Thursday, September 25, 2014

My One Night Stand With A Personal Trainer

By Mahlia Lindquist

Talk about traumatic. I just experienced my first one night stand, and am scarred for life. 

I met my husband at 18 and had never been the type to stray. Turns out he was. Hovering around the grief at the time, however, was curiosity about one night stands.

Almost everyone I know has had one. They had never been my thing, but I figured there must be something to recommend them considering their popularity. When I divorced I was determined to experiment.

My  first attempt was a bust. I met what I intended to be my first anonymous liaison on a flight to San Francisco. However, my intended became a boyfriend I had to ditch when, shortly after meeting, he started making plans for us to live together. ...  In retrospect, I wonder if he was lesbian.

Though I have no judgment about one night stands (unless one of the parties is married to a charming and, admittedly, often sarcastic woman with 2 small girls,) I quickly decided I don’t have the stomach or aptitude for it.

The one thing I thought I did have an aptitude for was staying in shape. Over the years I exercised consistently and was game for all of the crazy fitness trends. Heck, I even wore the thong leotards with shiny pink spandex tights in style around 1990 (or was that just Miami?) Anyway, the point is, exercise was one of my few core competencies and the only thing I have done with any consistency or discipline. 

My current gym, offers “free” private training sessions, which I usually politely decline because, hey, I know what I’m doing. Plus, free means feeling obligated to hire the trainer afterward.

In a weak moment, I said yes to one of the friendlier, persistent and handsome trainers, Alberto. I warned him, “I am absolutely, definitely, no way, no how, ever going to pay for personal training.” I didn’t want to lead him on and hated to waste his time. He promised, "free means free, no pressure, no guilt."

To be sure I made my point, I suggested he think of our session as a one night stand. There would be no expectations, no relationship and no exchange of money for services. Alberto agreed. No strings attached. No way, no how. He wasn't even thinking about it.

The "complimentary" session started with Alberto using plastic pliers to grab fat on my arms, hips and stomach, which he explained was to determine my body mass index and fat to muscle ratio. After weighing me, he busily made several calculations. The process seemed impressively scientific.

Alberto explained the four categories of fitness.  I confidently assumed I’d be in the top super-fit level for my age and Alberto would see why he and I had no future. 

Finally, the verdict was in.

What? I was not the middle-aged physical fitness maven I imagined myself to be. In fact, I was at the bottom level, unhealthy, not fit, repulsive. 

Alberto circled around, observing and taking notes, as he had me do a few squats and planks. “Yep, just as I thought,” he said. “You have weak glutes.” I was confused.  “Glutes? Do you mean there’s something wrong with my ass?”  Then I experienced a momentary glimmer of appreciation for the Brazilian Butt Lift I so unkindly mocked in my last blog post.

Alberto also used words like deficient, unstable, off balance, asymmetric, interior, anterior and various other legit sounding anatomy terms. While I didn’t understand the specifics, the gist of it was this: the fact I work out on my own daily actually made me less fit than if I sat on the couch eating chips all day.  

The gist of it was, I needed Alberto. For ever and ever, starting immediately. Yep, there was no arguing with science. 

Sadly, I was not meant to experience the pleasure or depravity of a one night stand.  

The silver lining was that Alberto was running a special personal training package for just $279.99, good for one day only. Such a deal. 

"Darn," I told him, "my wallet is at home and I have to hustle off to a meeting. “No problem,” Alberto assured me. "You can pay later. Just give me a call."

“Yes, definitely,” I told him.  “I will call later. I promise.” 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Miami, My Crazy B*tch

By Mahlia Lindquist

Carlos, a trainer at the gym, recently remarked that living in Miami is hell. His fantasy is to live in Colorado and he asked why on earth I moved from Boulder back to Hades. I get that question a lot. Boulder friends who have never been to Miami are mildly curious, while most Miamians are, like Carlos, incredulous. 

“Are you crazy” they ask? I didn’t think so, but then I have never been able to explain my attraction to Miami. As it turns out, I am a bit crazy, which I discovered while researching for my post on the Hot/Crazy Matrix. The epiphany that I am actually crazy helped me to understand why, for me, Miami is like the Hotel California -- I can check out but I can never leave.

It’s like this…

If Boulder was a woman, it would be beautiful, wholesome, reliable, cheerful, organized, great with kids and a gourmet cook. The sort of city you feel proud to take home to mom.

As a woman, Miami would be an ignorant slut who leaves people wondering, “are those real?” Miami has a nasty temper and won’t think twice about taking a key to your car. If Miami had kids, they would be in foster care. If your son came home with Miami, you would change the locks and disinherit him. If Miami was a woman, my ex-husband would move her in and later have to obtain a restraining order and hire a mover to get her out.  

In terms of the hot/crazy matrix, Boulder is a unicorn or maybe even a transexual while Miami is a 10 crazy. While I love and respect Boulder, I spend an inordinate amount of time hating on Miami. That I left Boulder for Miami can mean only one thing: When it comes to cities, I am irresistibly drawn to crazy bitches. 

Admittedly, whether we are talking people or cities, having an affinity for crazy bitches is messed up. Yet, I can’t deny that when it comes to places I am drawn to the off-kilter. It would take too many years of therapy to get to the root of why I get the chills at the thought of suburbia. Or why I have chosen to reside in the Twilight Zone that is Miami. 

Instead of overanalyzing, I have simply accepted that I live in a city that exists in an alternate dimension and that, inexplicably, I like in a sordid, sick sort of way. 

Take butts for example. The female buttocks situation in Miami is different than anywhere else. In the rest of the US, big asses are generally considered to be inferior to ones that are more compact, the famous song “Baby Got Back”  and J.Lo notwithstanding.  This is why over my lifetime, in order to keep the size of my rear end in check, I have tortured myself with thousands of squats and lunges. 

In Miami, bigger is better when it comes to cars, houses, jewelry, hair, boobs and now butts. Boob jobs are a Miami staple, and even post-menopausal women proudly display theirs in outfits that would make a Victoria Secret model blush. However, surgically enhanced breasts are passé compared to Brazilian Butt Lifts. 

The lift procedure rounds and enlarges the butt, so that it juts out like a window ledge. I learned about the Brazilian Butt Lift recently while viewing the local wildlife at the Fontainebleau pool on Miami Beach. I commented to my friend Jackie that a lot of the women around the pool looked like the Jessica Rabbit character in Who Framed Roger Rabbit. She explained that’s what happens with the boob/butt plastic surgery combo. 

I was simultaneously shocked, horrified and fascinated. Just to make sure I fully understood, I clarified, “do you mean they made their butts like that on purpose?” Jackie assured me that, yes, women actually pay a doctor to enlarge and enhance their butts, which is accomplished by liposuctioning unwanted fat from one body part and injecting it into the rear end.

I reflected on what getting a butt lift means. It means going to a doctor and actually asking for a bigger butt. It means researching the best butt doctors, making an appointment, driving there, getting naked in front of someone who injects fat into asses for a living, measurements, perusing before and after photos of other butts and then finally deciding, “That one. That’s the rear end I want.” 


The other bizarre part is men who choose to be with butt enhanced women. They seem proud. I saw a guy at the Fontainebleau encouraging his girl to pose for photos. She struck various poses in and out of the pool, all of them akin to cheesecake shots that grace the pages of men's magazines. After they finished taking photos, the couple spent the rest of the afternoon by the pool sucking face and gazing lovingly into each other’s eyes. 

I saw the same scene play out at a bar last week. A woman in a tight red dress, tits and ass protruding, lifted her butt up off the barstool and looked back over her shoulder demurely as her boyfriend took photos of her ass from various angles. They cozied up to review the results afterward, perhaps debating which ones to put on Instagram and which ones to use for their Christmas cards. 

Neither of the couples were self conscious. Dozens of people milled around the pool and in the bar, and the couples posed just as casually as sneaker clad tourists in front of the Eiffel Tower.  While I was agog, no one else seemed to even notice. 

So, what do brazilian butt lifts have to do with an irrational attraction to Miami?

The ass-enhanced women at the Fontainebleau and bar are nothing like me. 

The same goes for the cross dresser who loiters on “crack corner” near my house. Nor do I have much in common with the WASPy members of the nearby yacht club where my friend Mary occasionally invites me to lunch. Ditto for the many latino parents at Zoe’s school who speak broken English, and whose teenaged children drive Mercedes and wear Tiffany jewelry. 

They are all foreign to me. I can’t fathom what they talk about, or what type of movies and books they might enjoy. We are unlikely to ever be close friends, but for some reason I like that they are part of my community.

I also like to complain about them (and the withering humidity, mind-numbing traffic, homicidal mosquitos, lack of recycling, lack of civility, and political corruption.) Every day, to whomever will listen. 

I have never seen anyone like the women with the surgically enhanced butts in Boulder. Nor have I seen anyone like the cross dresser, prim yacht club WASPS or conspicuously rich latinos. I have a good idea what the people in Boulder are reading, watching, and doing for fun. And I like that too.

Even though I also complained in Boulder (about the homogenous population, political correctness, tameness, brittle weather and restaurants that close at 9.) Every day, to whomever would listen. 

I get a lot of satisfaction from being outraged, scandalized and amazed, and Miami provides that in spades.  Only one thing compares to the pleasure of living in a bizarre alternate universe. That’s living among healthy, happy people with shared values in a beautiful place.

After spending a month in Boulder this summer after a year in Miami, I felt the remorse of a guy who has gone on an extended midlife manic bender, and discovers that he has abandoned his wife and kids for Jessica Rabbit. 

Fortunately, unlike a wronged wife, Boulder will take me back when I'm ready. And, if worse comes to worse and I can't stay away from my crazy bitch, when it comes to cities, polygamy is perfectly legal.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Hot and Crazy, It's In Our DNA

By Mahlia Lindquist

The ideal female is "smokin' hot" and only a little deranged. 

That's what I learned from the wildly popular Hot Crazy Matrix YouTube video.

In the video, “the Expert” instructs men how to select a woman. He uses a graph with one axis for “hot” and the other for “crazy.” The hot axis is scaled 1-10 and the crazy axis ranges 4-10 because women less than a 4 crazy simply don’t exist. 

Women, on the other hand, rate men based on looks and money. If rich enough, a woman will go for a guy regardless of any shortcomings. Yes, ladies, that means we are all prostitutes whose services, for the right price, can be bought.  

As an aside, given that he is a self-satisfied, squat little troll, hopefully he has a lot of money. That dude is not getting any action for free without a fight. 

Is the video sexist? Definitely. 

Offensive? Most certainly.
It is obviously meant as a joke, but is it funny? Oh yeah.

Of course, I am a less than evolved barometer of humor. I’ve already admitted in a previous post to laughing the day our dog was almost eaten. Dumb blonde jokes crack me up. I chuckle just thinking about the scene in RV, where the dad gets sprayed with poop, and nothing cheers me up like the tampon-in-the nose scene from She’s the Man

If a guy doesn't think A Christmas Story and Zoolander are hysterical, sex is out of the question and probably even friendship.  

Yes, I have the sensibility of an average 14 year old boy. 

Humor is often used as a cloak to express socially inappropriate and hateful beliefs. We all know someone who denies being a loathsome racist because, hey, that one about the nigger and the jew was just a joke, come on, lighten up. 

Is the hot/crazy video in that category of ugly humor? 

I don’t think racist jokes are amusing, and have been accused of sanctimony for not seeing the humor in another Pollack remark. Yet, I can’t help but laugh at the Hot/Crazy Matrix, which seems to demean and objectify women. As a woman and mother of two girls I must be crazy for not being outraged.

But then again, humor is also often used to state uncomfortable universal truths. Maybe I am not seething with righteous indignation because I unconsciously suspect the Expert is right. Perhaps something about XX chromosomes really do make women act nutty. 

If so, does that mean men are genetically predisposed to be attracted to crazy? Have unhinged females, somewhere in the process of natural selection, helped insure the survival of the species? Do males flock to crazy chicks in the same way some claim to be evolutionarily programmed to spread their seed?

If yes, that explains a lot.

Although I may have a stunted sense of humor, I’ve never considered myself crazy. As the voice of reason, I thought basic sanity to be one of my more appealing qualities. However, if nature dictates that men are actually only attracted to women with a certain threshold of luny, that means I do not fall anywhere on the hot/crazy matrix. It means I am a genetic freak. Oy!!

All this thinking about crazy was making me crazy, I needed an expert opinion, pronto. 

John is an old friend and long-time single guy with a history of dating crazed women. Definitely an authority. Wanting an honest answer, I waited to ask him one night after he had a couple of cocktails.

 “Is it true, are men turned on by crazy women?” I asked.  John hesitated, as if deciding whether to divulge a trade secret. It took awhile, but he eventually came out with it, “well, um, yeah, sure, crazy is sort of sexy.”

The revelation was sobering, and yet a relief. 

This explained a lot, such as my ex-husband’s preference for certifiably insane women. I had always thought he was the unbalanced one. But no, it was me. I was the one lacking. Of course, I was missing the crazy gene!  

The Expert teaches that any guy who thinks he’s dating a woman who is hot and not crazy must actually be dating a “trannie.” Oh, the horror. As a 100% sane female, I was in the same category as transexuals, except for the hot part. Nothing against transexuals, but for a woman, this is not good news.

As I sat with John and considered my newly discovered defect, I could tell he was considering whether to say more. I waited, too distraught about being sane to talk anyway.  

Finally, with all due sincerity, John quietly said, “Mahlia … if it makes you feel any better, you are definitely a 4 crazy, maybe even higher.

“Phew." I smiled.  "I feel better already”.

P.S.  My description of the Expert was unkind. Of course, my comments about him being troll-like and all were meant in good fun, just like his video. In fact, I'm sure that deep down he is a nice person. If he's not rich, I wish him the best of luck in finding a smokin' hot crazy woman who is missing the superficial, greedy, user gene that the rest of us girls have.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Deep Thoughts

By Mahlia Lindquist

If thoughts were countries, on the average day mine would range from bland Canadian to ugly American to psychotic North Korean. One of my ongoing projects is to create a United Nations of the mind, where thoughts peacefully coexist, so that I might extend my attention span beyond 5 minutes. 

It started with meditation classes at Boulder’s Shambhala Center. The word Shambhala sounds weird, but compared to traditions that include a virgin birth, parting of the sea or sacred underwear, it is positively mundane. From what I know about the Bible, Koran and Torah they are confusing and kind of scary. Ruling Your World, and the other Shambhala texts, take a more simplified, practical, and positive approach to spirituality. I especially appreciate that the Shambhala teachings don’t have anything against homosexuals, dancing, caffeine, sex or alcohol, all of which have an important place in my life.

The one sticking point for me is the Shambhala tenet that we all have basic goodness. It’s hard to imagine people like Hitler, Stalin, or Glenn Beck as having even a modicum of good. While I still don't totally get basic goodness, a group that believes humans are fundamentally okay is infinitely preferable to one that preaches we are inherently sinful. 

What really sold me on Shambhala is its emphasis on mindfulness, which they say will help rein in my thoughts and cultivate a gentler attitude toward shameless cretins who finagle a handicapped permit even though they are perfectly healthy. While I welcome the opportunity to a be a nicer person, that is a secondary benefit to being able to focus long enough to balance my checkbook.

One way to cultivate mindfulness is through meditation, which is usually done by sitting and focusing on the breath. This is surprisingly difficult because of the members of the United Nations vying for attention. Another way to cultivate mindfulness is to go about the day, observing and taking note of thoughts without trying to judge, censor or control them.

On the way to my friend Kathleen’s wedding in Boulder last week, I decided to give it a go.  I would simply observe each thought from the time that I got out of the car until I got back in. 

When subject to close scrutiny, it turns out my my thoughts are an incoherent, running commentary that to the untrained ear might sound like, “blah, blah, blah.” They went something like this…

As I got out of the car: 

Is the taboo against guests wearing white to a wedding still a thing?… Maybe this dress was a bad idea … come on Mahlia, don’t be so shallow, think serious thoughts, the miracle of life, global warming … Geez, my hands looks awful, why didn’t I get a manicure, it’s not like I don’t have the time for heaven’s sake… Mahlia, you really need to get a job… It’s so beautiful here, I must have been temporally insane when I moved to Miami …

That was within the first 2.3 seconds. It was going to be a long, tedious night at this rate.

As I walked into the party:  

"This is awkward, I don’t see anyone I know… maybe I will feel less anxious if I plow myself with alcohol  … Oh, there’s Jill thank goodness, a friend… wow, Kathleen looks so beautiful and radiant (hallelujah, finally a worthy thought) … this sure is different from Miami, I don’t see anyone dressed like a hootchie mama… ”

Sitting down to dinner:

Geez, another uncomfortable moment, not a single name I recognize at my table  … I should text Zoe and remind her to play her cello … at least the guy sitting to my right is good looking, though that does not bode well for dazzling conversation… maybe I should have brought someone ... hey, he's actually charming and funny … darn, good manners dictate I also chat with the person to my left…. argh, is it possible to die of boredom in ten minutes or less?… Mahlia, be nice and grow up …  

Walking back to my car alone, it was much easier to notice thoughts:  

Kathleen and Craig are such a beautiful couple… I should NOT have told that woman her claim to be awful with names is an excuse for disinterest … if she just hadn’t said was too busy concentrating on a person’s energy to remember names I could have resisted … why, oh why, did I over-share with the charming man at my table, it really was unnecessary, not to mention unattractive, to admit to my habit of skipping showers …

In thinking about my thoughts at the wedding that night, I got sort of depressed. They were so trite and superficial. Worse yet, boring. So boring in fact, they could be used in place of water-boarding to torture enemies of the state. Even more boring than the guy to the left at dinner who inspired thoughts of suicide. 

Oh yes, did I mention, many of my thoughts were unkind?

The good news is that in the world according to Shambhala, good, bad or boring, I am not my thoughts. 

The  other good news is that I was able to balance my checkbook yesterday.