Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Measure of a Woman (Richmond, VA)

Despite my better and my worse judgment, I actually attempt to find a two-piece bathing suit to wear for my "before" photo in the Fitness Challenge I mentioned in my previous post. I go to one of my favorite thrift shops and check out the athletic wear and bathing suit section. Lots of workout pants and sleeveless tops. No bathing suits, because "it's not the season," according to the salesclerk. I guess we thrift store shoppers don't take too many cruises to the islands during the winter...

I take a couple of sports bras into the try-on room, but I have trouble getting them on. I smush myself into one, but I can't pull it back over my head or down over my hips. I fear that I'll have to call 911 and beg the rescuers to bring the Jaws of Life to cut me free. When I finally pretzel myself into a shape that nobody's body has ever been forced to achieve, I yank off the offending undergarment. My upper body, from shoulders to navel, smarts and reddens; it's as if I'd just ripped off a huge band aid.

I am resigned to wearing a bra that doesn't look like one (pink and white checks, decorative doodads on the straps) and some black athletic shorts that I inherited from my tiny, size none niece. I figure that the worse I look "before," the better I'll come out "after."

My last meal before I measure up and weigh in for my "fitness challenge": a gingerbread latte with whipped cream and a double chocolate chip cookie almost as big as my head. On to the hips and off to the gym....

Stacey tells me to weigh myself in the women's changing room. Wearing all my clothes and my shoes, I do so, knowing that when I return for my last weigh-in, I'll be minus all the extra shoe, cookie, and latte poundage. "I'm halfway to winning," I think.

I report the number to Stacy (not to you), who then whips out a measuring tape. She appears to have reversed my hip and waist measurements, but who am I to argue?

As I am ushered into the tanning bed-room to slip into the decidedly unflattering garb I'm about to be photographed in, I reflect on the waiver I've just signed. The gym can use my photos however they see fit -- or unfit.

I am planning to change my hairstyle, name, and address.

In a wink of a shutter, I am recorded for posterity, both posteriorly and anteriorly. I re-dress and exit into the waiting area.

"Have I won yet?" I ask Stacey who, I quickly realize, doesn't get my humor.

"The Challenge just started!" she says.

She doesn't know how right she is....


  1. Excellent. I'm passing this one to some friends.

  2. Thanks. Please tell them to subscribe and follow. I feel like I'm talking to myself most of the time...