The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation once had a radio program called Crosswords. Bill Richardson, the host and 1994 Leacock Award for Humour winner offered a personalized pocket protector to anyone who wrote a letter to read on the air. Further, he offered an opportunity to request a piece of music. How could I resist?  I wrote the following account of my experience with fitness fashion.

 Bill Richardson

c/o Crosswords

P.O. Box 4600

Vancouver, B.C.

V6B 4A2

Dear Bill,

 I’m very excited for the opportunity to receive a pocket protector for merely writing you. I thought long and hard about what I could do with it, and I think I have a solution.

 As an aerobics instructor, I spend much of my working day wrapped in Spandex. Spandex, as you may know, has no pockets to protect.

 I began this avocation in one of those glittery gyms. Unfortunately, the owner didn’t like my strip which consisted of soccer shorts and a T-shirt. She told me that I disrupted the elegance of their dress code. She told me to dress for success.

 While pondering whether a Full or Half Windsor knot would better match the collar of my T-shirt, she gave me a one-piece fluorescent green Spandex tank top and shorts. She told me to wear it to, “… show off your buns.”  Buns, as it turned out, were not all I showed off.

 I inspected my present. They were longer than my soccer shorts and felt rubbery to touch. They wiggled like jelly. As I pulled them on, I noticed a rubber collar around the bottom. I reasoned these prevented me from catapulting out of them during jumping jacks. I looked in the mirror and admired the way the synthetic substance held my physique. I felt both narcissistic and dashing as I left the dressing room to instruct.          

 On the floor, I noticed several women staring at my pelvic area.  Some of them pointed at it. One climbed onto the stage. “Nice outfit, Mike,” she said. “They show off your best features.”

 I blushed.

 “They also show off one of your worst features,” she continued in a serious and confidential whisper. “You don’t wear underwear with Spandex.  They give you panty lines.”

 I committed a cardinal aerobics sin. Determined not to disrupt the aesthetic elegance of high kicks with visible panty lines, I returned to the dressing room and removed the offending undergarment.

  I started the class. Spandex shorts gave new meaning to the word comfort. They gave me unrestricted range of motion.  They took on a life of their own. I could have stayed in the dressing room and let the shorts lead the class. Spandex shorts are to aerobics what automatic pilots are to aviation.

 Since the shorts were leading the class, I took the opportunity to fantasize about a woman in the front row. Her superb muscle definition caused a surge of hormones to gush through my system.

 I often experienced hormone surges in school. One minute I would drift off into one of my pre-pubescent sexual fantasies, and suddenly I was at the blackboard giving some inane dissertation on the role of the quadratic equation in determining the board feet of lumber needed to build a fence.

 Going to the blackboard meant limping to the blackboard. I feigned searching my pocket for a dime or a piece of chalk to ease the discomfort.

 Spandex has no safety devices such as pockets. Worse, the material offers no resistance, and rigorous aerobics means no limping allowed. It tents up easily for all the world to see, and all the world saw.

 After the class, I stood on the stage with a silly grin on my face. One reaches the point in one’s life when one doesn’t mind the occasional panty line. When it comes to the lesser of evils, “Safety first,” is my motto. This is where the pocket protector comes in. I could slip it down the front of my shorts as a place to store my tapes.


Mike Broderick

 P.S. Could you please play The Mary Ellen Carter by Stan Rogers.

  Mike Broderick is a BCRPA fitness instructor and an employment specialist at the Neil Squire Society where he finds jobs for the physically disabled. He is a fitness humourist for Alive Magazine and owns and operates The Spin Doctor Resume Service where he does resumes for anyone wishing to become upwardly mobile. He may be reached at or at 604-464-4195. He lives in Port Coquitlam BC about 29 kilobytes from Vancouver. He is already




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