Exercise is something I view in the same light as tofu, diet coke and rice cakes. It’s not natural. It’s not appealing and it makes me want to vomit. I don’t like to starve and I don’t like to sweat. But when you have to bring a certain pair of cargo pants out of retirement from the closet and a sense of shame and guilt overwhelms you as you stare at the flab where your abs of steel once were, a certain rude awakening happens. Yes people, my Chinese Diet Pills are not working and I have not lost some of my circumference. I am the gay version of obese and I do not intend to celebrate a certain thirty something birthday (which is just over two months away) looking like the Michelin Man. So, I did what any self-respecting gay man would do, I sobbed and then I went out and I bought myself a bike.
This month is our 14th anniversary. On 21 May hubby and I would have outlasted 40% of all straight marriages and what a better way to celebrate this anniversary month than for me to try to lose 8kg and get back into shape before my birthday. After all it is as much a gift for hubby as it is a gift for me. Both hubby and I deserve for my body to be close to the shape it was in when we first met. Albeit that back then I looked semi anorexic. I mean you could seriously see my hip bone back then. So this time around my aim will be for the healthier looking version of me 14 years ago, not anorexic looking me.
So on Monday hubby and I went shopping. Initially I decided to buy a treadmill. Sure, it’s nothing more than a hamster wheel but I do prefer sweating, heaving and being red faced in private while watching Chelsea Lately or listening to music. The treadmill seemed like a much better option than jogging through the neighborhood or running on a treadmill all lined up like a Nazi concentration camp's fitness experiment in the gym. Then I saw how much treadmills cost.
Treadmills are fucking expensive. A whole month’s salary expensive! For a brief moment while standing in the fitness shop, with a dropped jaw, I thought maybe I wasn’t really that fat. Love handles are just more of me to love, right? Then I remembered the reflection of my flab in the mirror that morning. Remembered that cellulite is not my friend. Remembered that even though chubby people have great personalities, nobody wants to see them naked, people get nervous at the pool if it looks like they are going to dive in and realized that economy class seats (the class that I now have to fly due to the economy) are small and very narrow. I realized that I am chubby and I needed a Plan B.
On the other side of the fitness shop I spotted my Plan B – mountain bikes! Interesting, I thought. The last time I was on a bike was when I was 13. I have fond memories of my red BMX bike and I knew that a mountain bike was my salvation from my every growing circumference, as my Chinese pills so blatantly calls it. Mountain bikes are expensive too, but not as expensive as hamster wheels. Besides, at least with a bike we will save money on the power bill, as I think hamster wheels can be heavy on electricity. And bikes are greener and it will give hubby and I something to do as a couple, let us get out of the house, get some fresh air and get me into shape. So we went shopping for the right bikes for us.
In a specialty bike shop I spotted the most amazing tandem bike. It exited me in my loins and as I was pointing it out to hubby all vivaciously, his expression was one of “Yea right. As if we are not gay enough as it is. Why don’t we just hang pink tassels on the handle bars, besides I would have to do all of the peddling anyway" It may surprise you, but yes, my husband can convey all of this in just one look, it’s a skill. With a tandem bike clearly not being a realistic option we eventually bought two bikes that we both liked, bought pumps, helmets and all the paraphernalia one would need to get started.
My brother-in-law graciously offered to pick the bikes up for us as the boxes they came in would not fit in either of our cars. For some odd reason I thought that if you buy a bike it comes fully assembled, but they don’t. You have to do it yourself and for that you need tools. Fortunately for us, brother-in-law has tools, lots of them and in no time at all, both our bikes were assembled and ready to go. For the first time in almost two decades I was about to get on a bike, and I did not know what to expect.
Not being in any kind of shape at all, hubby and I decided to ride around the block. It’s not a massive distance, but we thought it would be a gentle way to ease us into things. Little did we know, but our block has hills and no matter which way around you go you will have an uphill and downhill. To make matters worse is the fact that my bike was squeaking and it sounded a lot like it was saying “you’re fat” when it squeaked. As these Queers on Wheels made our way around the block, people stared and I was dripping with sweat, out of breath and praying that no one recognizes me from under the helmet and from behind my sunglasses. But we made it! Eventually. I survived and it wasn’t really a completely unpleasant experience. So later in the afternoon, we did it again.
The squeaking was later discovered to be the rear brake pads and our hairstylist, who had to see the bikes for himself, quickly identified the problem and the bike now no longer squeaks and calls me fat. Hubby and I decided to ride around the block every day, each day venturing a little further as our fitness levels increases. There are a lot of bike trails in and around our town and when we feel ready and know that we will not risk a heart attack we will start exploring them too. It’s something constructive to do on a Sunday and much healthier than lying on the couch in front of the television eating crisps.
Exercise is never fun, but in the absence of a miracle pill that burns fat and turns chocolate or Hägan-Dazs ice cream into cellulite burning treats, it is unfortunately something I will have to do. I know many people buy bikes with the full intention of exercising and that many of these bikes either end up as clothing racks or dust collectors in their garages, and many people think this is exactly what’s going to happen to ours. But I do like a challenge and I do like proving people wrong. So take that flab, I will paddle my little gay legs off around my little neighborhood and by the 1st of July, I will have shed those excess 8kgs and be able to retire those pair of cargo pants back to its spot of shame in the closet!
Till next time