20 June 2006

Real Men Eat Quiche ... and Do Pilates!
[Don't worry, I tie this into puppetry at the end.]

I never understood why "real men don't eat quiche". Quiche is egg, meat and cheese. It's like a baked omelette, and most guys I know do eat omelettes. I guess since "quiche" is French, it naturally has a patina of girlishness. And "omelette" originated where exactly? The Isle of Man? We'll drop this line of inquiry for now, and move on to the main course:


I was attracted to Pilates, not because Danny Glover said it changed his life, but because I am lazy. Very lazy. My idea of cardio is to sit around naked in a sauna for half an hour (which, by the way, is very effective cardio. No joke.) Joe Pilates developed his workout program for invalids in a military hospital. His first students were bed-ridden. Any workout routine that can be done from bed has my immediate vote of confidence. Wink-wink, nudge-nudge, say-no-more.

So I tagged along with Pamela to her Pilates class at Soma in West Hollywood. (Yes, I took a Pilates class in West Hollywood. I'm comfortable enough in my own manhood to admit that.) The instructor, Talia, is a dynamite Aussie who really knows her stuff. She's not the namby-pamby, frou-frou type, but neither is she a harsh, militaristic drill-master. She's unrelenting, but absolutely concerned about the well-being of her charge. I appreciate those who can simply give directions and corrections without it becoming an ego-trip or a constant stream of apologies. Talia's great!

Anywho, Pilates kicked my ass. Believe me, this is not merely "stretches for dancers". This is hard core, gut-check stuff! And for us guys, it's good. The drum Joe Pilates banged all his life was the importance of strengthening the "power house", the abdomen and lower back. Think about how many old guys you know who are slightly stooped and constantly complaining about lower back pain. Pilates is supposed to prevent that.

When I first started looking into Pilates, it occurred to me that this was a perfect form of exercise for puppeteers. Puppetry involves body contortions and strain on the "power house". Even if you're so lucky as to have a "built up" set, you still have to stick your arms way up over your head for unbearable lengths of time, bending at the waist just enough to keep your bowed head out of frame. I don't do marionettes (as episode 3 of Disembodied Animal Head Theatre demonstrates) but I imagine leaning over the rail to manipulate the puppet takes quite a toll on the lower back.

Anyway, Pilates is pretty cool and it's worth looking into.

(By the way, so is quiche!)

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