Zumba By A 23 Year Old Male

This is an account of one of the most harrowing experiences of my life so far. No, it wasn’t a near death experience nor was I a victim of a merciless crime. In fact I went to a Monday night Zumba class.

Now I know you are thinking how bad can it be? Well when you are a 23 year old male it is simply terrifying. I entered the room with an open mind, its only an exercise class right? Wrong, it was a hang-out from middle aged women that, for the most part, were mildly overweight.

I sat at the side of the room waiting for the class to start, my arms folded tight around my torso, my body language almost unrecognizable from my normal outgoing self. I was cold and the blanket of insecurity that was cast over me when I entered the room was not warming me up.

L18ZUMBA -- FOR ARTS & LIFE -- FOUR OF FIVE  Zumba instructor Christel Turner, center, of Solon, leads a class at the Jewish Community Center Monday, 15 October, 2007, in Beachwood, Ohio, USA. Photo by Tim Harrison/Special to The Plain Dealer

Some sort of remixed salsa entered my ears, my god it was awful. Then a shriek, from a toned but already slightly sweaty instructor, who was unnecessarily bounding about a stage above the class. This shriek was like a call to action for the hoards of middle aged women to assemble. Then it all started.

At the beginning the dancing wasn’t so bad, bordering on enjoyable considering I can’t dance for shit. There was a short period of time in that first song where I lost myself in the rhythms, I was in a place of tranquility, I felt at one with my body. This state quickly dispersed when I realized what was happening in front of me. 30-40 middle aged women, nailing these dance routines in perfect time with each other. I couldn’t keep up, song after song, I was being made a fool.

I had no clue, I was out of time and out of my depth, these ladies were pros. I spent most of the songs staring at the clock and jiggling my hips in an attempt to make it look like I was trying. I never realized how long an hour actually is, until being stuck in that room.

Towards the end a slight musk of old lady sweat reached my nostrils and made me nauseous as well as insecure. Now I was worrying about more than just my moves, I was worrying about throwing up all over my self as well. This conjured up memories of the time I pissed myself in a sports hall when I was in first school, a moment of my life that scared me. Thankfully before I had the chance to cover myself in vomit it was time for a cool down.

This gave me time to reflect on the last hour, as I led on my mat. I had been made to look ridiculous, to feel self conscious and battle the urge to chuck-up, all to the point where I had been reflecting on embarrassing and damaging memories of my early life. All in all Zumba is a bloody roller coaster of raw emotion, that in my opinion should never be attempted by any male under the age of 25.

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