Friday, July 11, 2008

Expensive things I have bought this week

Two tickets to the Chicago Architecture Foundation’s Devil in the White City tour this Sunday. Serial killers! World’s fairs! All in one bus ride! The domestic partner and I have invited three other couples to join us for the tour, and they’ve all turned us down. So we’re stuck doing it with each other. So to speak.

Two tickets to Kathy Griffin in October. The only seats that were available when I got to the box office (it’s easy to avoid Ticketbastard fees when you work close to the theater!) were the crappy ones up against the wall in the second and the third balconies (survey says no) and one set of stage-left box seats. The guy at the box office described them as “just like the seats where Lincoln got shot.” Sic semper it, Jesus!

An Equinox gym membership near my new office and 48 sessions with a personal trainer. Six months of pain, sweat and 40-year-old gay vanity all for the low, low price of more than two house payments! And so far … I’m not impressed. I walked in off the street and gave the salesperson (who kept calling Equinox “a luxury brand”) a no-effort closing on the most expensive membership package available, with three requests: I wanted a trainer familiar with the needs of a marathon runner, I wanted someone available two days a week at 7:00 am and I wanted to start on Friday. And I was paying top dollar, so I kind of expected these not-unreasonable requests could be met. She said someone would call me on Thursday and set it all up without any problems. Except there were lots of problems. Nobody called. I called three times before I got someone who could schedule me for Friday. Then I had to reschedule because they hooked me up with the wrong scheduling dude. And after way too much “luxury brand” customer service, I finally—at 8:00 pm last night—got a meeting confirmed with … a non-runner who is booked every day of the week at 7:00 am.

But I wanted to get started, so I had my pre-training evaluation today at 6:00 am (yawn) and then did my own workout for an hour. And by 10:00 this morning, I’d already been contacted by a different trainer who is available at 7:00 starting next week. His stated specialty is “building lean muscle mass,” which I hope he means on me.

And while the Equinox facility is nice, it doesn’t really give the impression of being a “luxury brand.” It’s decorated in a minimalist style that is much closer to “not decorated” than “minimalist style.” It has significantly less equipment than the ghetto gym by my house (yes, I’m now one of those self-obsessed homos with two gym memberships). And I’ve seen nicer locker rooms in … um … certain types of locker-room-themed niche movies. But Equinox gets tons of points for its volume of 6:00 am eye candy. There was even one hottie who was strutting around in little black underpants in the locker room when I got there at 6:00 … and then standing around in a towel blow-drying his pubic hair at 7:00 when I started my workout … and then still padding around in just his dress pants at 7:45 when I finally got in the shower. His two-hour locker-room presence was borderline creepy, but he was totally channeling Rami Kashou (naked!) … and I didn’t see anyone complaining.

But it is done. I’ve ponied up my midlife-crisis cash, I’ve booked my time and I’m on my way to … um … whatever it is I’m going to accomplish with the help of a paid professional at what is purportedly one of the best personal-trainer gym chains in the country. And I still have some of my extra-large shirts from when I used to weigh 15 pounds more than I do now. Just in case.

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