Betty and Nadine, two single ladies noticeably past middle age and best friends since third grade, signed up for a water aerobics class at their local gym. Betty, the more adventurous one, had convinced Nadine that this could be a calm, stress-free way to get some of that low-impact exercise she’d been reading about. She also thought it could be an inconspicuous way to exercise while avoiding the twenty-year-old, thong-wearing, man-ogling women and the stereotypical, responsive men who inexplicably never forget to deposit their brains at the front door of the YMCA. But she graciously kept this opinion to herself.
The week before classes started, the two ladies went swimsuit shopping together to lessen the pain. Betty, the smaller of the two women by about seven pounds, was always the more confident one, but even this adventure was tugging at her resolve. So when Nadine’s dejected sighs got louder with each attempted suit, Betty tried to reassure her friend: “Remember, Nadine, we’ll be underwater most of the time.”
“How comforting,” she grimaced, but couldn’t help laughing to herself.
The following Tuesday evening, Betty picked Nadine up and they headed to their first class. They giggled nervously about wearing bathing suits for the first time in years. They joked about losing material in body parts unknown. They fretted about being the fattest women in the class. And being best friends, they encouraged each other enough so that it truly didn’t matter at all.
There were twelve women of all ages and sizes (it turned out that they were actually two of the smallest women in the group!) and one man obviously not there for any weight loss benefits. The women introduced themselves to each other as women do, but the stoic man smiled just enough to appear polite, never speaking to anyone.
The class lined up in front of a young, perky female instructor who obviously had an endless supply of motivation. Betty thought she was the perfect pick to lead this bunch!
And surprisingly, the class was a complete success. The ladies actually enjoyed themselves and were happy they went. Both of them actually looked forward to the next class!
Feeling much more comfortable in their suits than they had on Tuesday, Betty and Nadine strode confidently into the YMCA that Thursday night and headed for the pool.
Betty noticed it first. The only man in the class was already standing in the water waiting for the women to line up. And he was wearing nose plugs!
Why? Betty thought. Why did he need nose plugs? For the waves? Waves in a pool? There were no kids splashing around, no boats leaving wakes, no wind causing currents. For heaven’s sake, there were just women in the pool. Twelve women doing low-impact exercises. Twelve fairly large women. In the water. Moving and jumping and running …oh my.
The rest of the class arrived and noticed one by one, two by two. The man, who had said nothing to any of them, suddenly spoke volumes. Whispering, muttering, and shaking their heads in initial shame, then disgust for this man with no manners, they were determined to make the highest waves they possibly could. They would make him fight for every breath!
But it was too much for Nadine. Too embarrassed to exit the pool, she finished the class, but told Betty on the way home that she just couldn’t go back. And Betty, being the friend that she was, opted out in support. It was to be their second and last water aerobics class.
They made arrangements to meet Saturday to donate their new bathing suits to charity and go for Mexican.
“Food, Nadine, not A Mexican,” Betty joked, just to make her friend laugh.