Yesterday I bought a pair of exercise pants. They were $31.45, including tax, from the discount store. Those of you who know me will know that I rarely pay so much for any article of clothing, particularly one that I can’t wear to work.
I bought them for several reasons. Partly I bought them because I could — having at long last paid off the last of my credit card debt (to which I have been contributing several hundred dollars a month for several years), I suddenly have a little bit more money, and so buying things that seem frivolous is a possibility. (I bought two CDs the other day, too–used, of course, but new to me.) Partly I bought them because I am, on occasion, a victim of fashion. But mostly I bought them because, although it is possible for me to wear my too-small sweatpants or my too-streched-out biker shorts to go run on the elliptical machine at the Rec, it’s not particularly comfortable. It doesn’t make me think, “Oh, how I long to wear clothing that doesn’t fit me well so I can go burn calories!” (The too-small sweatpants might, I suppose, be a motivation, but they’re also hot and a little too short even when they’re not too tight.) The new exercise pants do make me feel that way.
Of course, they also make me feel silly. I’ve always believed that exercise was something one shouldn’t set out to do — it was simply something one should acquire in the course of the day. In the days when I walked dogs for three or four hours a day, or when I taught one or two college classes a semester and had many hours to walk everywhere, that wasn’t difficult. But now that I work eight hours a day in a library, the only real exercise I get during the course of the day is a little bit of lift that barge, tote that bail when we move books and AV materials from one library to another.
I’d love to be one of those people who gets up and goes out for a morning jog, but (aside from my total lack of desire to do anything so strenuous in the morning), I can’t run — it’s too hard on my back. And walking enough to get real exercise takes hours. Enter the elliptical machine. Enter the dark Satanic mills. Enter the excercise pants. Enter my seduction by capitalism. Oh well.