’s embarrassing to admit that one needs so desperately to work on these two areas that they need to go to a specially tailored class for professional instruction, and

b) I hate the word “butt”.  I think it’s the stupidest, dumbest sounding word ever and I never ever use it.  I worry about having kids because I know I can’t teach a child to talk about his (or her) ass all the time, but I can’t bring myself to propogate the use of that …word, and especially not to the children of a new generation.  I could tell them to say “booty”, I guess, but I’m a white lady.

Anyway, so fine. On Tuesday’s I go to what will heretofore be referred to as G&B.

So Jackie is really awesome at G&B. She’s this super cute high-energy brunette who wears leotards and a high ponytail when she teaches us, and always has some dancey-style playlist set up to keep us pumped the whole way through.  We use one of those STEP aerobics things from the eighties and when you’re hopping around and looking at the leotard and the aqua blue and neon pink colors of the STEP, you can almost convince yourself that you’re in a fun workout video instead of concentrating on how sweaty and miserable you are.  The next day you feel sore, but in a good way, and can tell that Jackie really knew what she was doing.  Awesome.

So about a week ago, before class began Jackie told us that due to some scheduling conflicts, she would no longer be teaching Tuesday evening G&B! I know! I was like “what the fuck?” in my mind but no one said anything cause what do you say? “Why?” she’s not our foster mother, she’s a gym class teacher.  So we all put on a brave face and nodded when she said that some guy, name of Forreste (!) would be taking over the class.

I showed up on Tuesday with not a little bit of trepidation. What was this Forreste guy going to be like ?  For some reason I pictured:

In terms of physique, race and sexual orientation I was not disappointed but in every other respect, oh yes I was.

Jackie’s class usually begins with some warm up exercises where we jump around on that STEP thing to some Lady Gaga-type shit to get the blood pumping and “warm up the core”.  Forreste’s class was dead silent. No music.  No STEP.  Just a mat on the floor.  He instructed us to lay on our backs and proceeded to awkwardly lead us through a series of abdominal crunches so poorly described that we had to start over about six times until we got it right.  I could tell that my fellow G&B-mates were as dismayed as I was. As exhausting and high-impact as Jackie’s class was, it made you feel alive and that you were actually working out.  Forreste’s class  was probably a fairly accurate approximation of physical education at a juvenile detention center.

The other thing about Jackie’s class is that we stand up virtually the entire time.  There’s a little bit of mat work but only at the end. This was a part of my decision making when I elected to wear the workout pants with the teensy tiny little hole in the crotch.  Unfortunately for me, Forreste dearly cherishes exercises in which you spread your legs wide open and move your pelvis around.  Did I mention I had also eschewed underwear? I had. Compounding my discomfort with the Draconian, music-less exercise regimen I was engaged in was the palpable terror that at any moment I might inadvertently flash a gay man my goods. To avoid this during Forreste’s many trips around the room, I would convulse my body awkwardly so that my legs were closed whenever he approached my mat.  Unfortunately for me, Forreste was a bit of a taskmaster, and he insisted in correcting my form, coming far closer than he knew to being Newman in Basic Instinct.

Forreste, I presume was unused to teaching men and women who don’t have the core strength of a Green Beret, as he grew exasperated with our feeble attempts to balance on one foot while holding our opposite leg behind us at perfect 90 degree angle.

The class wore grimly on.

“No, like this,” he would  sigh in exasperation, demonstrating uselessly once again.  “If you’re doing it right you should be feeling it all through here” he added, grasping his own ass firmly in both hands and squeezing  to better illustrate his point. The only place I was feeling anything was in my neck which I moved up an down to simulate the movement I would be doing with my torso, were I in anyway capable. Apart from a sub-par instructional technique, Forreste seemed unaware that he was not, in fact,  the MC of a dance competition.  “Are we feeling it our legs, ladies?” he would cry, hand on hip, oblivious to the two men in the room.  We nodded grimly, abs clenched, trying to maintain our position.  “I saaaaaaiid “Are we FEELING it in our LEGS, ladieeeeeeeess”  he sang out sassily, doing his best to generate a loud cheer of affirmation. He was rewarded with slightly more audible groans and seven pairs of dagger-eyes.   It was with a collective shifting of the eyes and bowed heads that we finally, mercifully, bid Forreste adieu.

As we filed into the locker room my fellow classmates and I exhcanged wry smiles; the kind of rueful acknowledgement of one another’s suffering that I imagine hostages share.

“So I’m gonna see y’all next week, right?” Forreste called after us down the hall.  We all pretended not to hear.

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About the author

Ashley Friedman - Cornerstore Correspondent

Like most kids, Ashley grew up in New Jersey. Unlike most kids the Friedman's televison set acted as a third parent, imbuing young Ashley with the stern moral values of Claire Huxtable, the dramatic tendencies of Brenda Walsh and the earnest hopefulness of the blond kid on Silver Spoons. After graduating from Sarah Lawrence Ashley made her way to the Park Slope area of Brooklyn where she can currently be found reading foreign fashion magazines, scouring ebay for vintage heels, eating out in restaurants and otherwise stretching her meager income as far as it will go in NYC.

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