My wife was happy - relieved I think - when I told her about the other woman in my life.
I love my wife and we’ve been together for almost 25 mostly happy years, but her interests and mine have been diverging lately. Take mornings for example. I’m an early riser and my wife sleeps in, so the early morning, before work, is the perfect time for me to leave the house (quietly), and go to the other woman’s place. After 30 minutes or so of hot, sweaty action, I go back home, take a shower, change into my suit and tie, and go to the office – all while my wife is still asleep.
Let me be clear that this is an adult, consensual relationship. The other woman does it for money, I’m doing it because I want to, and it’s nothing my wife wants to do anyway. But it nags at me. I hate hiding something from the woman I love. I don’t like hiding this from my friends and worrying about which friends or co-workers I’ll run into in this small town while I’m out in the mornings. And then there’s the money, about $500 a month, not an inconsiderable amount for the 3 times a week I visit her.
She’s young, reasonably good looking, and in incredible shape – I doubt there’s an extra pound on her taut, athletic frame.
So I recently sat down with my wife and told her the news. At first she was frankly skeptical.
“You’ve joined an athletic club and hired a personal trainer?!” she said skeptically, with a nasty twisted emphasis on the “You” as in “You wouldn’t dream of doing something healthy like that!”
“Yes,” I said, “I figured it was finally time to try to lose some weight and get into some sort of shape other than round.” You should know that I’ve managed, at age 55, to retain my boyish figure, but only because my boyish figure was ball-shaped.
“I think that’s great!” she said. “Good for you!”
And so ended my life of duplicity. It felt good.
Which is more than I can say about I how I feel after going to the gym every morning (I go in and do aerobic exercises, like the tread mill or elliptical machine, on mornings when I don’t meet my personal trainer). I stagger out, sore, sweaty, and worn-out.
So why, after so many years of inactive obesity, have I suddenly decided to subject myself to such a routine? I think it’s my revenge against all those horrible gym teachers I had in Junior High and High School.
They were a miserable lot. Ex-military men who kept their crew cuts and coached various athletic teams and taught health classes. I’ve always assumed that they did gym classes because they were such bad teachers that they couldn’t be trusted to teach anything else, but perhaps a few of them chose to teach gym because of their low IQS. I don’t know.
Those six years of gym class were awful,. No instruction, no attempt to develop skills, just go out and engage in various masochistic exercises while the coaches stood around and cursed. The shower part after the class where we were herded naked into the showers and then given tiny towels that reeked of bleach was humiliating. And so any interest I had in being active (which wasn’t much) was burned into an ashen pile by my adolescent resentment.
I was quite surprised to realize one day, not too long ago, that I was still carrying around that resentment, still avoiding physical activity, and allowing those gym-teaching-bastards to control my life 40 years later. That made me mad enough that I decided to join an athletic club and hire someone who could actually teach me something about physical exercise.
I like to think that this is a healthier way to get revenge and it frequently motivates me to get up early on a cold morning and go walk on the treadmill. And though I’m not quite ready to admit this to myself, I think that I may actually learn to like it. We’ll see.
Meanwhile, the other woman sends me an e-mail, reminding me that I’m meeting her at the club at 6:30 tomorrow morning. Another hot sweaty start to a cold wintry week.