Thirty-Seven Hispanic Women And One Jewish Gay Man In A Zumba Class
It started out like a really good idea. A pal of mine recently discovered a new exercise program named, "Zumba" it supposedly mixes cardio (cardio is the new aerobics) with those crazy Latin moves of Cha Cha, Samba and so on. The idea is that you're supposed to be so into your own Dancing With The Stars moment that you forget that you're exercising. When I saw that my gym offered free classes on one evening a week I decided to go to my first Zumba class to Zumba my way to fitness. So there I was, thirty-seven Hispanic women and one Jewish gay man in a Zumba class - Don't Get Me Started!
I'm not a "joiner" per se, never have been so the fact that I even went at all is more of a shock to me than anyone. But there I was, rushing home from work, throwing off my clothes to change into some sweatpants and a "t" and away I went to the gym. I got there about ten minutes early (which is late in my be a half an hour early for everything in your life standard) so I decided to just get on an elliptical machine for the ten minutes. Now I'm used to going to the gym around 5:30 in the morning so basically it's a bunch of old people and me. But let me just tell you that the gym at night is sort of like that cafeteria in high school they magically transformed into the prom - a different story entirely. First of all, it was wall to wall people. I don't even know that you could see the weights or machines for all the people. There was more grunting and sweating going on that at the world's largest orgy (or so I've heard - wink, wink). There were the guys checking out the girls, the girls checking out the guys, the guys following other guys to the shower and last but not least, the lesbians...the only ones there who really seemed to be there to work out. It was odd to be in a place I know so well but not know it at all.
As I was on the elliptical machine I could still see into the classroom where the Zumba would be taught. I could see that there was a Yoga class going on at the moment. As I continued on the treadmill of life, I noticed that all of these women started appearing. There they were in their workout outfits (complete with headbands that would have made Olivia-Newton John proud) they stood quietly staring at the Yoga people but as the minutes ticked away, so did their pleasant demeanor. The crowd that had formed seemed to becoming a mob. They looked at one another, throwing their hands in the air and then pointing to the watches that they weren't wearing on their wrists. Then there would be a collective chuckle that seemed to have an undertone of, "The next time those Yogaites go into a down dog, let's shove their face into their rubber mats." I looked away for only a moment but when I looked back I saw that there they were...the ladies who Zumba, entering the room before the Yoga people could utter a Namaste.
The Yoga instructor was a perky blonde that looked as though she could have done infomercials in the late 90's. Not really Yogaesque at all but who knows, maybe she was good. As the Granola Gang wound up their mats, the floor became full of Hispanic women with the thinnest eyebrows in the world painted on their foreheads that would be gone ten minutes into the class and of course I was there. As Suzy Yoga who became Suzy Zumba without missing a beat asked if it was anyone's first time Zumbaing I shot up my hand (something I've never done in my life...again a surprise to myself). As all eyes went to me I can't say that anyone there was really surprised, they all seemed to know one another (and no, I don't mean that in a racial way like when someone finds out I'm Jewish and asks if I know someone they met once who was Jewish). About this time a large Hispanic man came into the class and stood next to me. He looked like a block of cheese (no doubt Monterey Jack and a little con queso dip thrown in for good measure) he looked like he was in his early fifties and had been either a police officer or fireman (boys, put the fantasy back and we're back to my story). As Suzy explained that in Zumba you're not "cued" what to do next but to not let that worry me and to just keep moving and do whatever I want because as long as I was moving I was Zumbaing according to her. Now having taken a lot of dance classes and taught a lot of dance classes, while I could understand the not "cueing" the whole just do whatever the hell you want idea seemed more than a little bit odd to me.
The music started and we were off, doing a little Cha Cha, Samba and a lot of jumping around. I can't imagine what these women with their large breasts were doing as the jumping continued at a maddening pace but I know one thing and that was that I just kept reminding myself to breathe. After the first number (which lasted about ten minutes) Mr. Block O' Cheese looked over to me with a smile and asked, "Are you okay?" A lovely gesture and let's face it, this wasn't his first time out at the Zumba rodeo, he knew the steps and for looking like a block of cheese he certainly was breathing easier than me at the moment.
In between numbers Suzy would give everyone little breaks and then on to the next number where she would run around amongst all of us asking us to scream real loud. (It was a little like being on Pee Wee's Playhouse and someone saying the secret word). So there we were, Sambaing, sweating, Cha Chaing, sweating, swinging our towels over our heads and sweating some more. All in all it was a pretty fun hour though when I told my pal about it she assured me that there was an actual method to the madness and she vowed to get me a "real" Zumba teacher at some point.
I'll go back to Zumba class and I'll sweat to the Latin rhythms while the meat market goes on beyond the clear glass walls of the classroom/studio. Just me and my gals and Mr. Block O' Cheese, what a team we make. Let's just hope I don't get an urge to shave my eyebrows and paint them on with one of my cats' whiskers! Thirty-seven Hispanic women and one Jewish gay man in a Zumba class - Don't Get Me Started!
(P.S. I've now watched some Zumba videos on YouTube and it looks nothing like what anyone was doing in my class...but I'm going back, like Carmen Miranda sang, "We're going and we're gonna have a happy time!")
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An acquired taste, like Tab cola, Some Like It Scott is one gay man's experiences with love, life and things that make him crazy, all done to a musical theatre soundtrack.