Let's get physical, by all means, but do we have to get utterly mental as well?
It's usually a fairly small class, never more than about 8 or 10 people. The music is unbelievably horrendous. I am always enraged by Ashlee Simpson's "La La" so it's nice to be able to smack something hard when you hear it. Even more effectively, the version of Soft Cell's "Tainted Love" found on special exercise record "Exhilarate 14" is such a mindscrewingly brutal crime to commit against that genius song that having the means to immediately express your pain feels like you've been blessed.
Most of the time you have to work with a partner. This part is the real problem. You see, I am all for encouraging exhortations from the instructor.* But not from the other grunt pounding away on the focus mitts. I love people, and want to know them and know all about them. But I need a great deal of time unmolested in my own head, and I think I should be able to get some of my meagre ration of that in my boxing class wearing my bad shorts and a sweaty red face.
Shucks, no! It's my sister.
Today's partner was a woman called Scarah. She's a freakin' maniac. She had the most beautiful complexion you've ever seen, but you can ignore that because it's one of nature's cruel tricks to make you think that being an endolphin junky is a good idea.
I don't have a big issue with people telling me I've got 20 crosses or head hooks or whatever to go, or that I'm nearly finished, or that I am generally fantastic, but Hewitt-esque exhortations are just not necessary. Ever. Ask Flute. "C'mon Zoe! Go hard! Suck in your tummy and just go for it!" Oh, fuck off, Scarah. Fuck off and die of boxing yourself to death. 'specially if you can't remember the frickin' combinations. (left jab, right cross, left head hook, right uppercut, left uppercut, left jab, jump back, right cross, left jab, duck, right cross. run like buggery to another part of the room. easy.)
There's also a fantastic blonde crazy woman whose name I don't know. She always wears a tight red singlet and red shorts, and I am convinced she does so in the belief it will make her go faster. Whenever it gets really hard, she starts to whoop with pleasure. Really truly whoop. I thought this was an amusing idiosyncrasy, until I realised the reason she skipped the stretches at the end was to go and get on the treadmill for another coupla hours, ie she is another endolphin junky.
Astrology woman I boxed with once, and I really enjoyed the first part. She was a spunky cute Greek girl, shortish with beautiful long curly hair. And she had some technique, which lots of people at random lunchtime cardio boxing classes - and in particular girls - don't. Somehow we started discussing astrology, and 40 minutes later we knew really quite ridiculous things about each other. She was a Leo. He was a Gemini. And a cunt.
Anyhoo, my worst boxing partner ever was a Kiwi bloke a couple of weeks ago - let's call him Murray, a sad fate that has befallen so many of our New Zealand brothers. Now I am very tall, much taller than pretty much all women and a lot of men, including Murray. And I am quite strong because I wrangle a 17 kilo toddler around a lot. But never in my four years or so of boxing have I had the instructor try to settle my partner down because of the ferocious pounding that I was copping.
I didn't mind that, and I told Murray not to mind (although I said mean hearted things about him the next day when my shoulders were crippled). What I couldn't stand was his relentless and amateurish personalised Zoe encouragement track. He's not a bad guy, I'm sure. Not quite sane, but that's no reason to dismiss the man entirely. But how do you get those people to understand that while you're happy for them to knock themselves out, you need them to Just. Shut. Up?
* And one in particular if you must know. In a mates way. He's 150% gay, and it's by no means a sexual thing. But I've always wondered if gym instructors talk in the bedroom like they do at the gym. Anybody know?