“Vhat a tough vorkout.” Shouted Marta in a thick German accent, apparently unaware she was still plugged into her ipod. I nodded, unable to speak, still winded from our advanced spinning class. I motioned toward her ears, which prompted her to remove her ear buds.
“You barely broke a sweat, you going to sauna?” I gasped
“I’m going to steam.” Marta said, barely winded. “See you later?”
Marta scurried toward the ladies locker room. Although she was well into her sixties, her butt was as high and tight as any twenty year olds. I’m half her age and my butt, well…let’s just say it has blended somewhere south of the back of my thighs and knees.
I manage to make my way toward the sauna room, only to find someone had taken my usual spot on the top bench, which meant, I would have to take the lower bench, in front of the door. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy to have a spot in the crowded sauna, but it’s sort of like being sat by the kitchen at your favorite restaurant. As I sat waiting for that first bead of sweat to fall. I tried to close my eyes and drift off into the comfort of the moist heat, when I noticed a strange ritual occurring outside the sauna in front of the "Big Mirror". There are many mirrors, but only one “Big Mirror”. The mirror which compels every woman to stop and perform the same ritual (performed to Madonna’s Vogue) frontal pose, smile, turn slightly to your right smile, look at your butt, smile, stand up straight, smile, suck in your gut, smile…off she goes. On and on it went. Didn’t matter the age, size or race, every woman performed the same ritual. As I sat there witnessing this, I felt a strange twinge of guilt. How dare I invade this intimate custom. Finally puddles of perspiration. Ten more minutes and I’m done. The sauna clears, and I find myself alone. My usual spot on the top bench, free, but I decide to remain where I am, intrigued by the power of this mirror. A zaftig young woman enters the locker room. Her head down, face obscured by a mounds of long dark ringlets, looking like something only Slash and Cousin It could have spawned. She seems self conscious in her large baggy sweat pants, and oversized t-shirt. An obvious “newbie”, for no self respectable woman at this club would be caught in anything other than an Under Armour, or yoga wear by Lucy. She clumps her mound of curls in a scrunchie, another fitness club fopaux, and walks slowly toward the fitness area, first stopping in front of the “Big Mirror”. I expect her to go thru the normal posing routine; frontal pose, smile, turn slightly to your right, smile, look at your butt, smile, stand up straight, smile, suck in your gut, smile…wrong. She glances around, careful to insure she is the only one around, (performed to Mary J. Blige’s The One), She whips her mounds of curls back and forth banging her head faster than any heavy metal six string hero. She stops, and gives her reflection a come hither stare. Glancing around again, she squats, springs up, and flips her head back, finally ending with the “cartwheel” the classic stripper move, sans stripper pole. She regains her composure and exits the area.
How many times have I been mesmerized by the “Big Mirror”, performing my unabashed display of vanity? How many times has someone sitting in this spot, bore witness to it?
I finish my sauna session, and prepare to exit the area. Embarrassed, I walk past the “Big Mirror” with barely an acknowledgement.