John and I are on a new mission. The goal is to get new glamour shots taken this April for our third wedding anniversary. We got our first ones done in September 2003, when we traveled to Taiwan a few months after our wedding. I went through the whole thing kicking and screaming (it was my mother’s idea), but of course in the end, we were glad we did them. In fact, the pictures turned out better than our actual wedding photos, and the cost was reasonable. As with most services, the cost is super cheap in Shanghai so why not go for the repeat? This time, we’re aiming for a different look, namely different hairstyles (both of us short) and new and improved physiques (at least that’s the plan). So we’ve started the preparations now.

One component involves going to the gym. No matter how you dice it, I hate cardio. Weights are tolerable, but running sucks. I don’t know how I ever ran track in high school. Running outside gives me serious shin splints (thanks to track). Indoors, I just find it plain boring. As part of a larger activity (for example, basketball), running makes a little more sense. Nonetheless, I can pull some other excuse out of my ass for not playing b-ball in Shanghai.

Weights are easy enough, but my arms have this strange tendency to bulk even when I do low weights and high reps. In high school, my friend Jill always called me crab arms or crab lady. At least my other friends tried to be somewhat flattering: they nicknamed me Hercules. Either way, no slender Jennifer Garner arms for me. I probably just have to ask a trainer or something. Eh, too much work. I’ll continue with my self-styled workout and hope for the best.

So the gym is a disturbing experience. I can’t recall if I wrote about this before… Now before I continue, let me first put this out there: I’m an American prude. Yes, I’m feminist and I fully agree that people should embrace their sexuality. Still, I grew up in a conservative household. To give you a sense of how big of a ninny I used to be, imagine this: I didn’t wear v-necks until college. Why? Because I felt the collar was too revealing. Yes. That was me then. Of course, college was a real eye-opener. That’s where the metamorphasis happened. I emerged, well at least by Duke standards, a liberal. And today, I’m way father left of that. In spite of all this progress, I still have some hangups. Sorry, but when surrounded by a bunch of buck-naked bodies in the locker room, I get uncomfortable. It’s not like I feel threatened or that I’m homophobic: I just think the nudity is gratuitous. I dunno. I’m still trying to pinpoint why their nakedness freaks me out. Needless to say, I’m probably the only one in there who undresses and dresses in the shower stall. Everyone else strips at the locker before heading in.

So this morning, I had an incident. There I was undressing, trying to hurry as much as possible (John says I take too long), when suddenly, my shower curtain was pulled back. Rather than yanking the curtain back immediately, the lady just stood there apologizing profusely. As if eye contact were necessary! I played it cool (at least I thought I did), but inside, I was thinking, “yeah, ok ok. Can you just turn around and leave?!” Then later, as I was blow drying my hair, I saw this lady in the buff lounging on a fold-up lawn chair eating an apple. Huh?? Am I the only one who finds this bizarre? Yeah, I know. I’m uptight. I’m working on it, but still!!!

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