Sunday, February 24, 2013

Original Anti-Diet: I Am Not a “Cougar”, But...

I go to the gym in kind of a rush because my husband and I have a dinner invitation up in Westchester tonight.  We want to miss the Friday traffic, and I still have to find a little gift for our hostess.

I hop on my favorite bike, punch in the resistance setting and plug in my earphones. The little TV screen in front of me is tuned to The Talk. One channel up there’s a sloppy soap opera. Soccer dominates the next – and so on. I put the machine on pause and go over to the desk where the media controls are. I've never seen the guy on duty before. Not a day over 25 with bright eyes and dark curly hair. He’s very cute and fit.

“Could you get CNN on there, please?” I point to the rank of TVs over the machines.

“Whaddaya want that for?”  I’m surprised when he challenges me with a flirtatious smile.

“Well, it’s not a great station, I’ll grant you, but it sure beats a studio full of shrieking women.” 

Who is this cheeky upstart?  Just put on the damn news, I mutter to myself as I climb back up on the bike and start pedaling. 

A few minutes later, I still can’t get CNN.  I glance back at the desk.  The young man is sitting there slurping a smoothie through a straw.  I catch his eye and shrug reproachfully, like the school teacher I am.  He puts the energy drink down and strolls over to my bike, comes around to the side.

“It’s not on?”

He leans in toward the screen.  His well-defined bicep is brushing my arm.  How peculiar. 

I scroll to the channel where CNN is supposed to be.

“Looks like ABC to me.”  

To create a more comfortable distance, I sit back on my seat, but he closes it up.  What’s going on here?  I sense pheromones, and I’m old enough to be his great grandmother!

“Thought I had it right,” he’s checking very carefully indeed.  “Sorry, I’m new here. Guess I don’t know how to do that. ”
Now, I have a choice.  The kid is obviously trying to be friendly and nice.  I should probably drop my schoolmarm attitude and be nice back.  I pull out the earplugs and drape the cord around my neck.

“I thought so.  Congratulations!  Are you a trainer?”

He really lights up at this.  Besides athletes, he tells me he works with pregnant women and new moms, business executives and housewives. His pitch is infused with the unmistakable promise that working with him would bring, at least, a blush to my cheeks.  I know I’m getting the prospective customer treatment but I still feel like he might just climb on the bike with me.

So, I do my best to steer the conversation safely around to the topic of my book.  It’s part of my campaign for everyone on staff at my gym to know about The Anti-Diet and recommend it to the membership. This seems like as good an opportunity as any. Maybe I can get the guy to go to my website and “like” me on Facebook. 

“It’s all about awareness,” I say, “and it’s the same, I believe, with food and with exercise,” I’m pedaling hard now.  “Somewhere, somehow, we all know what we really need if we can just get in touch with it.  And that’s the best place to start.”   

“Definitely!”  My new friend has a dazzling smile.  “So, when did you publish this?”

“First time, in 1971, and the revision came out this November.”

He looks at me oddly.

“I’m 76.”  

“No way!”


Now, I’m impressed.  I feared I would scare him half to death by coming clean.  But he steps back, appraises me with a professional eye, then re-establishes the cozy distance he’s maintained from the start. 

“You really don’t look it.  You’re in great shape.”


“And your face – you just can’t be that . . .”
“Old.  I’m afraid so.”

He grins a little sheepishly but holds his ground.
“I would have . . . come on to you.”

I speed up a little on the bike – only three minutes left on the clock – and smile gratefully.

“I know.”

This really makes my day.  I must be doing something right.  
Please click HERE to read more about Lynn Donovan McCann and her book THE ANTI-DIET: Learning To Be In The Moment With Food