An Open Letter To My Gym

I'm sorry, but I thought we were in Zumba to get some exercise, not watch some solo sex choreography.

Lucille Roberts

Dear Lucille Roberts,

Let me please preface this by clarifying: this is a letter for Lucille Roberts the lady gym, not Lucille Roberts the lady. I repeat—this is for the company not the individual. The Internet tells me that Lucille passed away in 2003, which is especially sad because that’s the same year my favorite famous rabbit (Oolong) died. Oolong was best known for being able to balance things on his head and when I found out about him, I knew we were kindred spirits. I never got a chance to meet Oolong, partly because he lived in Japan and partly because I found out about him in 2006. Similarly, I was never able to meet Lucille and shake her hand, but I can imagine 2003 was a difficult year for many, what with the world losing such talent and entrepreneurialness.

Regardless, this is all to say that no, this is not a letter for a woman who is no longer alive, so please do not disregard it. Pass it along to whoever should read it—President? Vice President? CEO? Complaint Reader? I don’t know how your company is structured; just make sure it gets in the right hands, please and thank you.

With that out of the way, I can now get to the reason for my letter: Zumba. We all know that in the world of Lady Gyms (Lucille Roberts, Curves), Zumba is sacred. Women from all walks of life love it: young to old, limber to awkward. I’ve been frequenting your 5th Avenue location for a few months now and as much as a good bout with the elliptical really gets the burn going, Zumba is the highlight of my week. Are you exercising or dancing? The Salsa moves mixed with repetitive aerobics keeps me guessing while today’s hits get me moving.

When Zumba is done well, it is a pleasure. Your regular instructors on Wednesdays and Thursdays are evidence of that. My apologies for not knowing their names—when they speak into those microphones that wrap around their heads, the music is usually already blasting and I can’t really understand what they’re saying. But they’re good! Sure they have different approaches, one sultry the other fun, but both execute their own vibe well. I’ve found myself shaking my hips, not even minding that I’m being forced to perma-grin. This letter is not about them. It’s about a substitute Zumba instructor I had the displeasure of being taught by last week, when the Wednesday regular was out on vacation.

Please note, this is not a letter about substitutes in general; it is about this one substitute in particular. Once again, I’m not entirely sure what her name is (she didn’t even bother to use a mic…), but she was at the 5th Avenue location last Wednesday so I implore you to find her and fire her from Zumba substitute teaching.

I’m serious. This woman is my new arch-nemesis, which is a very serious accusation coming from me. My previous arch-nemesis was a 9 year old who was sassy when I waited on her in a café eleven years ago. My negative feelings last. They’re also totally reasonable and well founded.

I know what you must be thinking by now: how can someone be a bad substitute Zumba instructor? A good substitute Zumba instructor displays a delicate mix of pep, dance prowess, and ability to teach. This woman had too much or too little of each of these. I’ll walk you through it.

She began by being overly peppy—a fake peppy that made me feel like she wasn’t taking my workout regimen or me seriously. She was wearing an armful of plastic bracelets, a tiny tank top, and oversized sweat pants. She had a tribal tramp stamp. She said, “Don’t be scurrrrrred!” Excuse me? This is Zumba class. It is not some cross between a hip-hop dance class and 1995 rave.

091Then she proceeded to feel-up her overly lithe body while working through a series of one-off moves. Hands on her tiny boobies, hands on her butt while she shook it in our faces, hands moving up and down. I’m sorry, but I thought we were in Zumba to get some exercise, not watch some solo sex choreography. Even the most coordinated members of the class were unable to follow. Unacceptable. Additionally, towards the end of the session, we were all privy to her massive amount of booty sweat. At least one of us there got to exert herself.

From my description, it might sound as if I’m somehow envious of her body and sweet moves. This is not the case. Rather, I am angry at having been forced to watch how animated it could all be, face to toes.

So, in conclusion, she was 1) overly peppy, 2) too dancey, and 3) not teaching. I don’t think you can argue with such a focused, well-organized argument.

I don’t want to rob anyone of her livelihood. I’m not here out of petty spite or to cause drama. However, one expects a certain level of professionalism and a certain amount of calories to be burned when they enter the fine establishment of Lucille Roberts. With this substitute loose in the system, such things cannot be guaranteed. It’s as simple as that.

Furthermore, if I happen to encounter her again, if you do not fire her as I’ve requested, then I reserve the right to attend her classes with a visible amount of contempt. I’ll give her dirty looks and make side comments to my acquaintances on the floor. That’s a fair enough trade.


                        Sara Percy Roan

P.S. Rest in peace Lucille and Oolong.