Wednesday, January 20, 2010

I carried a watermelon. (I carried a watermelon?)

What was that I was saying about needing to go on dates in order to gain blog fodder? I'm not sure what I was thinking. Obviously there are plenty of equally ridiculous things I could do in the name of having a story to tell.

Like take up Latin dance, for instance.

What's that? You don't really see me as the Latin dance type? Well, then. That makes two of us. But I've been curious about the Zumba class enthusiastically advertised on flyers at my gym, so the other night I finally cut out of work early to give it a try.

Do you know what Zumba is? I didn't either, so allow me to explain it to you. It is sort of like the cantina at Senor Frog's, except without the giant margaritas. Lively music? Check. Tiny Latin American woman in tight pants shaking her hips in front of a crowd? Check. Bunch of awkward pasty-skinned Midwesterners? Check. Margaritas? Alas, no. Which is unfortunate, really, because I could have used a margarita after that class. Come to think of it, I could have used a margarita before that class. In fact, I'm pretty sure most of the moves in those routines are intended to be done solely under the influence of alcohol. Part of me kept expecting the instructor to come around to each of us, pour a shot down our throats from a big plastic bottle, and shake our head between her hands while blowing an obnoxious whistle. Yes, I've decided right now: that is what Zumba really needs. Tequila poppers. Any Zumba instructors out there? Take note.

Basically, in short, Zumba is another attempt to disguise exercise as fun. And it is fun. If, unlike me, you do not lack basic coordination and rhythm, or possibly even lack a specific pivot point in your pelvis that makes simultaneous hip swaying and booty shaking physically possible. I'm telling you: my body does not move like that. It's as if I'm built like a Barbie doll--my legs and waist bend and rotate on specific trajectories, but try to force my frame to move in a way not allowed by those trajectories, and I remain stiff as a board. (By the way, that is, more than likely, the first and last time I will ever compare my own figure to Barbie's. We may both lack the necessary anatomical structure that makes Zumba moves possible, but I will never topple over from the strain of my impossibly narrow waist and dainty feet being unbalanced against my perky, ample, wedge-shaped bust.)

I knew right from the warm-up that I was in trouble. There is no actual instruction. Our tiny leader simply whistled and pointed when we were to change direction, but in most cases, I hadn't yet gotten the last move down when we moved to the next one, so it's a wonder I never actually trampled my neighbor. I was certain the instructor was going to stop the music and banish me from the class for lack of talent, perhaps even channeling Johnny Castle in the process. "She can't even do the merengue! She can't do it. She CANNOT. DO IT."

After a while it did get a bit easier... and then it got harder, and then I honestly didn't care anymore. I looked ridiculous, I am more than certain, but the room was dark and crowded, and I told myself (whether it was true or not) that no one was focusing on me. I made it through the class, worked up a productive-feeling sweat, and figured, "Well, I tried that, at least... I made it through the whole class, and I didn't even step on anyone once. Let's call that a success, shall we?"

But then last night I did something crazy and unexpected. People, I went again. 

This class was with a different instructor. Her routines weren't any easier or harder, necessarily, but one notable difference is she left all of the studio lights on. I still think I prefer the anonymity of the semi-darkness, but I'm also sort of glad the lights gave me a better chance to look around. Because when I glanced at my fellow Zumba-goers, I realized that yes, there were several women inexplicably able to make their pelvis vibrate just like our instructor's did, but there were also plenty of women only slightly more coordinated than I. Plenty of middle-aged suburban women with mom hair and last decade's workout clothes, swaying awkwardly and missing steps, just like me. Suddenly we were all the hapless vacationers at Kellerman's, shuffling our way through Penny's dance class in the community room while she cried, "Come on, ladies! God wouldn't have given you maracas if He didn't want you to SHAKE 'EM!"

Eventually there were brief moments where I forgot that I had no idea what I was doing, took my eyes off the instructor for more than three seconds, and just let my body do what the music was telling it to do. I didn't care that my arms and legs were flailing haphazardly. Like Phoebe jogging through Central Park, I have realized that's the only way dancing is any fun. Usually I confine my ridiculous dancing to the privacy of my empty living room, but it's important to branch out of one's comfort zone now and then, don't you agree?

In other news, I am still without a bathroom sink or fully usable shower. But (BUT!), the tiling in the shower area is finally complete and ready for grouting and sealing, and if all goes as planned, I may be taking a shower in my own home as early as next Monday. Hurrah! The other components of this remodel are another story, and I choose not to dwell on them for fear of sinking into a deep depression over the tiny light at the end of the tunnel that still refuses to flicker into view. A tiled shower is progress! And it looks beautiful to boot. It will all come together eventually. Patience, grasshopper. Indeed.

In other other news, I have a new post up at The Greenists today. This one's about borax. It's a science lesson! It's a cleaning tip! Stop; you're both right! Sounds exciting, doesn't it? You know you want to pop over and read it.

22 comments:

Shelly said...

YES! That is the power of Zumba! I love it! I suck at it, too, everyone does. But it's fun. And it's a workout. And you look like a moron, but so does everyone else, so who cares? In fact, I need to look and see if my old Zumba class still meets on Thursday nights. I need to go back, immediately. I love that class. It does need drinks, though.

Jess said...

I keep hearing about Zumba. My gym offers classes and they are included in our membership fee, so I should really try one sometime.

badger reader said...

Thank you for explaining zumba. I like your description much better than the one provided by the front desk at my gym. As there are few who can match my lack of coordination I will definitely not be participating anytime soon (without tequila anyway). After falling off a nordic track, a treadmill and a balance board, I can safely say gym dancing should not be attempted by me unless there is a money prize to be had.
Good luck on the bathroom project!

courtney said...

What? No margaritas? That seems like an integral part of Latin dancing.

Good luck weathering the last few days of the bathroom remodel! I can't believe it's taken this long, but I'm looking forward to seeing pictures!

nancypearlwannabe said...

I think everyone I know has gone to Zumba except me. But! I HAVE gone to Hip Hop, African dance, Cardio strip tease, and ballet. All of which I was miserable at, but enjoyed nonetheless.

Also, I now have a burning need to watch Dirty Dancing. RIP, Patrick Swayze. RIP.

Noelle said...

I took a class like that once last year. It took me a while to realize it didn't matter that I was a freak, two steps behind, because I was still sweating.

flurrious said...

I think this post needs an accompanying video.

lizgwiz said...

I think I'm afraid to try Zumba. A friend close to my age said she did it and it gave her bursitis in the hips. Hee.

I'm also REALLY afraid to let me landlord "send someone over" to retile MY shower now. You're scarin' me!

Allie said...

Oh! Phoebe jogging! Phoebe in that episode always reminds all my ladies of one of our friends.

This post is really awesome. I think, sometimes it's really important to realize that it's okay to enjoy doing things you'll never master. If you get better or don't, it doesn't matter as much as just doing it and having fun.

And I say this as a person who cannot dance in any way shape or form. :)

Carrie said...

I'm proud you went twice, Stef. My 64-and-a-half-year-old mother swears by Zumba class and gets a sound of glee in her voice every time she talks about it. She's also completely undisciplined and has no interest in good form. Maybe that means it's a good stress-killer and I wouldn't suck at it either.

Alice said...

i'm petrified of zumba for exactly those reasons. i am a white girl who does not gyrate.

Mickey said...

Yup, alcohol is a prerequisite for any kind of dance.

You should make it a running theme on your blog to always drop Dirty Dancing references into your posts, regardless of relevance to dancing or keeping things in corners.

Miss Pants said...

Nobody puts Stefanie Says in the corner! :-)

shanalulu said...

Are ya alive? :p :)

Stefanie said...

Yep, I'm still here. Just in hiding, apparently. :-) (Has it really been two months? My word; how'd that happen?) Thanks for checking in, Shana.

shanalulu said...

It has, you blog-slackahh! Glad you're still kickin'. :)

Lily Starlight said...

I'm delurking to say I hope you're well and that you come back soon. Your blog is one of my favourites and I miss you.

Mickey said...

Put that watermelon down and come back.

Mickey said...

You should really put the watermelon down. It's been five months. It has to be getting pretty heavy.

Stefanie said...

Ahem. It has been only four. (And a half.) Yeah. Um.

Right then. Carry on.

Erikka said...

hey there. are you not blogging here anymore?

3carnations said...

-R- said you're going to start blogging again today! Great!

Okay, so maybe those weren't her EXACT words...