I’ll have two avocados and a pilates mat.

Now I don’t know whether its because I live in Surrey or if I am just unlucky when it comes to social encounters, but I’ve had an overdose of the upper middle class lately. I’ve had shots of organic-extra-virgin-olive oil-hand-picked-by -well-dressed-Italians left right and centre, and they are only set to increase.

My first and biggest faux par was joining a gym. One of the hallmarks that separate the Upper and Middle classes is whether you have a gym suite in your own home, and it seems like the second of the tiers seem to all have a membership to an exercise establishment of some description.

The establishment I have joined is one of the epicentres of UPM action, displayed most evidently in its ‘weekly activity programme’. Members can attend classes from Zumba Dancing to Aqua Aerobics (yes, that’s the jumping around thing that ‘curvaceous’ women do in swimming pools instead of, you know. actually swimming), and everything in between. Including pilates.

Pilates is an exercise programme that was developed by a German bloke in the 1900s. It grew in popularity and went mainstream in the latter half of the twentieth century. It is now a popular pastime for the spouses of lawyers and the all lunching all cooking housewives to fit in between choosing washing detergents and nurturing their darling offspring’s musical talents.

Today was my first session, and soon realised I fitted into neither of the demographics [faux pas numero deux] I awkwardly sat down in the studio, awaiting the participants.

Two women sat on their mats facing front. The personalities of the two women were of archetypes I have dealt with before. Observe, Participant A.
“Have you done pil-ar-teys before? What’s that? You’ve only done yogar? Well. They are very different you know. You really aught to have gone to a beginners session.”
And Participant B. Of Eastern European descent. Most likely a dancer.
“She iss right you know. I have ssseen many peuople attempt and done much injury.”

I sit their awkwardly after listening to their comments. They then resume conversation as I hunt for a mat and pretend to do some warm up stretches. I can still overhear them. Participant A is training to be a yoga instructor and complaining about beginners going to their first class without induction. B is agreeing. I pretend not to hear.

More people turn up. Slightly comforting. The gym stereotypes appear. Mrs. Post Pregnancy, I Once Had A Great Body And I Need It Back arrives and unrolls her mat. Miss Size 20 places herself in the corner so she can’t be seen.

The Instructor strides in. (And Ms. I Commute to my Well Paid Job in the City Every Day So I am Therefore Late for Everything nods in apology). Instructor puts on some sort of ethnic music, and the hour of insanity begins.

The hour concludes. We applaud ourselves. Participant A throws me a dirty look and then goes off to talk to Ms. Commuter about some silverware of the latest Lakeland Catalogue.

I wonder if they have this trouble at Yoga.


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. phainopepla95
    Apr 28, 2011 @ 02:02:26

    Brilliant! I laughed through the whole blog! How true and how perspicacious you are. (With the Royal Wedding this week, too, this seems very timely to me: Who knows if just maybe that invitation got unstuck from that postal bin, and now one has to fit into a smaller-sized dress to appear….um, yeah!) I suspect the Size 20 was Hyacinth Bucket. What do you think?!


  2. Tom
    Apr 30, 2011 @ 21:23:24

    That sounds like a crappy environment. I don’t go to gyms really… it’s mainly the ‘competition’ thing that puts me off sporty people. I just make my own excercise regimes at home because then I don’t have to compare my ways to a bunch of stuck-up fitness lovers who all over-value their own method of getting fit. That sorta pressure is a big brick-wall to me really…. I don’t think I could keep up what I’m doing in a place like that! ^^


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