Monday, January 11, 2010

Open Letter to a Gym Owner

(The following was originally written 11/18/1998. In a bizarre turn of events, it became relevant again in G:TBLand yesterday. The objection of its original creator to the posting of this content is noted.)

"We shall overcome.” – Joan Baez

Amidst the topsy turvy world of fashion (one in which, I might add, I ride the crest of every wave), trends come and go as quickly as big Gheorghe heads to and fro the disabled list. One trend, unfortunately, has risen from a blip on our fashion radar screen to a permanent blemish in clothing stores. Call them stretch pants, spandex, lycra, whatever you wish, but remember their potential for devestation.

Lycraholism, defined in Webster’s as the physical and mental addiction to stretch pants, received some notoriety in the early 1980’s, after Olivia Newton-John’s avant garde video “Let’s Get Physical” began to shed light on the use and abuse of tight-fitting athletic gear. However, athletic clothing manufacturers have successfully squelched all recent medical research regarding the phenomenon, as they heartlessly bilk the consuming public and hook them on lycra.

Risking life and limb, I, ace investigative reporter Slim Tuffjam, am passing along an open letter to the fitness industry in an effort to curtail the widespread abuse of lycra. I strongly encourage all who read this to copy my letter and mail it to the manager of your local health club, should that club encourage lycraholism in any form. Congressional measures are currently pending to offically classify health clubs as “Lycraholism-Safe” facilities, in much the same way cans of tuna are deemed as not hazardous to dolphins.

Dear Sir/Madam:

As a contented recipient of the services provided by your fitness facilities, it is with a great deal of dismay that I write this letter. The purpose of my correspondence is to notify you that I will accept the upcoming termination of my membership and look to join a different health club in the area. Having been a member of the club for less than one year, I am well aware that my departure will not cause great emotional distress upon employees or evoke tears from fellow fitness-conscious members.

I would like to point out that my decision to seek another fitness facility has nothing to do with the facility itself or the friendly staff that has gone out of their way to provide me with every possible amenity. Living a short drive away from the gym, I have found it extremely convenient to stop by after work and on weekends to get a good workout. However, any physical satisfaction that I have obtained through working out has been vastly overshadowed by the mental anguish inflicted upon me by the morally reprehensible actions of several people who also work out there.

To ease any fears that might be entering you train of thought, I have not been robbed, beaten up, or harassed, nor have I been the victim of any other type of physical wrongdoing at the hands of these hooligans. Stated bluntly, my complaint is that for as long as I have been attending the gym, I have been an unwilling eyewitness to the quasi-exhibitionist tendencies of guys who see nothing wrong with wearing spandex shorts so tight that I end up knowing far more than I ever should about the composition of their genitalia. When I fail to give 100% attention to the task of staring at the floor, I invariably find myself with a grade-A crotch shot of someone’s unit. The effects are immediate and horrific. My stomach becomes queasy. Waves of nausea cause my body to shudder uncontrollably. Cold sweat pours out all over my body as if a faucet was turned on. An immediate urge arises within me to pummel this person with the nearest blunt metal object, which only slowly subsides as I force myself to reminisce upon unconstrictive clothing trends I can fondly remember from my youth.

I now ask myself (and you also): Are these gentlemen stoked that I have a first-row view of their privates? Are they homosexuals? Am I a homophobe? Am I the one who is out-of-touch by not wearing spandex? Should I slip a dollar in their shorts? Far be it from me to proclaim myself Sheriff of the Fashion Police, but I think I have more than a vague idea of what is appropriate attire in a health club. In my book, any item of clothing that gives a clear, silhouetted view of one’s penis gets a thumb down. To expound matters, it is also common for these characters to tuck in their tee shirts while wearing spandex. What do you say to someone who willfully goes the extra step to ensure an unobstructed shot of their goods? “Nice piece, I can see why you show it off.” Or maybe something like: “Wow! Will weightlifting do that to me?”

At this juncture, I hope you get a feel for the mental and physical rigors I endure every time I head to the gym. I pray to Saint Mary before I leave my apartment each day, begging her to stop this senseless display of meat. But I’m not Catholic, so she ignores me. I have thought of buying blinders to obstruct my view, but they are just not practical for working out. I must do something though to stop my recurring nightmares. In this dream, I’m working out peacefully and alone in the weight room, but when I look in the mirror, I see I’m wearing spandex with my tee shirt tucked in. I immediately run in the bathroom to rip them off, but there is another pair underneath! And then another, and then another… My fruitless efforts to change clothes repeat themselves until my own screams of horror awake me. I lay awake in a frenzied delirium many a night, my heart beating like I’ve been a week-long coke binge, fleeting visions of a dream gone awry gallivanting through my head. I simply lie there, in a puddle of my own sweat, wanting to run out of my bedroom as quickly as possible, away from civilization as I know it, to a secluded spot in a desolate forest where I can lay quietly in a fetal position, wipe tears from my cheeks, and softly call out to the wind: “Mommy.”

I now find it difficult to accomplish the everyday tasks I’ve been accustomed to handling. I loll around on the job. My commute to work is spent in a dazed stupor as I salvage my little strength to keep myself from falling asleep on the subway, lest I scream out in front of fifty strangers in a dream-induced rage: “Be gone, demon stretch pants!” If I do not leave your facilities soon, I fear you will read about me hanging from a rafter somewhere, my stiff body suspended from a noose.

In closing, I realize I would be a liar by saying that I am also offended by women in spandex. I guess I am simply a slightly homophobic man who seeks a fitness facility that eschews genital displays. If I wished to endeavor in these types of voyeuristic activities, I would have joined a Turkish spa. I welcome any feedback you might have as to how a facility such as yours could alter this traumatizing state of affairs.

Thank you.

Regards,

Slim Tuffjam

56 comments:

Marlin said...

There are no words. . .

rob said...

on the contrary, there are 1,191 words.

zoltan said...

Is Slim Tuffjam the guy in the blue spandex sling or the pink spandex sling?

Mark said...

I had to scrape ice off my windshield this morning. Old man winter can suck my balls.

Geoff said...

Go Cowboys...

"During the uncapped year, the eight clubs that make the divisional playoffs in the previous season have additional restrictions that limit their ability to sign Unrestricted Free Agents from other clubs. In general, the four clubs participating in the Championship Games are limited in the number of free agents that they may sign; the limit is determined by the number of their own free agents signing with other clubs. For the four clubs that lose in the Divisional playoffs, in addition to having the ability to sign free agents based on the number of their own free agents signing with other clubs, they may also sign players based on specific financial parameters."

The Cowboys, by virtue of their victory over Philadelphia in last weekend's wild-card round, are now in the final eight. They are already limited in what free agents they can sign in the upcoming offseason, largely having to match anyone they want to sign with a contract of their own they lost to free agency.

Dave said...

did the letter receive a reply?

Geoff said...

Kind of...not long after Slim spotted a suspicious package.

Whitney said...

The little guy on the right -- shocked at what he sees, or at what he doesn't see?

Dennis said...

I'm just wondering how TR got a photo of Kim McGanty (the ex-Dennis) in this post...creepy.

rob said...

there used to be another dennis?

Dennis said...

Finkle is Einhorn.

TJ said...

I'm looking for Neil Rackers...and a clean pair of shorts.

TR said...

Mr. Editor - I think the letter was November 1997, not 1998. I never heard back from the manager (Susan?) of the Bronxville Athletic Club. And I had nothing to to do with this post...other than resembling the guy second from the right in the top picture.

The letter is a blatant rip-off of the Hunter S. Thompson style of writing rambling bizarre letters to people. I think I was reading his books of letters at the time and envisioning a life that didn't so closely resemble my own.

zoltan said...

"I think I was reading his books of letters at the time and envisioning a life that didn't so closely resemble my own."

That too deserves a post of its own. The was lots of misery in Mt. Vernon.

Mark said...

Why aren't there any women who look like that at my gym? I'd gladly deal with a few fat guys in spandex in exchange for the girl I'm choosing to call Slim Tuffjam.

rob said...

the letter may have been written in 1997, but it appeared in my email in box in 1998.

i added the last picture in an attempt to salve the psychic damage i knew i was inflicting with the first one. glad to know it worked.

TR said...

Mt. Vernon was the hometown of Diddy, Denzel and Captain Lou Albano. It was also the temporary hometown for a ragtag bunch of 5 ex W&M folks who immediately (or soon thereafter) regretted the decision to live there.

TJ said...

Chicago D-B loved his time in money earnin'...

zoltan said...

I think Dennis is intimating that the young lady at the end of the post resembles a former Mrs. Dennis and Unit M sweetheart, whom I believe was briefly paddled and then jammed by TJ.

TJ said...

No, sadly, my limited contact with Mrs. Ex-Dennis was him bangin' her in the bunk bed above me.

Whitney said...

I know she weighed in a post or two ago on the very subject, but we should be hearing more from KQ. She is under the employ of a gym in NoVa, last we communicated. She could well tell us if Slim Tuffjam's request is a valid or frequent one. She could dress Slim down if he's out of line. She could even provide some pictures for G:TB to post.

Clearly, we need some diversion from the obese men in singlets.

zoltan said...

Well I saw someone paddle and jam her. One of the morons from the suite that year, so I figured it was you. Maybe Eddie from Ghana? I mix you guys up.

TJ said...

Yep, me and Eddie from Ghana are one and the same. Why do we co-host again?

TR said...

Whatever happened to Eddie from Ghana and Joel from Philly?

TJ said...

You ask enuff for Gen Sherman and he just might appear in this very space.

Whitney said...

For you Virginians, there's a damn fine venue in Richmond called The National that's been bringing the heat for the last year or so. Check it out.

Just a few entries on the upcoming docket:

2/16 Willie Nelson
3/11 They Might Be Giants
3/24 Spoon
3/29 Wilco
4/24 Elvis Costello

Cool place -- an old theater downtown. Worth the trip for you NoVaers if your band doesn't make it to the 9:30 Club.

zoltan said...

If you live in DC and you have the time to make a road trip, I can't think of a good reason why you wouldn't see Willy in Richmond. The people-watching alone would be an amazing show.

zoltan said...

You should add Of Montreal on Jan. 30 to that list.

Mark said...

Reading Whit's comment made me realize I hadn't checked the calendar for my favorite venue (The Social in Orlando) in about a month.

So I just did and, it seems, that both RJD2 and Del the Funky Homosapien are playing at The Social over the next 3 days. And now, I want to go to both shows (but at the very least one of them) and I don't have the first fucking clue how I can make that work. Dammit.

Mark said...

I second the Of Montreal recommendation. Seen em live and I'd do it again for sure.

Michael said...

No, it was Ed that gave her the fake jam. picked her up in the bathroom like she was going to be put in the bowl but never did. just to put a scare into her. but it gave those of us standing in there a nice glimpse at her undergarments, which were quite tidy if you ask me. Sorry, Dennis, I like to ogle.

rob said...

new season of austin city limits announced - a little something for everyone. check out the jan 16 show:

http://bit.ly/4DdaES

zoltan said...

Nice. I ruminated on throwing up some Mos Def filler but figured it would be panned by everyone (except Mark, of course) so I didn't.

KQ said...

Dear Sir,

Thank you for your thoughtful and, frankly, extremely disturbing letter. We too have struggled with the lycraholism epidemic that is plaguing fitness facilities nationwide. (Europe has already spiraled out of control. We're afraid it's a lost cause.) We sympathize with your complaint, and if our livelihood didn't depend on the monthly wages paid by such sartorial offenders, well, we'd leave too.

I'd like to share with you a story that I believe is a beacon of hope for all of us praying for an end to the phallic madness. We have a member - let's call him 'Whitney' - who frequents the gym daily, is a cardio fanatic, and chooses to dress in extremely tight spandex shorts. As you can imagine, once he begins his usual routine he works up quite a profuse sweat, soaking said bike shorts. Did I mention he only wore light gray or white? I think you get the picture. One day, after approaching a young woman on the gym floor to "chat" she called the club management and was extremely upset, explaining she had seen quite enough and being so close to the "show" sent her over the edge. "You have to say something to him. Please make him stop," she cried! The manager was forced to contact 'Whitney' and explain that he was going to have to "cover up the fireman's helmet." 'Whitney' got angry and defensive, lashing out at the manager. But I am pleased to say that he showed up the next day in his brand new - though sadly still tight spandex - navy and black shorts. (Baby steps, Slim. Baby steps.)

My point Mr. Tuffjam, and I do have one, is that there IS hope. And if fine, upstanding, concerned patrons such as yourself continue to speak out against this travesty, justice will be served.

On behalf of gym managers everywhere, and all women with eyes, we thank you.

*****
Also (inspired by yesterdays comments) - if G:TB ever becomes Gheorghe: the Band, then Lil' Squirrel and the Rogue Hairy Nuts would be an awesome name.

And it really is a true story.

rob said...

maryland and wake playing the w&m loser's bracket game this evening.

and that band would be huge.

rob said...

lane kiffin is usc's new coach. wtf?

rob said...

larry sanders is unstoppable tonight. hey now.

Mark said...

I like this year's version of Gator Basketball and I'm excited to watch this Florida-Kentucky game but I'm in no way confident Florida can win. Just to have a shot they'll need to turn UK over, hold them to a low FG% and shoot it well from 3 themselves. That's an awful lot to ask for against a team that bigger, talented and more athletic.

TR said...

Think there's a high school kid out there who's mortified his dad is the "Wow, that's a low price!" actor in those awful Staples commercials?

Mark said...

Kiffin to USC makes me giddy on a ridiculous number of levels.

rob said...

urban's getting texts from recruits decommitting from tennessee

Mark said...

Probably is. Too late though. Florida's class is fucking loaded, and just about full.

rob said...

the balding dreads look tyus sports is something special

Mark said...

Kid's been losing his hair since he was a freshman. Won't give it up though.

TR said...

By "special" you mean "disturbing," right? His hair line is exactly on top of his ugly dome.

Mark said...

I can't wait until DeMarcus Cousins is 350 lbs and still on his rookie contract.

TR said...

Rob - got an Avett Bros. album recommendation? I am eagerly spending an iTunes gift card. I'm thinking of something with the banjo sound (ie, not the new album). Whatcha got for me?

rob said...

whit argues that 'emotionalism' is their best record. i love the new one, but it's hard to argue with whit on this one.

TR said...

Allmusic.com was pointing me there, and the previews sounded good on iTunes, so I'll dig into that one first. If I dig it, I may try the new one next. Gracias.

rob said...

if you want to see something very cool, check out the npr music 'tiny desk concert' with the avetts.

rob said...

tyus looks like the predator

Whitney said...

TR, my diminutive friend is correct. Emotionalism is fantastic and full of the banjo twang the new one mildly abandoned. Proceed without caution.

Whitney said...

And KQ, I somewhat resent you bringing up that story. At least without mentioning that I kept everything completely sanitary by wearing a condom for the duration of every workout.

TR said...

More Tribe love from si.com, including this lyrical reference to Scenario that says W&M should be an at-large entrant into the tourney field: "Who's got the vibe? It's the Tribe, y'all."

http://tinyurl.com/ygtxrk9

zoltan said...

That's perhaps the most incongruous mash-up of cultural references in the history of the internet.

TR said...

It also confirms the author is likely a white male in his 30's.