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Oh Captain, my Captain!

I am in the process of converting my exercise phases into permanent lifestyle choices.  Over the years, I have maintained a seasonal commitment to fitness.  During the summer and fall I workout with the enthusiasm of a newly trained Jazzercise instructor.

“I feel great!  Working out is like an endless sleepover!  It’s just the absolute best!!!”

But once the temperature plummets and the days become about as long as a staring contest between two people with ADHD, I crawl onto my couch and cocoon myself with layers of blankets, pie and cheese.  This has been my seasonal pattern for the past several years.  I wanted to start fresh this summer and see if I could enter into a more lasting relationship with my gym.  A deeper relationship.  I just didn’t realize how far it would go…

I don’t think I’m alone in being preoccupied with my belly.  Ever since I saw Janet Jackson’s pathologically rock hard abs as a pimply adolescent on MTV, I thought, “Man, that’s gonna be hard to get.”  And it is.  I would have to be living and working exclusively within the Rhythm Nation in order to achieve her monolithic posterior.  Nonetheless, when I started researching workout routines online, I devoured anything with the words: FLAT STOMACH.

I’ve been lead to believe through schooling, self-help and the Secret that life is about setting goals and working hard to achieve them.  Was it too late for me to become Janet Jackson?  No!  According to the Secret, it’s never too late.  After a quick chat with the Universe, I decided that through my deeply committed relationship with the gym, I, in fact, could obtain physical wonders known only to plastic surgeons and cheetahs.

When I googled “Best workout for abs,” the Captain’s Chair was mentioned frequently.  It’s a gym contraption where you suspend yourself in a seated position and hoist your knees up towards your chest.  Not only is it one of the best known workouts for the tummy, my gym had one!  The Universe was listening…

My first few sessions with the Capt’n were pleasant enough.  We were testing the waters, getting used to one another on a personal level.  It was after about my fourth date that things began to change.  I was on my third set of reps when a feeling came over me.  It was like I was on a roller coaster — a rickety one made of wood — and I was climbing up slowly to the crest of the hill.  I closed my eyes, plunged down the tracks and squeezed the handle bars tightly.  A cross between a yelp and a groan escaped from my mouth.  A gelp, if you will.   My eyes opened as I heaved for air.  Did anyone just see that?

I had an orgasm at the gym.

I waited a few days before I told Peter.  He thought it was hilarious.  I felt awkward.   The following morning we went to the gym together.  Assuming it was a one-time fluke — a perfect storm of hormones, friction and whimsy — I mounted the Capt’n and began my workout.   It wasn’t a fluke.  It happened again and again and again…

My gym orgasms were so frequent that I knew exactly when they would come.

Set three, rep 21

I learned to contain my passion to a subtle whisper, managing to hide my shameful public extravagance from the trainers and lifters circulating near by.  At first I thought it may have been the type of pants I was wearing, so I switched to another pair.  But the climaxes continued full throttle.  It got to a point where Peter would inquire, even-toned, after a workout, “Did you have an orgasm?”

I would reply, “Yup,” and he would nod agreeably as it had become the new standard for a good workout.  Eventually he stopped asking.  The mystery was gone.

One day, I decided I’d had enough.  I looked at the Captain’s Chair, standing quietly in the corner and thought, “I can’t do this anymore.”  I went next door to the crunch machine and have stayed there ever since.  Incorporating orgasms into my gym routine was not the level of commitment I had intended when I decided to become more dedicated to fitness.

We all do crazy things when it comes to body image.  And how can we not?  The magazine and television mega monster of shame has a gun pointed to our heads, ready to pull the trigger, if we don’t shape up.  While the idea of having a flat stomach is fancy fun, I’m not willing to publicly masturbate at the gym to get it.  And honestly, a flat stomach really is just an idea.  I’m a regular woman leading an average life.  My stomach just doesn’t need to be that strong.  It’s not like I wrestle pit bulls and climb mountains everyday or ever.

I’ve been known to set goals that are a little too lofty.  For example, instead of LEARN BASIC CONVERSATIONAL RUSSIAN I decide to BECOME FLUENT IN RUSSIAN AND PERFORM CHEKHOV IN MOSCOW.

Peter doesn’t need to be married to GI Jane and I don’t need to pretend that I have to get in shape for anything other than feeling a-okay about myself.  Now, if Peter decides to surprise me with a Captain’s Chair for the home, well then, maybe I will get that flat stomach after all.

-Cathleen Carr

13 Responsesto “Oh Captain, my Captain!”

  1. robyn okrant says:

    WHAT?! I’m crazy with jealousy. I use the Captain’s Chair all the time and I a) do not have flat abs and b) do not experience the big O when I hike my legs in the air. I feel robbed and demand that the cost of my gym membership back.

    By the by, I have also experienced a inadvertent public O when seated over the back wheel of a CTA bus. That’s right — I cheated with Jim on public transit…WITH public transit.

    • cathleen carr says:

      Ha! I would’ve loved to have seen that episode on the bus… Yeah, it’s totally weird. I can’t use it anymore without having an orgasm. I guess I’m one of the chosen ones.

  2. ellenpie says:

    Ditto Robyn, my gym has those. Apparently I’ll have to hone my technique, because thus far they are the Sans O variety. Maybe I should approach one of the hot trainers and say “Uhm, I’ve got this friend who does advanced crunches on this machine… could you show me how that works???” Wink!

  3. Matt says:

    I’m refraining mightily from commenting on the much more interesting part of this article to say the following: while there’s nothing wrong with strengthening your midsection, in order to achieve ~*visible abs*~ you need quite a low body-fat %. In other words, you could have ab muscles of solid granite that would stop a bullet, but if your tummy has fat on it, no one will be able to tell. (As a matter of fact, larger, toned ab muscles can push the fat layer outward, ironically giving you a more protuberant pooch). It’s as simple as that, really, and why I find so much of that six-pack hogwash to be very disingenuous.

    Actually, I will say one thing. Reminds me of that joke:

    “Doctor, every time I sneeze, I have an orgasm.”
    “Really? Are you taking anything for it?”
    “Sure– chalk dust, snuff, black pepper…”

    • cathleen carr says:

      That’s what I worry about Matt- That I’m just going to be adding muscle under my very special lady fat. Love your joke…

  4. Jessica says:

    Words don’t describe the number of wrongs in this post… hilarious. Do you think that Peter was a little jealous of the Cappy? Just a little?

    • cathleen carr says:

      Peter is confident in his masculinity as well as his humanity. He knows that a modified chair can’t truly be responsive to my needs.

  5. fd says:

    am laughing in a loud undignified way at the office! now i know my fear of the captain’s chair was justified – but am slightly more tempted to give it a go.

  6. Marianne says:

    I wonder how many women are going to the gym tonight asking “um, do you have the Captain’s Chair?”

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