Zumba PosesThere are fifteen women in the room, all dressed in leotard-like work out gear. There is one other man. As I walk in, his eyes grow large,  “Hey, another dude!” He shakes my hand with true vigor.

I smile as my face explodes into various shades of red. My hopes for a discreet entrance have been dashed. Everyone looks at me. Someone points, but there’s a chance that occurs in my head. The teacher comes in; she is fit, tight, toned, muscular, beautiful, cheery, and excited. “Let’s get started!” she shouts.

Just then, Colombian hip hop music begins rattling the walls and everyone in the room begins following the lead of the instructor. I have no choice but to attempt to move my arms and legs in a fashion last attempted during an LSD-fueled Haka.

Gin always gets me in trouble. I have always known this. And not even a lot of gin. For some reason, even the minutest contact between distilled junipers berries and my brain results in the wildest ideas sounding reasonable. I have found myself in all manners of situations: helping strangers move house, running in a 10K race the following morning, pet watching a tarantula and skinny dipping in the middle of the day.

And now it got me into a Zumba lesson.

After four(teen) gin and tonics and talking history with an old friend, I promised his daughter that I’d go to her Zumba lesson later that week. The juniper berries promised that it was a great idea; it would be an interesting experience, give me the opportunity to ogle women in tight pants, and dance around. So, if you live under a rock and haven’t heard of it, Zumba is a fitness program that involves dancing and aerobic exercise. To watch a Zumba class is sort of like watching a homosexual street gang prepare for a rumble. To take part in a Zumba class is not nearly as humorous. Classes last an hour and there is not one minute during which you are stationary.

After twenty minutes I am sweating so badly that I fear the women in the class are contemplating calling 911 for me. It is an exhausting workout involving movements that are so unnatural for a man of my stiffness that I truly believed that I was going to lose consciousness. Still, the instructor’s enthusiasm is incredibly infectious and, at minute 22, I promise that I will continue moving in order to not disappoint her. At minute 26, I am plotting a Coup d’état that is thwarted for two reasons. First, she is a childhood friend and second, she would, quite frankly, kick my ass in front of fifteen women and a man who is overly excited to see me.

At minute 27 the door opens and a man comes rushing in, drops a towel against the wall and jumps into formation as though this was planned. We make a move which involves turning in a clockwise motion. The implications of this are that instead of being in the back of the class hiding, I am now in the front of the class not sweating and flailing.

As the class stares into my soaked shirt, I hear a man’s voice from behind me, “Wow, another dude!”

The class ends and I am incapacitated. My mom has made steaks for dinner and I am drizzling it with A1 in my head. The two men are very friendly, pat me on the waterlogged back and ask me if I enjoyed it. I say that I did, somewhat surprised to find that I actually did enjoy jumping around to Colombian hip hop and dislocating shoulders. They urge me to come back the following week and leave. I don’t have the heart to tell them that I’ll be in Prague in a few days.

The instructor takes a picture as proof of my attendance. She is not sweating at all. We concoct a story about moving to Prague to open a Zumba studio.

We both laugh at the ridiculousness of me opening a Zumba studio, both knowing it would never happen in a million years.

Well, as long as I stay away from the gin.

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