Wobbly Bits on Show
As Christmas looms, so do thoughts about a general overindulgence in lipsmackingly, gorgeous, gooey goodies – not to mention alcohol. Which is fine at the time, yet before the Christmas decorations have even come down, the holiday companies are flaunting Miss Perfect Body on a tropical beach, making you uncomfortably aware of the extra layer of lard that has ruthlessly attached itself to your hips during the festive season.
Naturally, this scenario rears its ugly head every year and yet I’ve never really come across an appealing solution. I’ve always had a secret aversion to anything that is classified as exercise, particularly if it causes you to turn hot and pink, like a semi-roasted pig.
Let me explain.
Several years ago, I reluctantly ventured along to a local aerobics’ class with a couple of work colleagues, under duress I might add, to tone up my office-bound backside and, hopefully, develop thighs like a peach rather than the surface of some uninhabitable planet.
Upon arrival, I had a quick scan around the hall to weigh up my fellow victims. There were the usual token stick insects without a trace of cellulite and with tanned limbs as smooth and firm as a polished surfboard. I decided that they must have been paid to take part by the instructor as an advert for these brutal sessions. “This is what you’ll look like if you attend every class (for fifteen years and can afford regular sunbed sessions and anti-cellulite treatments.”)
This assortment of Ectomorphs, Endomorphs and Mesomorphs were donning a multitude of outfits from bucket-knickered suits to creations constructed entirely of dental floss strung artistically together. I decided that I was just a Morph (a shapeless lump of plasticine).
I was completely mesmerised by a bullet-nippled lass whose boobs must have been made of wood, as they remained completely static even during the most energetic phase of the session. In contrast, mine covered a radius of five feet, from the floor and back up to my neck, slapping me sharply under the chin. Consequently, I made sure I stood next to normal women with corrugated thighs and excess flesh straining to escape from their leotards.
The confident, firm-buttocked enthusiasts appeared to stand at the front or in the middle, whereas the self-conscious, disinclined individuals tried to blend in unnoticed at the end of a row. The minority of males stood at the back, affording them the best view of prospective talent and enabling them to scrutinise a hundred womanly bottoms wobbling up and down. My two friends, not exactly being shy and retiring types, elected to stand in the middle at the front.
Ten minutes into the session on my first week and I was convinced that the class must be sponsored by the manufacturers of Ventolin, my breathlessness attributed to the fact that I was hysterical with laughter. I felt about as co-ordinated as an intoxicated Octopus, finding it impossible to synchronise my arms and legs in a smooth and graceful fashion.
"Don’t worry about the arms, just concentrate on the legs if you’re finding it difficult", yelled the instructor, staring directly at me, after I’d already cuffed several unsuspecting victims.
“ARE YOU LISTENING TO ME?” she continued, as I moved in the opposite direction to everyone else.
Trying to concentrate on co-ordinating your arm and leg movements and respire simultaneously is an amazing feat.
“ARE YOU BREATHING?!” bellowed Superwoman, her eyes focused, once again, upon yours truly, probably because my head looked as though it were about to combust spontaneously, having assumed the appearance of a ripe aubergine.
No sooner had we mastered a move to near perfection than the instructor would introduce a new sequence, usually causing complete chaos as participants punched and kicked each other, or simply fell over completely. I then understood why she kept turning her back on the audience. It wasn’t to demonstrate a new move, but to hide the tears of mirth rolling down her face.
“DO YOU HAVE A PROBLEM?!” she smirked, as she viewed the confusion in front of her, but still appeared to be addressing me exclusively. I was beginning to get a complex. Maybe she just had compound eyes like a fly, enabling her to view everyone simultaneously and, in turn, making them feel she was giving them one-to-one attention.
There was the usual collection of lecherous males pressing their noses up against the window overlooking the hall, steaming up the glass, dribbling lustfully down their chins and making intelligent, verbal observations about select participants. For example, “I wouldn’t mind getting into her leotard!” or, "Look at the size of the arse on that!" These comments were relayed to me, word for word, by my teenage daughter who had the pleasure of spectating alongside these sophisticated creatures.
Why is there always the obligatory flatulent person in the class, the one who regularly farts in the vicinity of your personal space? This is usually the ideal time to escape for a drink, but then if you do you know that others in the proximity will only think that you were the culprit.
Everyone can smell it and they usually react in one of three ways. They either a) ignore it (in the hope that the pungent air will quickly disperse and the blame, therefore, not be apportioned to them), b) giggle with a friend, thereby acknowledging that it has happened but indicating that it came from somebody else’s backside or, c) say out loudly, “Phwoarrr! That was a good un!!!” Needless to say, my accompanying keep-fit buddies, one of them being male, belonged to the latter category.
I decided, almost immediately, that it was far more fun to watch other people. After a few more of these arduous sessions (yes, I did return), my pals and I began identifying the regulars by nicknaming them accordingly. There were the obvious ones like Fat Bloke and Ann Orexia and others that may need a brief explanation like Mr Spock (a woman) and Dolly Parton (a bloke).
We discovered fairly quickly that the instructor had a nickname for the three of us. The Troublemakers. Can’t imagine why. Maybe it had something to do with the sound effects, which we incorporated into the moves each week. For instance, there was one sequence called ‘the Gallop’ into which we added a verbal “Yee hah!”, a la Wild West. Nothing wrong with a little improvisation to liven up proceedings.
The last part of the session was always dedicated to stretching and floor work, which necessitated the use of a decaying rubber mat. These mats had been designed to accommodate a dwarf, their dimensions being approximately 3' x 1'. You therefore had to choose whether to cushion your buttocks or your head when lying down. When you resumed an upright posture once more, you generally discovered that your sweat had facilitated the attractive adherence to your body of small chunks of the crumbling mat, adding a mosaic effect to your outfit.
At the end of this gruelling class, a horde of clammy, flaky bodies would crawl agonisingly from the local Sports Centre, giving passers-by the impression that they belonged to some strange cult undergoing masochistic rituals involving rubber.
So, did we immediately rush home and prepare a sensible low-fat meal, containing at least two portions of fresh vegetables, combined with lean fish or chicken? No, of course not. We headed straight for the local pub for a few beers and a calorific basket meal..