The time Richard Simmons whispered sweet nothings into my ear


The last time I went to Richard Simmon’s studio I pulled my shoulder, was rushed to the hospital, and ended up having my arm in a splint for two months. I did get to answer, “This? Richard Simmons workout studio. No - not a video - his class is about a mile from me.” I also got this amazing note to put on my refrigerator.

The whole episode made me realize just how out of shape I was. I took up P90X. I even started a blog on it: Exercise is Hard

Day 12. It's important to be optimistic Day 13. It's perfectly normal to be mediocre Day 14. But it's expected you'll fail

The blog only lasted a month, but I managed to finish the program and still do exercises from it to this day.


Richard told me he’d comp my next visit there, and I should come soon but not too soon. Last night I finally went back and realized why I’d pulled my shoulder. It’s a serious workout heavy on the shoulders. Even after all my working out, I was still worried. When he went around hugging and kissing everyone before the class started, Richard said hi to Meg, wanted to know if I was her fiancé, and was told I was the guy who pulled his arm in his class.

“Just be careful,” he said and then hugged me.

Throughout the class he yelled at everyone to push harder, and then would turn to me and say, “Don’t push harder. Don’t hurt yourself.”

He yelled at everyone, “You’re all amazing. You’re better than roses. Then tierra’s. I love you all.” That’s a misquote, I’m sure. There was a guy from NPR taping the whole thing, and yes  I am featured two minutes in to the audio interview.

At one point Richard turned the music down and turned to me in front of the class.

“Why do you keep winking at me?” he asked.

“You’re just so magnetic,” I said, “How can I resist?”

“And how’s the shoulder doing?” he asked.

“It’s good. It was a year ago,” I said.

“Let me tell everyone the story.” He told some variety of it that ended in, “And I told him I’d be happy to visit him in the hospital and whisper sweet nothings in his ear. Right?”

“Something like that,” I said, “But I don’t remember that offer.”

“Have you injured yourself since?”

“I don’t think so.”

“You’d know if you had. Either you have or you haven’t.”

“Then let’s go with no - I haven’t.”

We talked for about a minute and a half, and then he picked on a few regulars.

He came about a foot from me at one point and mouthed, ‘I love you,’ because that’s just the sort of guy he is.

Half the moves were a great workout. The other half were just an effort to make us look as ridiculous as possible and forget the fact we were working out.

  • The freestyle dance period.
  • The pick a partner and dance with her period.
  • The switch partners and dance with her as well period.

But I knew what I was getting in to. Any set that starts with playing it’s raining men twice in a row can only go in one direction.

Which is a round about way of saying, of course I’ll be back.