People whinge about cliche’s all the time, but I love a good cliche. I love that we talk about these stereotypes as if they are characters from a cartoon, imagined and living in some fabricated universe inside the television or a book, and then occasionally you’ll find yourself up close and personal with a cliche in real life. What I love even more than one good cliche is when several cliches come together in a surreal, ‘stranger than fiction’ moment.
At the gym tonight I took my first Body Balance class, an odd mix of Yoga, Pilates and Tai Chi, imagine my surprise when the men out-numbered the women three to one. This gender imbalance in a class so obviously geared at women puzzled me, that and the fact that the places in the front row seemed to be considered prime real estate. A cubby Asian man (who I would later discover is called Harold) informed me in no uncertain terms that I was in HIS SPOT. When the instructor entered the studio everything became clear in an instant, she was like the the frankenstein of stereotypes a bizarre mashup of female clichés, on really long legs. Enter Tatiana; a tall, blonde, Russian, ex-ballerina with a cleavage you wouldn’t expect to see in swan lake. She’s wearing short shorts (I would even go so far as to call them mico-shorts, or just underwear) she has a small heart tattoo on her hip and a belly button piercing (yes we can see that part of her anatomy too) she has a breathy voice and a heavy Russian accent that sounds more like it belongs in an old Bond film. She starts the class with “Hhhellooo darlinks” and all the men hang on her every word. We start the class and Tatiana shows off a flexibility that you would expect from a ballerina, she does standing splits in front of the mirror (at this point I’d like to remind you about the micro underpants) and a lot of forward bending (cue porno cleavage). Every now and then Tatiana saunters around her pupils giving words of encouragement, things like “Aaah Harold darlink you are do-ink soooo gooood.” Harold cannot touch the floor with his hands, in fact he can barely reach his knees yet I think that Tatiana’s breathy words of encouragement might be having a positive effect on another part of his anatomy. At the end of the class they (the men) flock to like her like moths to a flame, me and the other three women leave unnoticed. In the lift I bump into one of the moths (oops, I mean men) from the class, he makes small talk and asks how I found the class, I reply “it was interesting”. He gives me an odd look and then adds, as if defending himself in some way “this class is good for my back” I reply, “I’m sure that’s not all it’s good for.” He blushes and the doors open, I think he was glad we were only had to travel three floors together.