It’s been awhile since a Faux Pas Friday. No, I haven’t suddenly gained more finesse. I simply haven’t been going out enough to get myself into a fix. But never fear. Spring is near, and increased outings will surely offer me new ways to look the fool.
I’ve been meaning to go to this free exercise class since mid-January (yes, I know it’s now mid-March). You’ve already figured out that I’ll do a lot of things for a good story; have I mentioned the great lengths I’ll go to for just about anything free?
“Gym suedoise.” Swedish gym. Ok, I have no idea what that means, but I decide that Swedes are usually in very good shape, so I will trust them with a fine workout routine. (Remind me to write another post about my former Swedish fetish).
I finally decide, spur of the moment (as I do many things) that tonight is the night.
I am just leaving fictionland, however, so I am not thinking straight. I put on some sweatpants and a tank top under my sweater and prepare to go. This will save me from having to change there, I figure.
Now, this is not yet my faux pas. We’ve already established that I’m ok with leaving the house in sweat pants and that I lounge all day in a bathrobe. I may be one of the only people in Paris with such a style, but I also have a long black coat that looks fancy and in a pinch can hide my weird ensembles.
I get off at Barbès-Rochechouart. Besides being hard to say (though I do know how now!), this metro stop is always loud and seems to have crowds of only men waiting around it. I don’t come here often, but every time I do, I go, oh yeah. It’s like this.
The class is in some gym in the Goutte d’Or, the African district. This is not the picture postcard Paris. I’d like to say colorful, and it is, but I also pass many homeless people, and again, mainly men on the street.
When I walk into the gym, though, a whole bunch of white French women are there. There are about 50 of us – and 3 men (straight guys, take note: if you’re single, could this be heaven?).
Not only are there many French women, but I notice that they are all wearing tennis shoes. Mainly bright, white tennis shoes. French women do not wear tennis shoes. I do, but wouldn’t you know it – I am not now.
No, I am wearing my tall (faux) fur-lined boots. PERFECT for a workout. I do not have another pair of shoes with me.
Can I say something in my defense? I’ve done yoga, pilates, modern dance. All activities done in bare feet. I think exercise, and I don’t picture shoes.
Ok, but there were definitely shoes involved here and I was in trouble. I am thankful for my long pants which cover the fact that I am wearing tall fur-lined boots to a gym class. I am also thankful that my comfy clothes habit extends to my footwear, so I think I actually will be able to move in these without doing myself too much harm.
We start. I have to remember I’m doing aerobics, not dance steps. I follow pretty easily, until I totally don’t. There’s nothing worse than being in step and then suddenly losing your rhythm for no discernable reason. I try to cover by pretending I’m learning choreography. Then I feel even more stupid because I’m looking like I’m trying to dance and really we are just doing side-steps and squats and kicks. Jazz hands down!
The sweat. Oh, there was much sweat. I feel it collecting in my fur-lined boots. How the heck am I going to wash these, I think? My feet are so hot, but I will not embarrass myself further by revealing to the 50 people in the class that I’m wearing fur-lined boots. So I press on.
It is a good workout, with sometimes very silly moves. My favorite was when we started doing the can-can. Were the French offended that the Swedes had co-opted the can-can?
Certain exercises saw me unable to keep up. I am no longer very fit, but I didn’t think I was a wimp. I looked around. I am, apparently. I thought French girls didn’t go to the gym? How are they beating me at this?
No, Sion, don’t be competitive. I am not competitive! I am dripping sweat and doing leg lifts in fur-lined boots. Keep a low profile.
I made it to the end of class and I have to say, it actually felt great, as it usually does when I actually get my butt out of the chair and move.
I go to the dressing room to peel off my tank top which is now soaked through and through. Other women join me. They all change out of their tennis shoes and into nice boots.
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Free “Gym Suedoise” class every Wednesday from 9-10 PM through March 30
Gymnase de la Goutte d’Or
9 passage Boris Vian
M° : Barbès-Rochechouart
Tél. : 01 42 62 52 16
If you love free, too, check out that website, Bon Plan Party.
Happy weekend – dress appropriately!
Have a faux pas to share? The best always receive a shout-out!