After a recent vacation in Yucatan in which we encountered an alarming number of Hemingway lookalikes loitering shirtless on the beach, I returned to New York resolved that my resemblance to literary figures would end at my Sartrean eyes. I signed up at the local YMCA to join their Pilates classes posthaste.
Presumably named after the celebrated Roman governor Pontius Pilate, the practice resembles yoga in that it involves mats, vaguely erotic poses that are painful to maintain, and–most annoyingly–clapping at the end of each session. Its advantage lies in that it makes no claim to spirituality, and therefore doesn’t require the use of incense or finger cymbals.
I go Mondays and Thursdays immediately after dinner because experts agree that a full stomach after a day’s work is the ideal condition for strenuous exercise. So far I’ve been exposed to more MOR music than if I worked at a Laundromat, but I’m not there to impersonate Simon Cowell, I’m there to firm up my gelatinous trunk. This is no easy task for someone as self-conscious as me.
Surrounded by women, I hesitate to look around me lest they think I’m ogling. But, being a novice, I’m also unsure of what I’m supposed to be doing, so I have to look to my classmates for guidance. I only do so furtively, which in the end makes me look even more like a creep.
And I have a technical question. No matter how loud the music, I’ve noticed that somebody farts once in every class. How is this managed? Is there a schedule? If so, where can I find the sign-up sheet?