As everyone knows, the first rule to being an exceptional houseboy is not having a warm meal waiting for your woman, it’s not cleaning house, it’s not taking masseuse lessons, no, it is looking sexy for your miss when she returns home from a long day at the office.
No lady wants to come home, look at her flabby beau and think, “oh, it’s you again.” No, she wants to come home to Adonis, Mario Lopez and Brad Pitt all wrapped in one.
So I have been working on it.
As I may have mentioned before, Lisa is training for an ice climbing expedition in February. They have workouts three times a week, and Lisa has been going every Friday. So this past week, Lisa took me along with her. I figured if this tiny Japanese girl could handle it, so could I.
First off, my outfit was horrendous. My full wardrobe had yet to arrive in the mail, so I was living out of my suitcase. All I had to wear on this blustery Friday was an old long sleeved T-shirt and silver jogging shorts. Everyone else was wearing there Under Armour, Nike or the new, upper crusty LuluLemon.
At first, I thought I was doing pretty good. The lady leading us along had us do a succession of sit-ups, push-ups, lunges and grasshoppers (at least that is what Mr. Chase called them). I was keeping up through the first round, but when after eight straight minutes, I was light headed.
Without much rest, she had us run four laps around the track, or a mile. Now this is funny in hindsight, but Lisa says to me as we start jogging, “Don’t worry about me, go on ahead.”
Yeah right. After 50 yards, she was streaking half a lap in front of me, and I was plodding behind with the other fat kids. At least I can say I didn’t walk. But maybe I should have, because up next was the stair drill. Our leader said we were to start at one end of the Penn stadium, run up and down the stairs in the stands and end at the ramp. I searched for the ramp. It wasn’t at the 20-yard line. It wasn’t at the 50 yard line. It wasn’t even at the 75 yard line. The ramp was at the freakin’ 150 yard line.
Needless to say, I ended up walking the second half of the stair drill.
By the end, I was too exhausted to be embarrassed. I just wanted to go home and curl up on the couch with a beer and a hoagie.
After this humbling experience, I was bound and determined to lose some of this baby fat. That’s right, I didn’t get my baby fat until the age of 31.
Thankfully, our apartment building has a gym on the 33rd floor. So after two days of recovery, when I reached the point where I could bend my knee without lightning bolts of pain shooting up my hamstrings, I took the elevator to the 33rd floor.
If I haven’t made myself clear already, I don’t belong in this apartment building. This is a place where lawyers and doctors and stock brokers live, not unemployed journalists. So I was once again conscientious about my workout garb. After all, if you don’t look good, why bother?
This time I was wearing the same light gray, near silver mesh shorts, a gray T-shirt and gray shoes. If I was performing in an elementary school play depicting weather, I would have been “fog.”
Of course there were other people in the gym. All looking tight, non-sweaty and fashionable. After 10 minutes on the treadmill, I was none of the three.
And not only was I self-conscious about my outfit, but it is always awkward working out in a new gym with new equipment. Especially since I have a bad history with treadmills. There are too many buttons, too many variables and too much room for error.
I finally got the damn thing moving, and started my jog. For the first five minutes I kept playing around with all the buttons. Then I of course knocked off my Fuse (cheap version of an iPod) and had to stop the treadmill to pick it up. This would happen a few more times because when you are in a gym full of haughty skinny people, if you are the hillbilly fat guy, you are required to do as many annoying things as possible to draw attention to yourself.
Yet, after this first experience in the 33rd floor gym, I was not deterred. The next night, I was up there again.
However, the rest of my clothes finally arrived, so this time I was decked out in color-coordinated Under Armour gear. Plus, I knew how the damned treadmill worked, so I was able plan my workout a little better.
Once again, there were these trim, dry, snooty folk effortlessly whisking away on the exercise machines. I could feel the sideways glances flickering my way, “oh no, this guy again.”
I got on my treadmill and scanned over the buttons. I found a program that simulates a 5K run. Perfect, I thought. I used to be a cross country runner. I enjoy the occasional fun run. Set me up, Mr. 5K. We’re gonna have a hootenanny of a jog!
I started out smooth. There was one of those wall-to-wall mirrors in front of me, and I couldn’t help but admire my stride, my jutting chin and my debonair attire. I was the gem of the gym!
But after 10 minutes, my face was getting red, to the point you couldn’t tell where my forehead ends and where my hairline begins. Beads of sweat were glistening at my temples.
By 20 minutes, I was huffing and puffing. The neck of my shirt was lined with sweat and it was dripping from my eyebrows.
By 25 minutes, my shirt was drenched to my belly button, my face was turning a new shade of purple and my wheezing began to overpower the sound of the TV. I began to worry that I would end up like Ty in the Gulag on MTV’s The Challenge: Cutthroat. Ty had to face Brandon in the gulag, and Ty is twice the size of Brandon and cut like Terrell Owens. There was no way Ty was going to lose. But then all of a sudden, he completely tanked, couldn’t get up, and Brandon won.
I felt my Ty moment coming. But I was determined not to pass out on the treadmill. Not again.
As fate would have it, my Fuse came through for me. At that 25 minute mark, what song should come on? None other than Aha’s “Take On Me.” My energy renewed, I picked up my step a bit, and pushed through for the next 3 1/2 minutes. But then the song was over, and there was still three minutes to go. My pluck was draining fast. At my weakest moment, the Fuse pulled through for me again. This time playing my personal theme song.
Rejuvenated by Outkast, I finished the workout and politely wiped my sweat from the handlebars of the treadmill. I took the elevator back down to the 12th floor and Lisa greeted me at the apartment, giving me a kiss on my sweaty cheek.
“I think your belly is getting smaller,” she said.
Like I said, gotta look sexy for my lady.