Ross Murray's Border Report
Ross Murray
Ross Murray
is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, Quebec. You can reach him at
Posted 06.02.04
Stanstead, Quebec


Buns of cornmeal

STANSTEAD, QC | A new gym opened in town recently called Figures. It's for women only, along the lines of the competing franchise Curves. It's doing a bang-up business, or at least I believe it is about the only businesses around here I'm not allowed to enter. That and the hair salon downtown ever since the "Blue Rinse Episode."

I think a gym exclusively for women is great. I mean, after generations of fighting to break down the walls of discrimination that excluded them from organizations and clubs, why shouldn't women have a club that excludes men?

The idea behind Curves and Figures is that women can work out in a safe, supportive, non-judgmental environment without being self-conscious about the way they look.

But hey, I want that too!

Skinny weaklings like me need a place to work out that's not filled with people making us look bad by actually, I don't know, managing to lift weights. There's nothing as demotivating as having some sweaty he-man type who's busting out of his tank-top come up to you and say, "Hey there, little feller, don't hurt yourself on that machine. I think lifting my wet sweaty towels and carrying them to the laundry bin is more your speed. Here, let me motivate you by snapping you in the butt a couple of times with one… JUST LIKE BACK IN JUNIOR HIGH!!! HA-HA-HA!!! (snap, snap)."

That's why I'm thinking of starting my own gym franchise. It'll be called Angles, the gym for bony weaklings. No one able to bench press over 100 pounds allowed access. It will include:

  • Exercises that don't make you "feel the burn" so much as "feel that slightly pleasant tingly sensation."
  • Workshops on such topics as "Sand kicked in your face makes an excellent exfoliate!" and "Getting in touch with your inner mesomorph" and "Alternative sexual attraction techniques for the burly-impaired, # 17: Cash!"
  • Low lighting that doesn't glare too harshly off pasty white skin.
  • No group showers… ever!
  • Motivational music to exercise to such as "The Theme from The Thin Man," the complete works of Skinny Puppy, Thin Lizzy, and Boney M, "A Whiter Shade of Pale," and "Blowin' in the Wind".
  • Weight machines that lift YOU!
  • Punching bags in the likeness of that guy in junior high who used to snap your butt with a wet towel.

    Oh, it'll be swell!

    I can almost feel my biceps becoming bi-and-a-half-ceps. And when this turns out to be a success, perhaps other specialized gyms can appear to find niche markets like Figures and Curves have.

    We could have Jitters, the world's first combination gym and coffee shop, where you can jazzercise with your java, have a latté with your pilates and a mocha with your yoga. Do that 30-minute workout in 20! In direct competition with Nerves franchise.

    Curds: For those who want to lose weight but can't lay off the dairy products. Based on a reward systems: after every three workouts, you get an Eskimo Pie.

    Pervs: You don't want to know.

    Triggers: Because even mobsters like to stay in shape. Actually more of a spa than a gym: for the crime boss who wants to get away from it all or, more probably, HAS to get away from it all. Our motto: "We'll make you a loofah you can't refuse." Try our cement-shoe Stair-Master!

    Curs: The gym for dog lovers. Members will learn the latest fitness techniques in fetching, chasing one's tail, rolling over and playing dead, as well as the nutritional value of eating garbage. Check out the pipes on that chihuahua!

    Chiggers: For those infested with the larva of blood-sucking mites but who still want to look their best! And please: don't forget to wipe down the equipment…