I Went To A Barre Class

This week I went to a barre class for the first time. If you aren’t up to speed with the barre thing, it’s like ballet, but imagine if ballet wasn’t ballet at all and instead it’s a fitness class that costs more than your biweekly grocery budget where you do a lot of things that make you look alien-pretending-to-be-a-human level awkward. Oh and the floor is inexplicably carpeted.

I’ve been hesitating recently when it comes to agreeing to join work crowd extracurriculars. Luckily the last company-sanctioned one was basketball, which I am legitimately terrible at and feel no guilt in skipping. I try to stay for a drink at our weekly happy hour but I’m the only one not drinking and I’m always a little afraid everyone standing around me will realize that I’m not particularly cool now that they’re seeing me not in the middle of giving an above-average presentation.

When I’m talking to a group at work, about work, I go into this zone where I just know what to say. I open my mouth and I’m all jargon and supporting examples and little jokes so I stay relatable. Even the presentations I give on a regular basis that are exactly the same, I’ll always be trying out a new little bit. I am legitimately good at it. But the second I’m in a neutral, non-work-related situation with my coworkers, there are inevitably moments when I forget how to be a social human. I think (I hope) I do a pretty good job of hiding it but inside I’m doing a lot of thinking about if the way I’m holding my arms is weird and how quiet and peaceful it probably is at my apartment right now.

I was at a work dinner this week and the CEO of one of our partners was across the table and someone mentioned mentioned true crime shows and I said, and I quote, “Yeah I like mostly really fucked up TV shows.” Like, what? Even if that’s true (and it was) why on this crazy spinning marble did I vocalize it?

I have stretches in my social life when I actually find myself in the communication sweet spot. I’m really grateful for these. But at the first sign of trouble, my ability to speak English immediately fails. There’s this cute new guy at work and I just haven’t been able to think of anything to say to him. I’ve had like three conversations with him, good ones, but I abandoned them as quickly a possible because my natural instinct is less “fight or flight” and more “quit while you’re ahead.”

So I’m mostly just doing my work like I always do and then just double and triple checking that I don’t have anything in my teeth, which is totally pointless because I would have to be standing within a foot of him for him to notice either way.

A couple of my coworkers asked if I wanted to take a class with them after work, and said yes because I can never turn down a fitness craze. There are only two things that could come from a class where you do upside-down situps and whisper your deepest secrets out loud while a very specific type of instructor walks around “adjusting” you (wait but also about that- they always tell you that if you don’t want to be touched, you can just let them know when they walk over to you, but at that point, it just feels so awkward. Like if she’s already put her hands on whatever the part of your body you just happen to feel is the fattest, doesn’t it feel like it’s too late to ask? And they totally sneak the fuck up on you) ANYWAY the two possible outcomes are 1) you get a great workout or 2) you get an experience you can make fun of forever. And I just can’t choose which one of those I love more.

This one was both. First of all, you wear socks only, no shoes. The fancy women at the front of class have special socks just for the activity because you don’t want to slip (on the carpet?) From across the room I could see the teeny tiny Lululemon logos embroidered on their gunmetal gray, grown-ass-lady socks. I was warned about the sock thing, so I brought a pair of my tried and true running socks, white, with pink details, which I wore, boldly. My affordable, grip-less socks screamed “Yeahhhhh I don’t have enough money to be here”. The lady at the front desk was noticeably less excited to see me once she got a look at the socks. She knew this was most likely a hit it and quit it situation.

Barre classes, I learned, are all about super small, isolated movements that you do a bunch of times. I couldn’t help but think of my Irish ancestors, who were actually starving to death, while I watched my coworker pretending to hump a ballet barre (BARELY a parody of the move we were just instructed to do) all in the name of staying trim. I had a great time, and I couldn’t walk properly for multiple days. I accessed butt muscles I never knew existed. Honestly I never would have thought that I would be 30 years old and still being introduced brand new parts of the body to stress about.

This particular group of women was extremely cool. After the class, we went up to one of their buildings’ roof decks, with this unreal view of the Brooklyn Bridge. One of them, who’s based in Arkansas and travels to be at Eko four days a week, told us about how every week when she comes home from New York she and her fiancé have “closet time.” They put a bunch of pillows and blankets in one of their closets, smoke some weed, and then just hang out with each other in there.

I loved that so much. She talked about how she used to do that as a kid. I definitely did it too when I was a kid but it never occurred to me to try it as an adult. To be fair, I also have never had a closet in New York that I would fit in, but I didn’t even think about how cozy it would still be as a grown up to just pimp out a small space and stare into space for a bit with someone you like.

Honestly maybe I should just invite the new guy to hang out in a closet with me. He’s gonna find out I’m crazy eventually.

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