In our house, the kids tend to say hate when they are upset with someone/something/anything. I am trying to discourage it because, aside from the fact that it pierces my heart to hear how they hate me… No. Wait. That’s the only reason why I am discouraging it. But, I am making an exception to the “hate” rule for one thing; Zumba.
For those who don’t know, Zumba is a fitness craze where white girls dance around to Latin hip hop music, pretending to get in shape but, in truth, are just trying to look sexy.
I am sure you’re asking yourself, “Whoa. Why so fierce, Pony?” Here’s why. On a misguided whim, I thought I would sign up for a session of Zumba classes at my work’s fitness center. Typically, I register for one of the many yoga classes. One time, I signed up for boot camp, and it surprisingly wasn’t bad, except for the fact that I wanted to die at the end of every class. A good death, but death nonetheless. This time, I got a bug up my butt and thought, Zumba. Let’s try Zumba.
I went into the first class thinking positive thoughts, like, “It won’t be so bad. It will be nothing like cheer class where you you couldn’t chant Be Aggressive if your hair were on fire and a proper cheer was the only way to put it out.” And, “Just stay in the back for the first class. You’ll pick up the moves and own the place. Or, at the very least you won’t draw attention to yourself and you can sweat in peace.”
I sure know how to build myself up.
When I entered the classroom, I was heartened by the sight of my fellow classmates. It was a nice grouping of women who looked like grandmothers, cubicle surfers, and nary a one of them had 6 packs. There was even a guy. He was probably there for the sexy, but, still. A geeky white guy was in the room. I couldn’t possibly be worse than he was.
“Okay, I can do this,” I told myself. I mean, I’ve done Insanity. You know, the workout with Shaun T, who will smile as he rips your whole body apart and reshapes it with his bare hands. If I can survive Shaun “Keep Your Core Tight” T, I can take Zumba.
One of the girls even turns to me and says, “The teacher is so nice; you’re going to love this class.” I feel confidence rising.
After a brief overview of Zumba, the teacher gives us her only instruction, which was to, “look at her and keep up.” That’s not a lot to go on, but I can do that. I mean, I have eyes and all.
Then the music starts. It’s “DJ Got Us Fallin’ In Love Again” by Usher. I’ve always liked this song, so it’s a good omen, right? The teacher moves slowly, and I’m keeping up. Still no instruction other than an errant hand flinging to the left or right depending on where she wants us to move, but that’s OK. In fact, it kind of reminds me of Insanity because we’re starting out with a lot of squats and kicks.
Then the teacher goes off the rails. There are kicks, turns, squats, cha chas and hand flailing. I look around, and you can tell who the regulars are; they are they ones in the “Zumba” branded pants shimmying like they are in the club.
The teacher is singing along with the music and flipping her hair around like she’s the frontman for an 80s hairband. Does Whitesnake need a new lead singer? I found one for them if they do.
I look at the clock. Only 15 minutes have passed since the start of the class. Holy Jesus, Mary and Joseph. I have 30 MORE MINUTES. I’ll never make it. I am tripping all over myself, trying my best to keep up, but all I can do is throw myself in the general direction the rest of the class cha chas.
Even the nerdy white guy is doing alright. On rhythm and everything. I start to think it’s just me, but then I catch the eye of an older woman who is looking at the instructor like she has lost her damn mind. In my mind, I say to the woman, “You are wise. You know what’s up. Can we leave? Go get some tea? I could use some tea.”
But no, I Zumba along. I even start to hear Shaun T telling me to keep my core tight. Trying to look on the bright side, I think, “Well, if I keep my core tight, that will get a workout, so it’s not a total waste.”
At one point, I actually feel myself start to tear up. I cannot Zumba. No matter how hard I try, I cannot Zumba. I cannot keep up with the mincing footsteps, arm flailing, or ball chains. I will my tears to remain in their ducts, and start to plot my escape. The door is about 5 feet from where I stand; I just need to sneak past the token guy and the chick who swore I would love the class (LIAR!).
Then the twists turn everyone to the back of the room, where I have been trying to hide myself. They are all staring at me as they thrust their hips so I turn and thrust too. It’s a horrifying sight. Sweaty office workers pretending to be zesty dancers. I feel their eyes on the back of my head and I know they are laughing at me on the inside. Searing humiliation consumes me.
Finally, the torture ends and we are all dismissed to go back into the real world.
I am pretty sure the teacher knew how upset I was; I have the worst poker face. Honestly though, I don’t care. I will never Zumba again. I don’t care how much I paid for the rest of the classes; it is not worth the humiliation. I would rather do Insanity while standing on hot coals than return to Zumba. I’ll leave the sexy hip thrusts to my co-workers.