“Spin” is a pleasant word. When I think of the world “spin,” I think happy things:
The sweet innocence of childhood.
Katy Perry and her boobs taking an adorable basketed bike ride.
Some guy spinning records in a Seattle garage circa 1998.
That dudechickthing from Dead or Alive who spins you right ’round, baby. Right ’round.
That dumb chick from Rumpelstilskin who spins straw into gold in exchange for a baby.
But now that I’ve been to a “spin” class, only one image comes to mind when I hear the word “spin“:
Spin class reminds me a little of jousting; jousting if there weren’t any horses or lances, and the knights just sat on stationary bikes and pedaled until they were both dead. My spin instructor, Pedro, seemed especially content on making sure I died today. I made the mistake of choosing a spot in the back of the classroom so that I could be confused in peace–people came in and had all sorts of rituals, adjusting levers and knobs and draping towels with geometric precision, one guy even had leather gloves a la Ryan Gosling in Drive, and he velcroed them on with Driver-like purpose and composure. Apparently, sitting in the back put a big red sign on my forehead, and to Pedro, that sign said “PUNISH ME.”
My whole life, there have been only two kinds of men who naturally gravitate towards me: gay men and Hispanic men. Gay men like me because I practically am one of them. I’ve never figured out why the Latinos me gusta me. My first boyfriend ever was from Puerto Rico, and even in middle school, he was vastly more attractive and intelligent than me. We were in the same English class, and he used to whisper the grammar exercise answers to me so that I wouldn’t cry when the teacher called on me to answer out loud. But still, I broke up with him constantly, always via a note that looked a lot like this:
My mother was convinced he was after a green card. I am convinced that I was either born with some mysterious, spicy, taco-shaped extra chromosome undetectable to anyone but a Latin man, or that they mistake me for a ghost and are intrigued by what it would be like to have sex with a specter–mainly because Dan Aykroyd did it in Ghostbusters.
So when I saw that the Spin class was being taught by a guy named Pedro, I was like, “Score, he’ll wink and give me sexy eyes and kiss my sweaty hand after class.” Nope. I turned out to be the only one sitting in the back row of a class of about ten people (in a classroom meant for forty). If you’ve never been on a Spin bike, let me tell you, it’s a lot like sitting on a telephone pole just slightly wider than your anus. It also has a “Torture Knob” that increases the resistance of the pedals, making it feel like you’re trying to move an immovable bike through a brick wall while trying to keep a telephone pole out of your anus. And you cannot slow down, or Pedro will see.
First Pedro started by making pointed eye contact with me and making a “SPEED IT UP, CHUBS” rotating circle sign with his hands. Then, when he caught me turning down the resistance on the Torture Knob, he shouted “UH UH, PONYTAIL! YOU KEEP IT UP! I SEE THAT!” After our first minute-and-a-half-stand-and-pedal interval, Pedro announced, “That was unacceptable. It wasn’t ‘terrible,’ I don’t blame people for ‘terrible,’ but if I see that kind of slacking again, we’re starting over,’ and then he pointed at me. Luckily, everyone was so focused on not dying that they didn’t turn around to spit at me. Plus, I don’t think anyone had any bodily fluids left.
Pedro continued to glare at me throughout class, and at one point told me, “YOU CAN FAIL IN HERE, THIS IS A SAFE ENVIRONMENT!” and if I had had any breath to speak, I would have shrieked, “I HAVE NEVER LONGED FOR DEATH LIKE THIS.” But I just wheezed and gave him a thumbs up, so he continued to give me the rotating circle hands, making me want to chain him to a treadmill and crank it up, then watch until he begged for my chubby mercy. Unfortunately, Pedro probably has what I estimate to be .5% body fat, and could comfortably sprint on a treadmill until he died of old age.
To add insult to injury, Pedro was also flamingly gay. I had no excuse. After class, he should have wanted to go straight to the nearest Claire’s to buy BFFL necklaces. Instead, as I left, Pedro caught my eye and said, “Next time, I want to see you sitting in the front row pushing yourself. You’re never going to win the race unless you push yourself.” And I was like, “Really? I’m not going to win a race on a bike stapled to the floor, AGAINST OTHER BIKES STAPLED TO THE SAME FLOOR?” I didn’t actually say that. I just smiled and gave him the thumbs up, then limped off to chop down all the telephone poles in New York City.
These days, my middle school ex-boyfriend looks a lot like Javier Bardem. So, he won.