A friend recently pointed out that I am not living up to my description of FFG. In the ‘About’ section I explicitly claim that this blog will be devoted to exploring my own embodiment. Instead, she noted, I have been undertaking sociological interpretations of gym and fitness culture. How true. I think that I am more comfortable with analyzing things in a slightly abstract way than with blathering on about myself. Does anyone really want to read about boring old me and my boring old flesh? Apparently they do. Well, at least one person does.
The competition that I will be entering typically occurs on the June 11-12 weekend. That means it is only 39 weeks away and I had better start getting shit done. It occurs to me that my remaining preparation time is roughly the same length as a full-term pregnancy. Instead of actively transforming an embryo into a fetus into a baby, an amazing thing that women do every day, I will be growing myself some big lats and mudflaps, which I think you will agree is an equally important accomplishment. In order to embody Feminist Figure Girl I must forge ahead with a careful plan, drawing on my genetically determined organizational skills; even my kindergarten teacher noted them in an early report card. I clearly missed my calling. Instead of a fitness-crazed professor, I should be one of those people from Clean Sweep who rushes into your house with plastic bins, throwing your useless crap in the garbage while you stand by in a shocked state, crying your eyes out. ‘Do you really need this inflatable raft for three with paddle?’ Toss. ‘And the coyote carcass in your freezer just has to go.’ Although they might seem absurd, both examples are informed by my banal everyday life, just like the rest of this blog.
THINGS TO DO BEFORE JUNE 2011 Continue reading
I sense that you are excited by the title of today’s post. Perhaps you are thinking that it refers to that special encounter you once had on a crowded bus in Rome. Or maybe you are recalling, with a certain thrill, the time you tried on a bathing suit at Filene’s basement in Boston. It was a busy Saturday afternoon in the group changing room, wasn’t it? That’s just sad really. Still, as you know I am not one to judge. While you are welcome to your memories of public indecency, I am going to write about something else: accidental intimacy at the gym. Continue reading
‘So exactly when did I start to be an asshole?’ I asked my partner the other day. ‘Was it last year?’ ‘Yes,’ he immediately responded, ‘you have been an asshole for about a year.’ Ah he is so dear to me, so honest, so practical, so non-complimentary. By that I mean only that he does not give compliments, for he is in many ways a complement to me. Indeed we are essentially opposites. He does not work out. He thinks beer tastes good. He can watch multiple episodes of BSG in a row, without moving. He is a night person. In contrast, I am a leap out of bed in the morning, scotch drinking, workaholic, fitness addict who can’t bear more than one hour of TV without cleaning or baking something. Biscotti anyone?
He is also a very tolerant person who can be friends with almost anyone. I, on the other hand, have become increasingly judgmental, especially within the last year or so. I am nevertheless ashamed of my behaviour, so that’s something isn’t it? Basically, I find it hard to comprehend why people would want to be weak. Continue reading
You will be shocked to hear that I have been reading academic studies about gym culture. One article, written by a Brit–a weedy type no doubt–discussed his experiences after joining a gym in his neighbourhood. He noted that there was a certain community spirit in the cardio area because no one could tell how hard another person was working. They were all equals engaged in the same endeavour. Holy bullshit! That guy was obviously a newbie, with little long term gym experience. Those with an extensive involvement in fitness can easily separate the wheat from the chaff. Your spinning instructor knows that you did not turn up your tension to 90 on command. The red-and-black-shirted trainers are aware that you are stepping instead of striding and are doing so on level one. And gym rats like me try hard not to roll their eyes when you carry magazines or books toward the recumbent bike. Reading and reclining are poolside activities and you, my friend, are at the gym! Continue reading