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August 19, 2003
The tiniest of jazz riffs heralds my granddaughter's instant message, which appears at the upper left-hand corner of my computer screen.

"r we goin 2 curves 2morrow?" If the school could read these things, they would never have recommended her for advanced English.

"Yes," I type back.


We go to Curves every day except Sunday. Its is not like my other gym: there is only one workout, and everyone does it in exactly the same way. The whole thing takes exactly thirty minutes. The other way in which it is decidedly not like my other gym is that only women can belong. There are no guys there. You move rapidly from machine to machine, and in between each machine -- which you're only on for 35 seconds (you can do anything for 35 seconds) -- you dance on a platform to speeded-up disco versions of old pop songs.

I dance, anyway, and my daughter Anna dances: throw our arms up in the air, move our feet, clap, whoop. She looks darling doing it; I suspect I just look silly. Sometimes I do the Twist. Nobody ever joins me in the Twist, although I am far from being the only person there old enough to remember it.

That's what's nice about Curves: every shape and size and age and level of physical strength is represented there. And it is all women: I am surprised to realize how freeing this is for me. I had not realized I was intimidated by the presence of men in the other gym, and I am embarrassed to admit it here, but I guess I must have been. I don't recall throwing up my arms and clapping much there.

"You can never go to Curves," I tell Q at dinner. "Never. Only women can go."

He tries on his falsetto and simpers in a way he hopes looks feminine, suggesting that he might successfully infiltrate Curves in drag. Maybe. Maybe not. "Why don't you start your own gym," Norah told him. "For men only. Build it right next door to Curves. You could call it 'Carves.'"

Q will never see the inside of Curves. But yesterday an old guy in a tee shirt came into Curves while we were all dancing and whooping. We all looked up with interest -- a man in Curves! He was delivering the flowers -- another way in which Curves is not like my other gym: we never had flowers there, not that I recall. We all looked at him while he stood and waited for his receipt. Briefly, it looked like he might like to join us in our circuit of machines and dancing. But he didn't -- he just got his paperwork and left.
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