Starbucks AND I Join a Women’s Gym

Last week I heard the good news that Starbucks coffee is now going to offer all their employees a free college education along with health care benefits… or as I like to call it the G.I. Bill for Baristas.  Details haven’t been released but basically all employees can enroll at Arizona State University online and get their tuition costs covered.  Let’s acknowledge when a corporation does something right (it doesn’t happen very often).

A lot of folks like to criticize Starbucks but I think they need to do something else for fun.  I really only have one gripe with them.  It has to do with the sizing of their drinks.  Everyone knows that their smallest cup of coffee is called a “tall” which only shows that someone in marketing has a self-esteem problem.  Their middle and large sizes are “venti” and “grande.”  What I can’t figure out is why they switch to a European language as you move up in size.  Is it too much to ask for a little linguistic consistency? And no I’m not shilling for English-only policies.  I just don’t think you should need to be a polyglot to order coffee.

I had a similar problem at the senior living center where my father lived.  The place was called “Varenna” and had a Disney architecture that made it seem faux- Italian.  Except that they called the houses for these chrono-Americans “casitas.”  Suddenly I’m in Honduras.

Joining the Women’s Gym

Those of you concerned about the shape I’m in will be pleased to know I’ve joined a new gym.  In spite of working out regularly at my usual traditional gym and doing yoga about 5 or 6 times a week I was experiencing some lower back pain.  According to the Fabulous Miss K this is because I needed to work on my “core”.  The cure would come by doing Pilates (does not rhyme with Pirates).  The best place to do this would be the gym where she goes.  They specialize in Pilates and various forms of prancing in tights.  So I’m game.

What I didn’t realize was that this place was really a gym designed mostly for and by women.  In most classes I’m the only guy, sometimes there’s another one. First let me say I love this place.  Everyone is friendlier than at the usual gyms I’ve belonged to.  The folks who work there know what they’re talking about, are intelligent and very supportive.

But as I mentioned there are some basic differences guys should be aware if they’re coming from a traditional gym.  Here are some useful tips for Guys at a Women’s Gym:

  • Get used to lots of talk about the pelvic floor.  This is a mysterious area that no guys have ever heard of before.  The first time I heard about it I was in a hotel and went to the elevator but there was no button.  The pelvic floor is NOT located between the lobby and the mezzanine and is nowhere near the penthouse.  After going to this gym for a couple of months I still don’t have a clue where the pelvic floor is or what it does.  When they ask me to “tilt my pelvic floor,” which they do frequently, I smile, fake it and pretend I’m in the semi-famous Santa Cruz Mystery Spot where the laws of physics don’t apply.


  • Expect lots of talk about the evils of gluten.  Gluten is approaching “enemy of the state” status.  I know this is a serious issue for folks with celiac disease but for the rest of us, not so much.  But based on the conversations in class (and there are a LOT of them) giving up gluten seems to endow people with superpowers including the power to instantly heal wounds, see through walls, rescue puppies, and be deeply empathetic.  If this were the SAT test you would say that “Gluten is to humans what Kryptonite is to Superman.”


  • The antidote for a gluten overdose is Quinoa (which I’ve discussed previously in this blog).  In spite of its central role in the new American diet nobody is really confident about how to pronounce it.  By the way, in case you missed it the United Nations declared 2013 The Year of Quinoa.  No wonder I had such a hangover in January 2014.  Personally, I celebrated the Year of Quinoa by drinking several traditional Quinoa Martinis on the first of every month.  What a great way to get your protein.


  • Don’t mention the temperature in the room.  You don’t need to.  This topic will be brought up by others approximately every ten minutes. In virtually every class half the people were too hot and the other half were too cold.  They all take this personally.  Be prepared to spend a significant amount of time achieving consensus.  Consensus, by the way, is a really important concept.  This is when everyone agrees to go along with something that no one believes individually.


  • Don’t look for the weight room.  There isn’t one.  I never thought I’d go to a gym without weights but that’s how it rolls now.  To get the same effect you enroll in a “Sculpt and Tone” class.  Its nice to bring in words and images from the worlds of art and music to define sweating.