I recently re-joined a local health club designed for “seniors.” I had belonged to it in the past for many years but used it so infrequently that I quit when I figured out that each lap around the track actually cost me $34, a bit pricey for minimal benefit. Anyhow, the center recently converted its large swimming pool to salt water and a friend convinced me to give it a try; it would make a new woman of me. Dubious. Anyhow, I’m there on a one-month trial basis and, given the recent heat wave, I’ve been using the pool almost every day. I still do my basic set of yoga exercises at home plus the up and down movement of painting large canvases. That seems enough exercise to keep me in reasonable shape (for my age.)
If you are familiar with my work, you know that I’m an incurable social satirist, the George Grosz of Stamford. And what better place to find subjects than a health club, especially one that doesn’t cater to babes in bikinis. Unfortunately, as we get older, we all look better with our clothes on.
Which reminds me of a story:
A few years ago, during my prior membership in the health club, my ever-present “advisor”, my Cousin Adele, ordered me to go to the Hot Tub and find a suitor. Before she died, two years ago, my housebound relative spent her free time worrying about and advising me. I tried to explain that the whirlpool bath was the worst place to find a man, but she insisted and to get her off my back, I decided to give it a try. Now, I’m no Playboy model, but I’m reasonably well put together (for my age). As ordered, I put on my new spotted leopard bathing suit with its foam-enhanced breasts and went to check out the contents of the pool. As Adele had predicted, it contained two men of suitable age, deep in conversation. Hot prospects? Not quite. More like a pair of prehistoric wooly mammoths. While they might at one time been passable, they were now obese, sagging flesh hanging over their bellies, bodies covered with masses of grizzly hair (except for the tops of their heads.) Not a pretty sight. I fled. I’d have to find romance somewhere else.
While the men won’t win any beauty contests, the women don’t come off much better. Obesity is so common in our society as to be the rule rather than the exception. But, as any art historian or painter will tell you, fat women make wonderful models. Remember the Venus of Willendorf we all studied in art history? Rubens, Titian? The women I encounter are contemporary Venuses with small heads, permed hair, huge, pendulous breasts and enormous bellies. Feminine pulchritude and prosperity personified and not a penny needed for silicone enhancements. I’m in artist heaven! The women at the pool float on the water like air-filled balloons. One monumental figure I frequently encounter “water walks” for an hour every day. It’s hard to imagine what she would look like if she didn’t! There’s a price to pay for living in a society of plenty, but I’m not complaining. It suits me fine.