Quote Me: “So, my friend Stacie and I are going to dress up and then go to an ‘80’s night at a local bar. Cool?”
Mike Woosley: (without looking up from the newspaper) “Sure.”
Me: “I’m a little disappointed in your reaction.”
Mike Woosley: (turns the page, still doesn’t look up) “Okay. You can’t go.”
I’m a firm believer in both the power of exercise and the Hawthorne Effect (fancy sociology term for participants working harder when being observed) so when I saw the bright, shiny poster of a toned woman grinning at me from under the ad for a Barre class at the Bel Air Athletic club, I thought, “Yes. That’s for me. And my friend Stacie.”
After all, I’ve taken ballet for years. We get to dress up in leg warmers and side ponytails. There will be some nostalgic ‘80’s music playing while we plie and arabesque. What, I thought, could go wrong?
Let me tell you.
The night we attended was special – a 90-minute session to perk up your workout and your glutes. All five barre teachers were there and they rotated. So, one would lead a section and then run to the back of the room when another woman took her place. Thus ensuring that the students would be moving continuously.
When we walked in the first lady wore a sweatband and a grin like Richard Simmons. I soon realized this was NOT a ballet class – we’d stumbled into an ‘80’s workout video. We were doing all the funky moves with our pink three-pound hand weights. I could hang with this. Then we moved to the barre.
Don’t forget the soundtrack we have going while we’re ‘pulsing’ and ‘repeating’:
Lunatic Fringe (anyone remember the movie VisionQuest)
Eye of the Tiger
Disco remix of Pink Floyd’s Another Brick in the Wall(Just not right)
The barre was supposed to be easy for me. It wasn’t. We weren’t ballerinas. Instead, we had these soccer balls we had to squeeze between our hamstring and calf and then start again with the pulsing and the repeating WHILE we were balancing.
Relieved when we moved back to our mats, but OH NO! Here comes the PLANK lady. I hate this move anyway, but now I’m supposed to be dipping and then let’s try the plank on our forearms. Sweat was dripping into my eyes. My water bottle was empty. I was trying to look at the clock, but couldn’t get my head far enough under my arm to see it. I might have blacked out for a bit here. Did I mention that I hate the plank position?
Finally, we are on the last lady. She pulls out this Styrofoam thingy – called, aptly enough, a roller. She wants us to put the roller under our leg and then roll our body all about. She said, “Give yourselves a nice massage ladies.” It did NOT feel good. I might have said, out loud, “I wouldn’t tip for THIS massage.” It didn’t help that I was right in the front. I blame my friend Stacie for our position. You know I wasn’t early enough to pick our spots!
Anyway, we’ve got Duran Duran going and Bon Jovi and then, my body aching and shaking, it’s time for the cool down. Guns ‘N Roses “November Rain.” Do you have any idea how LONG that song is?
Afterwards, Stacie and I limp to the door, propping each other up. There’s a table set up and the five perky barre women invite us to partake of food and beverage. Really? I just went through THAT to burn off calories and you want me to put them back on? Still, I looked it over with a polite smile.
Staci. I think you’re with me on this. Next time I’m heading to a bar without the ‘re.’ I will not wear leg warmers. There will be martinis instead of cauliflower and hummus. And if there is any booty-shaking, it will be me dancing and not pulsing.
Disclaimer: The BAAC instructors all had amazing bodies. I’m just going to have to go a different route.