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December 05, 2022

The Health Club Gallery Tour

By Michael Price

... And now, if you would all be so good as to follow along with me, we shall commence with our tour.

Our initial live exhibit more than adequately serves to refresh many fond memories of the countless long and arduous hours of physical exertion we have wearied away in the everlasting pursuit of fitness. We are tired. We have perspired. We are in a bit of a hurry, it would seem. We have become frightfully neglectful of our muscle-fatigued, yet quite fundamental, weight room aesthetics and etiquacies. Observe the sublime slovenliness exhibited by our talented artist, so brilliantly capturing the very essence of mess: dumbbells aclutter; gym bags improperly secured, arbitrarily and obstructively positioned throughout the room; perspiration-sodden newspapers and magazines indiscriminately strewn about; benches not in the least bit re-aligned or tastefully cleansed; a veritable disaster area, if you will -- breathtakingly sloppy. We see the preposterously underpaid yet valiant employee as she, in striking futility, attempts to keep pace with the Titanic shamelessness of total disregard, general disorder, and blatant untidiness of the space. We watch with significant interest as her partner in minimum-wage employ, having sadly been relegated to disinfectant rag patrol -- emotionally overwhelmed, as is surely obvious -- exhibits Herculean effort as the club's foremost proponent and spokesperson for the wonderful yet recurrently under-appreciated faculties of bleach. Positively awe-inspiring, is it not? A truly grotesque and powerfully tragic and historic work, if I may be allowed a spot of personal commentary. Our acclaimed artist has chosen to entitle this classic work, quite possibly his signature accomplishment, "Fitness, Ignorance, and Filth" -- really quite extraordinary, you must surely agree.

Continuing on ...

Here, this luscious and stimulating masterpiece rather poignantly emphasizes the critical significance of the concept of focus in our artist's conception. Appropriately entitled "Lunch-Break Boobs and Buns," this fine work suggests the marvelously apparent disconnect between fitness intent and fitness actuality in the psyche of every anaerobically-aroused, noonerly-motivated, post-pubescent male. Share with me, if you will, the sheer artistry of aerobics. The lustfulness of the lunge. The zeal of the Zumba. I ask you to consider -- strikingly evident in this piece in particular -- the brassieres that are nearly worn; lo, in many cases, the apparent lack of foundation garments altogether. The garish work-out make-up and conspicuously peculiar lack of drippage. The accommodating, albeit imaginary, flashing neon signs o'er beauteous tresses with the many suggestively helpful arrows. Focus, ye of the masculine gland, focus; from whence hast thy manners fled? Ye of gaping eyes and drooping tongue. The frothing of the mouth. The sweating of the pits. The gym shorts problem. A veritable interpretive buffet, this lovely piece, teeming with possibilities, pure elegance in leotards. Focus, gentlemen, focus. An arousing work of art, to be sure.

And now, as we continue...

Uh, sir ... if you would please stay with the group. Sir, this way ... sir? Ah well ... moving on ...

As we approach this next fine exhibit, I find myself curiously proud to present to you several fine young specimens of humanity who are not and evidently never have been entirely familiar with the reflective advantages of a full-length mirror. We watch in wonderment as these marvelous shirt lifters inexorably pose, day after day of spectacular vanity, baring their midriffs in apparent astonishment, blatantly gawking at their profuse lack of abdominal musculature from every possible angle -- and repeat, several times repeat. Notice as these fabulously fat folks feature facets of their reflective fleshiness, admiring and comparing, comparing and admiring, shameless and moronic. Utterly and hormonally irrelevant, a rare and impressive embarrassment to admire for all Age of Unenlightenment enthusiasts. Mountains of testosterone appearing and disappearing, tacitly and not-so-tacitly pleading for an invitation of relevance in glass. We bear witness to great grunting and slamming of iron upon the Earth whence these mirrors become overly sated with clouded masculinity. With great delight, we enthusiastically cringe in ironic sympathy with the pathetically under-weighted wimp of a man, at long last having viewed himself in the mirror, heartrendingly for the first time, down on one knee, sobbing in spasms beneath the drinking fountain. An elderly woman with flabby triceps stares at herself with considerable consternation, then drops in a dead faint. Stunning, really. Quite moving, indeed. Aptly entitled, "Huh? Really?" this piece is, indeed, fitness art at its most triumphant ambiguity.

And we are walking...

Frightfully inspired by our first exhibit, "Fitness, Ignorance, and Filth," this next fine work, "Homo Glandularium," or, as those of us germane to the artistic world are fond of referring to it, "Sweat, Sweet Sweat," introduces a myriad of raw emotions to our artistic sensibilities in addition to raising several intriguing questions as to why we bask in the glow of its captivating, besodden charm. For instance -- and, if I may suggest at this point, you may be best served to take a small step back, thank you -- if you would be so good as to direct your attention to the recently abandoned incline bench, on your immediate left, wildly impressive in its prodigious accumulation of outstanding bodily moisture, certainly. But surely our acclaimed artist is not suggesting that any one human being be capable of excreting such triumphant excesses of salinized drippings in one sitting. Yet we cannot help but notice the veritable pond of perspiration 'neath yon squat rack. The legendary Sea of Stair-Stepper. Loch Leg Curl. And, of course, the always popular Eau de Cybex. Tres impressive, all of it, in its imposing and distinguished dampness. Note the startlingly empty disinfectant dispenser. The easily palpable less-is-more emphasis on available towelature. The cleverly subtle introduction of nose-clips to the piece -- moist impressive ... I beg your pardon -- most impressive. A veritable smorgasbord for the senses, one can scarcely deny. Really quite lovely in its aqueous splendor.

But alas, we must move on. Please watch your step ...

This next rather peculiar piece, I must confess, is a bit of a personal favorite. We watch in awe: the resplendently unkempt and chicken fried Bohemian, unfashionably clad in ill-fitted and multi-frayed black jeans, stained-white T-shirt, recently unpolished brown sandals over calf-length white stretch socks, topped off with the well-worn Holmesian Deerstalker headgear. Watch as he ambles the floor with great deliberation, gait of a lummox, day after day, making his rounds, inciting impressive bouts of anxiety and nervousness, it must be noted. We are rapt beyond stupefaction -- such as if we might enjoy, for instance, a PBS special on the athletic prowess of the three-toed sloth -- as our protagonist attempts to make eye contact with absolutely no one. My, oh my, what savage and loutish beauty. But look quickly! See there? He drinks from the fountain! Absolutely stunning! And he turns and ... he's off again. Step after step. After step. We watch as he pauses long enough to read the headlines at the magazine rack. Catch a sports blurb on the telly. Perhaps have a word with himself. He relentlessly does not one thing from a fitness perspective, and at a brilliantly plodding pace. Magnificent! No weights. No bike. No nothing! And yet, we cannot take our eyes off of him! Spellbinding, indeed. Our gifted artist has chosen to entitle this mesmerizing work, surely his most prodigious accomplishment to date, "Seventy-Five Bucks a Month." Positively hypnotic.

Walking, walking ...

For this next fine work, our venture into the men's locker room comes with a disclamatory warning: many of these images may not be suitable for the faint of gland, irrelevance of gender notwithstanding. Nevertheless, "Testosterarium" is, indeed, a microcosm of marvelously indigenous and, at times, mildly troubling idiosyncratic male behavior. Who of us, it may be asked, hasn't relished the opportunity to simultaneously flex our entire upper torso in a public mirror whilst shaving? To thoroughly enjoy the bare-butted weigh-in? Mostly hit the urinal? We witness the ever popular over-sudsing of the shlong and vicinity. The controversial cell phone photo-ops. Steam room "conversations." The courageous minimum wage employee, as he endeavors to pick up used and discarded towels and remain relatively disease free at the same time; a monstrously brave yet self-effacing juggling act, if there ever was one. And if we listen very closely, we may be able to discern the infinitesimal tittering of the African-American male as the oblivious Caucasian dons his tighty-whiteys. And there it is! A spectacular aural treat, indeed! Immensely exquisite, in its lack of subtlety.

And speaking of treats for the ears...

As we can plainly see, this next rather unique exhibit is completely dark, bathed in an impressive backdrop of blackness. Our distinguished artist has opted to call this piece, "A Symphony in Grunt," but one might suggest he is demonstrating, at the very least, a modicum of false modesty in doing so. Certainly we are, at random intervals, made aurally and ponderously aware of the imposing ursine and leonine efforts of our fine exhibit's alpha males as they over-exert their way to Squat Thrust Nirvana, positively dinosaurian in their collective grandiosity of gruntiture. But, upon closer aural examination, we also are able to ascertain the subtle rejections of the female of the species, armed with Ayn Rand novels, as they indelicately rebuff these same gentlemen's incessant sexual advancements, between sets. Hear the gentle whir of all things aerobic. The highly trained and knowledgeable personal trainer, demonstrating his superior counting skills. The frantic "Help! Help!" of the foolishly unspotted. The boot camp class in the background, screaming to the beat, whimsically pretending to enjoy themselves. Phenomenal. I humbly ask of you, after experiencing the wild sensual ecstasy induced by this piece, does one absomotively require the gift of eyesight to bathe in the rapturous glow of fitness? I think not.

However, as we reach our next beauteous work, we are exhilarated and grateful beyond bliss for the return of our optic capabilities. Of particular note in this enticing aerobics class is the statement of significant fashion, less is more once again a quite lovely and major theme, as these comely young ladies and man perspire emphatically in four-four time, Michael Jackson to Lady Gaga, breasts a-heavin' in leotard heaven. The tomboyishly graceful instructor, creativity personified, making the whole thing up a she goes, barking out breathlessly radical encouragement. We see the diminutive ex-gymnast, front and center, smiling her cute little ass off. And the back row, audaciously struggling to keep pace. The nose prints on the dividing glass. The continuous stream of male drooloid passers-by. Very, very lovely. And once again, notice, if you would: look very closely, nearly undetectable to the naked eye, in the far corner of the room, are two older women, easily in their early to mid-thirties, courageously attempting to keep pace, classically unclad, wearing not a stitch, blending in handily, virtually unnoticed. Such grand subtlety of assimilation! Our acclaimed artist has chosen to entitle this excruciatingly exquisite piece, "Excruciatingly Exquisite Pieces." Gravity be damned, this one's a keeper.

And we're moving, moving...

This next work, if you'll notice, is...what ... what the...? What is this? Wait a minute, how did that guy get in there? Sitting down among the...why...oh my Lord, he's doing a crossword puzzle! In the middle of...and a Sudoku? That is disgusting! Absolutely nauseating! Pee-yew, if I may! Totally unacceptable! I believe I may be coming quite ill. Yuck, surely! SECURITY!!...SECURITY!!...

Article © Michael Price. All rights reserved.
Published on 2013-02-11
Image(s) © Sand Pilarski. All rights reserved.
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