Monday, October 7, 2013

Working Out in the USA

TV hard man Lewis Collins in Sergio Tacchini tracksuit.

72 kilos/11.3 stone/158 pounds (no need for liposuction), alcohol units 0 (gave up three years ago), cigarettes 4, calories consumed 2850.   


One thing's for certain in this age of war machines and market driven values -- a male trailing spouse is a himbo and a himbo's gotta stay in shape. 


Bateman abs means low carbs, girls.  


That's 1000 sit ups like Patrick Bateman from American Psycho (gel mask optional), tabbing 10 miles with a 40 pound Bergen backpack, 3 rounds on the pads, 3 rounds sparring, 3 rounds clinch followed by a homo-erotic beer call with the guys. 


I have been "working out" and "playing sport" since I was 18 years old. In the last 25 years I have witnessed much: body dysmorphia, steroid abuse, wimps become bullies and bullies become wimps (karma, innit?)   


The one thing that all of these mirror athletes and pump-iron fuckwads had in common was an issue with body shape and how they were perceived in society at large. In other words, for one reason or another, they went to the gym because they suffered from feelings of inadequacy (LMFAO).     


People are obsessed with health, diet, weight and body image.  Most gym attendees are in thrall to the twin virtues of empowerment and self-improvement and suckered by the images pimped and pumped by popular media. The rule of thumb for Ken is big is best -- six packed, barrel chested and lumpen armed. This is America and big is supposed to be powerful, beautiful.  Barbie has to be as skinny as humanly possible but Madonna muscled or Yoga toned.  


Round my way, Midtown Atlanta, I had a choice, LA Fitness by Ansley Mall or Urban Body Fitness (UBF) on Amsterdam Avenue.  I chose UBF because of its proximity to HQ on Wisteria Lane.  The gym opens at 5am in the week and closes at 10pm. It's a big space, loads of weights, machines, etc, but the best thing about this joint is a wooden floored studio with two long Thai bags (handy for aging nak muay).


Soon after joining UBF I went to a kicky boxy class. The instructor, a big ass, pumped up Yank with lots of dragon tattoos, told me that the class was "full of Desperate Housewives." "Don't worry," I said, "they will be in good company, "I am the Real Life Desperate Househusband of Atlanta."

What the guy did not tell me was that his class was a full on, cardiac inducing, sweat busting circuit (no wonder the Desperate Housewives of Atlanta love it). I have yet to go back for another. 


Every gym has an atmosphere, an attitude, a society. When you walk in as a newbie you are immediately assaulted by a blitz of snarls and whispers.  This is a gym, after all, and it is full of unfriendly people. 


Let me to introduce you to some of the players in this opera, like the Amazonian and the Fairy Princess, the lesbian personal trainers These two hulking gals are experts on "CrossFit" the latest work-out fad in the USA.  My beef? Sweetie, the ATTITUDE on these fitness Nazis. The Fairy Princess would hiss at any man in proximity and, if truth be told, did not pay much attention to the lousy form on her talkative clients (I guess it keeps them coming back for more). 


The Fairy Princess HATED the Male Trailing Spouse. I don't know what I did, apart from exist, but this daddy-issue lezzer was always turning up her nose at me (can't say that I blame her). For some reason, this amused the Amazonian, and I vainly figured that these two lipstick lesbians hated me so much they must have fancied me (not that old chestnut!)  But the affairs, already sketched out and premeditated in my mind's eye (low-fat, gluten-free, fish and veggie lunches, recreational steroid abuse, kinky nookie) did not happen (oh drat!) The Fairy Princess and the Amazonian moved on to another gym (they must be counting their blessings).


Western men always talk about "alpha males". I don't even know for sure what an "alpha male" is -probably some Foghorn Leghorn who blows his own trumpet type - but this gym seems to be full of them.  


The Absorbing Man from Marvel Comics. He hates journalists. 

Like the Absorbing Man, a bald-headed, ballet dancer/personal trainer with Marvel super villain muscles; Mr. Smooth, whose lady clients get an amorous massage on completion of work out; and me, the weird English guy who kicks and knees the bag for an hour and goes "osss" (they are lucky I don't play Thai boxing music).


Then I met the Gymstress. 



I have always fancied Ali MacGraw and this dame looks just like her (somebody up there likes me).  

"Are you Australian?"


"Yes, I'm Aussie Bob Trimbole."


Aussie Bob: Dodgy Aussie crim from 1970s


"Aussie what?"


"Never mind, I'm English."


This was her first brush with me being "a smart ass" (her words). 


The Gymstress really does look like Ali MacPhwoar!


The eyes of the colonial temptress scanned my figure. She noticed the football shorts.  


Everton is my name.


"What's Everton, your prep school in the English countryside?"

"Only the greatest football team in the world, love."

The Gymstress came along at the right time in my life. I wanted to do some hard work and she was into hairy exercises on wobble boards and gym balls (fnarr! fnarr!)


Me and the Gymstress should look like this


But I am 10 years younger than the Gymstress and we look more like this

Because she was always ordering me around the gym people started to think that we were husband and wife.


The Gymstress hates smoking and refused to buy me Duty Free Benson and Hedges


"Wawk, wawk, wawk, grab that Bosu board, wawk, wawk, wawk, no, not that gym ball, dumb ass, the smaller one, wawk, wawk, wawk, you're doing it all wrong, wawk, wawk, wawk, you're such a fucking smart ass, wawk, wawk, wawk, don't forget who gave you that body!"  


What a pity her manners don't match her looks.


Stay away from that Male Trailing Spouse. He ain't for you.


I am in the gym, again. Where's my Gymstress?  She is nowhere to be seen. Perhaps her new lover has banned her from seeing me? I just don't know. What to work today? Tits, back and legs covers the majors and tunes the minors. The hip is sore (again), does it need to be replaced? Perish that thought and do more stretching. I am back in the gym, again. Just like yesterday and the day before that, "same same but different" as we used to say in Thailand - but so far it seems to be working out for the Male Trailing Spouse in the USA.