My gym is hosting a contest for people to get "into their best possible shape." Winners are to be chosen in multiple classes, based on age (by decade -- except after 60, when it's just 60+) and gender. I figure that this might be just the nudge I need to lose about 10-15 pounds. I plunk down my $35.00 (U.S.) entry fee before asking all the right questions, such as: What do I have to wear in the "before" picture? Will the before picture actually be displayed in public? Can I wear a mask?
The requirement that I wear a two-piece bathing suit probably increases my chance of winning in my age category, because the gym members of my age fall into two categories: those who are incredibly fit, shaped, and honed and those who really need to lose a lot of weight and increase their muscle tone, strength, and endurance. The women who fall into the first group have nothing to gain or lose by getting involved in this competition and the women who fit into the second group generally refuse to wear two-piece bathing suits.
I, myself, have not worn a bathing suit of one or more pieces for over ten years, although I've carried one with me in my travels, just in case an opportunity to jump out of a door or window directly into a swimming pool or ocean without anyone seeing me should ever present itself.
I tell Ed, the hapless manager of the gym, that I don't have a two-piece and that I am not going to purchase a new wardrobe for my "before" picture, because when I reach my "after" shot, my new clothes will no longer fit.
I don't own anything that exposes my midriff. "Can I tuck a t-shirt into my bra?" I ask the frowning Ed.
"I don't know," he says. "You can probably wear a pair of shorts, though."
"Shorts?" I stare at him incredulously. "I haven't worn shorts in twenty years!"
"You could cut down a pair of workout pants," he suggests with a look of helpless hopefulness.
"This is starting to sound expensive," I say. "Why should I have to ruin a pair of perfectly good pants for one one-shot shot?"
Ed, turning red, changes the subject. "Do you have a personal trainer?" he queries.
Of course, Ed knows that I do not have a personal trainer. One look at me would convince any gym manager worth his salt to fire someone who'd spent two years personally training a person who still maintains as many spare tires and duplicate chins as I do. Had I had a personal trainer for all this time, I would boast a bod that Madonna would die for -- or at least upper arms that don't wave in the breeze.
"No, I don't have a trainer," I reply sweetly. "Are you offering me one at no charge?"
"No," Ed says, looking somewhat alarmed. "A trainer will measure and weigh you.... Would you like Stacey or Tracey?" (Note: Names have been rhymed to protect the innocent.)
I can't quite decide which name I prefer so, in the interest of time and his other managerial duties, Ed directs me to look at the photos of the trainers that are displayed on the wall.
I am still finding it hard to decide whether a perky 20-year-old blonde or a perky 20-year-old brunette will be able to skillfully (translation: tactfully and without snickering) measure and weigh me.
I return to Ed and tell him that he should hire women of a certain age to train, measure, and weigh their cohorts, so we would feel more comfortable. My talented and delightful zumba instructor, who is a few years agier than I and a lot more certain, smiles in agreement, but decides not to place her job in jeopardy by offering any verbal support.
Ed, visibly frustrated, awaits my decision. I go for the brunette, figuring we can bond over our shared hair color and gender.
I am now entered and am scheduled for measurements and weighing-in this Saturday. I'm already geared up; in preparation, I'm going to eat everything and anything I want to before the "before." What have I got to lose?