How to step up when called upon for advice by someone you admire.
My friend Moss frequents the Equinox in SoHo, and I recently decided to join him there for some good old fashioned workouts. Now, I should tell you — I’m morally opposed to these temples of narcissism on the grounds that almost anything you can do inside of one can be done outside of one for free. Having said that, I’m also slightly allergic to exercise, so the “outside and free” option doesn’t help me out much anyway.
Anyway, in case you didn’t know, everyone inside Equinox is in incredible shape and you can’t turn a corner without catching a glimpse of a perfectly-shaped pair of buttocks. The walls are a calming white color and the smell of sweat is carefully extinguished by a smell that I can only assume is the olfactory equivalent of finding a crumpled up twenty in your jeans. Their locker rooms are pristine with endless reserves of hair gel, lotion, conditioner, and good vibes on tap.
The clientele is impossibly attractive and probably made of robot parts, which was half the reason I agreed to accompany Moss on our so-called workout dates. The other half was much simpler: his membership included 12 free guest passes, and I’m a guy who likes good deals. So just like that, my Equinox experiment was up and running.
Now, I wouldn’t say I’m afraid of the male figure, but I’m at least a bit apprehensive to be near one that’s clearly better than mine. Because of that, I was always nervous to be near Moss’ toned upper body — a torso that made mine feel like a bathtub full of pizza dough covered in coarse black hair. Probably a result of my exercise allergy…but I’m no physician.
Regardless, I was always blown away by the amount of weight that man could bench. I wondered what he thought about when he held all that weight above his head — probably pretending I was trapped underneath a car and he was lifting it up to save my life.
“Hey man, how’d you get in such good shape,” I asked Moss one day, hoping he’d dispense some words of wisdom as to how I could achieve a similar body with little-to-no effort. Maybe, like, a secret Burger King menu that burns fat — burns it dead! Unfortunately, his answers were just what I expected them to be: long workouts, healthy eating, and self-loathing paired with tight-fitting clothes to showcase problem areas. Well, at least I tried.
Then one day, as we enjoyed a post-workout sauna — which is far and away the best thing that Equinox has to offer, even if it includes being in a room filled with sweaty old men — he turned to me and asked me something.
“How do you get your beard so perfect?” I was taken aback. Had I not been in a room filled with hot air and evaporated sweat, I surely would have gasped. I paused a minute to relish the question. The guy who I had watched bench the equivalent of two fully grown Golden Retrievers was actually asking me for bodily advice. So, I told him my secret: hot water, good shave cream, a fine razor, and — of course — a dash of self-loathing.
After our sauna session, we went to the locker room and lathered our faces up. I showed him how to avoid razor burn and gave him tips on how to landscape the face using the same care and intimacy you’d give to a newborn baby learning how to shave his beard for the first time.
When it came to shaving, I felt comfortable with Moss, gliding the razor around my neck and watching him do the same like a son who happened to be several years older than his father. Someone I looked up to was now looking up to me. What a feeling.
When the guest passes ran out, Moss and I went our separate ways and I think we became better people — or, at least, better at managing our bodies. It was really cool of the guy to let me teach him something, especially after days of watching him lift massive amounts of weight effortlessly above his head. I don’t feel like I’m good at a lot of things, but I know how to shave and I guess that’s something I can pass along to my friends.