A finicky guy's exploits in finding gustatory (and other) satisfaction in his kitchen, his neighborhood, and beyond.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

In which Michael greatly exceeds the recommended maximum time in the steamroom

The explanation for the before-and-after transformation illustrated below has got to go in the only-in-NYC file. (And probably in the only-in-Chelsea subdirectory.)

Me at 10:00 am on Wednesday
Me at noon on Wednesday

What happened to turn me from a happy (if a little 7-dwarves-ish) man into a shriveled prune?  Read on, dear friends.....the truth is beyond belief.

I was at my gym this morning — remember, I am a member of the gayest gym in the world, second home to gay celebrities (Anderson Cooper, Marc Jacobs, me) and porn stars/photographers (Michael Lucas, Joe Oppedisano, me  — ha, ha, just kidding, Mom!).

I'd just finished my work-out and decided to finish off with a nice, relaxing sit in the steam room.  (My devotion to this habit has nothing whatsoever to do with the proximity to towel-clad hunks in which it places me.  NOTHING.  I just love steam.)  When I first entered, there was only one seat left, behind the door, which threatens to hit you every time someone pushes it open, so I kept my eyes open for a vacating steamer.  (Steamee?)  When someone stood up, secured his towel tightly around his waist, and departed, I made a dash for the spot he'd just left.

Readers, take a deep breath, and sit down if you're by any chance reading this on your cellphone while walking about.  (And cut out that stupid, dangerous habit!)  You will never guess whose eyes I looked into while surreptitiously checking out my new neighbor sitting on the tiles not 3 feet away.  Would you believe GEORGE THE DANCER IN PLEATHER SHORTS FROM SATURDAY NIGHT'S CONCERT?
GPOG - Gratuitous Pic of George
I did not believe it at first either, and decided it was just someone lucky enough to be George's doppelgänger.  But after this guy left for a few minutes, he came back and sat down right next to me again, and I thought to myself, "That has to be George." Same furry pecs.  Same athletic build.  Same shaved head and dark, dreamy eyes.  But still I wasn't sure.

He left again for a few moments (which is actually pretty smart, to avoid transforming into a prune, but do you think I was going to walk out of there for anything at this point?).  By the time he returned, I'd shifted into an even more auspicious seat (near the on/off controls for the steam) and GEORGE (or whoever it was) SAT RIGHT NEXT TO ME AGAIN.  Only this time even closer to me, about 1 foot away, even though there was a large stretch of empty bench beside him.  I figured this could mean one of several things, listed here in decreasing order of likelihood:
  • Total random coincidence (95% plausibility)
  • He was also upgrading his seat choices gradually (75%)
  • Because of all my room-scenting experiments, I was wafting pleasant scents he wanted to inhale (19%)
  • The studliest man in the gym was trying to hit on me (.003%)
Well, whatever his reasons for inching further and further into my personal space, I ruined the whole thing by opening my big mouth.  To talk, you salacious things!  After confirming that his name was George (and getting a rather uneasy look in response), I babbled something half-coherent about loving his performance on Saturday and having blogged about it.  I probably sounded a few shades more infatuated than Judy Garland in the Dear-Mr.-Gable song (You Made Me Love You) she sang WHEN SHE WAS A 15-YEAR-OLD GIRL.  Need I say that my talented, hunky, and, at the moment, nearly naked George was out of there like a shot?  I'll bet he marched right downstairs in his towel and cancelled his gym membership on the spot.  I mean, what semi-celebrity wants to be stalked during his downtime by a gushing 15-year-old girl in the body of a 46-year-old man?

George, if there is any chance that you are reading this, please know that I am NOT a stalker.  Yes, I have been unable for 4 straight days (5 by the time I posted this) to get the image of you in pleather shorts/vest out of my head, but I promise that I have no plans to become a groupie, to follow you covertly to your home, or to coordinate my work-out schedule with yours now that I know we go to the same gym.  I probably won't even be able to bring myself to look you in the eye should we ever pass in the cardio room.  But if you ever want a free voice lesson (I am totally serious here), you can feel free to contact me through this blog.  Or through the steam.

OK, readers, I think my heart rate has finally returned to normal after that hyperbolic — both exhilarating and humiliating — experience.  Thank you for letting me get that off my not-so-furry chest.  Now if only my skin would start de-pruning....in this state I am not ready to encounter any celebrity who might be in the steam room tomorrow.  (You just never know if Jake Gyllenhaal will 1) move to the neighborhood, 2) join a gay gym by mistake, and 3) feel the need to spend time after his workout in a damp, eucalyptus-scented room.  Watch that swinging door, Jake!)

BTW, does the picture of a prune I included above constitute enough of a reason for this post to appear on a food blog?


  1. Oh my goodness you make me laugh! I call what you did "throwing up all over the person with words" and I have been known to do it many times. I have waited on some VERY famous people. Meryl Streep, Michael J. Fox, Sam Waterson, Gene Wilder, Laura Liney...and it goes on. Each time I come to the table I always have to talk to myself and remind myself to go into robot mode. Be a serving robot Lisa..Don't gush..pretend you don't know who they are...make no eye contact (well a little). It is always a challenge... I waited on a famous band the other night, but did not know who they were. I became fast friends with them, because I DID NOT know who they were and I just was myself. I promise you I would have done the same thing. I hope George reads this and takes it as the highest compliment. :)

  2. I'm a little annoyed here; he keeps sitting closer to you then you were kind enough to compliment his performance and for that he takes off?! He may have been hunky but I think that was a little rude. He should have at least been flattered that you recognized him and took time from your busy day to let him know he did such a good job. You do have a fabulous food blog, students to teach and Chihuahuas to care for... he never would have appreciated you Michael, I'm glad it didn't work out.

  3. Love the post! You just made this 15-year-old girl in the body of a 32-year-old woman relive some memories (only they didn't take place in a gym, but in a high school hallway :-). And to answer your questions about the prune pic, you could write about pretty much anything and bring a smile to my face.

  4. Seeing celebs on the street, as we often do here in NYC is one thing. Actually having to speak to them is quite another. Remind me to tell you of the time Maggie Smith asked me if I knew where the ladies room in a theater was.... Or the time Lauren Bacall asked me -- at a black tie event -- if I knew where her seat was. Why I'm never recognized myself or asked if I'm a model is quite beyond me..... Love the entry!

  5. I was literally clutching my pearls reading your story. He should be absolutely DELIGHTED that you recognized him. Ingrate!

    My 15 year old inner girl wants to go kick him in the shins for you. The nerve! Gushy fans are a mark of "being somebody". Some grace on his part was required, nearly nekked or not.

  6. I was wondering about Anderson Cooper. He is cute in a "little boy in a suit" way.

  7. I very much appreciate the outpouring of support from everyone about my gym humiliation, but I just wanted to establish that George the Hunk did not behave in any sort of impolite way. I take full responsibility for creating the situation by behaving like a slightly unbalanced stalker. And, who knows? Maybe George was running home to check out my blog for himself.

    I *do* wish, however, that Darci could follow me around and give people who behave uncivilly kicks in the shins. (But please keep your boots off George!)

  8. I'm astonished that Anderson Cooper ever has time to go to the gym!

  9. Thanks for writing this. I laughed and laughed. And who among us, has not opened our mouth to say a cool hello and accidentally gushed all over someone? Though I must say the sauna-towel-only-apparel does add a certain something to the picture.
    Maybe it was in the voice... did you use the obligatory Manly Bass Resonance or did you forget in the exhilaration of close proximity to Hunky (Almost) Famous Guy?

    PS If Debbie has one of those cool embroidery machines, maybe she could make you a Not A Stalker sauna towel??

  10. talking is over rated
    you know that

    nevertheless, his loss.