Where Life Meets Style: Style me buff

Aaron Leth

.OK! I couldn’t do it. I tried really, really hard. I told everyone about it, and they were all very supportive. But in the end – well, the beginning, that is – I ran. I ran so far away. I took one look at that syllabus and said hells to the no. Weight room? Sit-ups? Wait, what? Yes, ladies and gentleladies, as a tried and proven fashionisto, I tried to take a physical education class.

I won’t say which one, because the teacher was really sweet in her nice little basketball coach-esque pant suit, all ready to make lazy college kids exercise. Let’s just set the real tone, though. It was Wednesday morning, and you know how during the first week of class, people actually attempt to look acceptable Ö you know, setting the standard only to fall off the wagon by spring break? Well, I live for presenting myself the first day of class (surprised?) because let’s face it: People care about people who care about themselves. I say this because I dressed to the nines for the first day of my P.E. class: jeans, loafers, pea coat, bag and sunglasses, everything, complete with Starbucks in my hand.

Then I remembered that going to a P.E. class required going into the recreation center. Through the sea of stair-stepping girls and boys in Nikes and Ö Minnesota sweatpants, I was a sensationally sparkly diamond in the rough, like “see-it-from-space shiny,” you know what I’m saying? And not in a good way, either. Props to you if you’re one of those hotties with a body, but I get better-looking as I put things on, not as I take things off. TMI? Not really, just the truth. Come on: I make a living by telling others what they should be putting on!

It just kept getting better, too, because after the sports-trainer guy at the desk “validated” my U-Card, I had to ask him where this Cooke building was. Apparently the rec center goes on in multiple parts; translation, I got totally lost. And not just “took a wrong corner” lost, but rather “almost on West Bank” lost. It was as if I was so not in my element that I almost became nonhuman. Directions? North? Left? HUH?! And I’m pretty sure at one point someone asked me if I was lost, and I just started speaking in tongues with a British accent, just like Britney does to the paparazzi! My priorities were shamelessly and hopelessly in other places.

Surprisingly, I stayed for the entire class then quietly exited and literally power-walked to a kiosk and dropped the class. Call me a quitter, a fatty or even weak. But I sh-t you not, I spared so many so much by not showing my Ö fitness Ö in that class.

So that’s the backstory, but here’s the real story. I was watching the SAG Awards when I was inspired to tell my tailspin tale because I kept seeing these Slim-Fast commercials. The whole idea is to get you to go to styleyourslim.com and “make the most of your weight, and get the skinny on your style with Slim-Fast” by discovering tips on how to dress any body type.

I really couldn’t agree more with Slim-Fast. Fashion is sorely skewed toward skinny betches, and no matter how hard Tyra tries with that dog-and-pony show of hers to get people to think otherwise, it’s just not going to happen overnight. OK, so Slim-Fast advocates being thinner, but not wire-hanger thin. As I watched the awards, I was reminded about how body type defines your beauty in Hollywood, with the skinnier the better for women and the more muscular the better for men. In the Twin Cities, I realized, less conformity among body types is de rigueur, much in line with the rest of the Midwest.

And thank GOD for that, because I’d be kicked out, as would most of us. Though, for all of you who try tirelessly for the best bod at the rec center, carry on. You lead a dangerous, smelly life I’ll never know. If you ever need to know, however, where to get a hot, sharp workout outfit somewhere other than Gold Country, you can write me. I happen to know a little bit more about retail recreation than actual recreation. But until that day, I’ll be doing my own version of cardio: shopping.

Aaron Leth welcomes comments at [email protected]