by Bill Braunstein
They say when life hands you lemons, make lemonade. Which is great, if you like lemonade.
I’d rather be handed a blue agave plant, so I could make a shot of tequila.
Love–or lack of it–will do that to you.
It’s been a little over three months since my ex-girlfriend walked out of my life. It wasn’t just a blow to my ego. It was a full body slam. She was everything I wanted in a woman… Apparently, the reverse wasn’t true.
So, after I got the heave-ho, I did what any self-respecting all-American guy does after losing his sexual meal ticket—stocked up on lotion and purchased a full array of triple-X DVDs. I was particularly fond of “Silver Linings Lay Book.”
Reading was also high on my list. I downloaded to my iPad every Internet article I could find on starting over, reinventing oneself, and meeting women. And I followed the advice religiously.
The man in my mirror looked completely different from the guy who was there weeks ago. I had given myself an extreme makeover: Kyle edition.
A Beverly Hills stylist coiffed my hair. I shaved off my beard. And my clothes were now smart and fresh thanks to a Rodeo Drive shopping spree.
To the old Kyle, an Italian suit was one I spilled wine on. No more…
Unfortunately, underneath my fancy new veneer, I was still the old Kyle Benson. That’s why I was about to head to the gym.
The old Kyle had the physique of the Pillsbury Doughboy. Kyle 2.0 was about to become a lean, mean, woman-seducing machine.
I joined a gym, figuring it would be a great place to meet women. And I was correct. It started right at the reception desk. Upon entering, I couldn’t help but notice behind the counter a physical trainer who seemed to have descended from heaven’s Stairmaster.
She was a blonde babe with a body that had more curves than Mulholland Drive. And her form-fitting Lycra outfit pushed her breasts out so far, they greeted me long before she did. Her nametag said “Heather.” And, let’s face it: Has there ever been an ugly girl named Heather?
Like most Heathers, she was preoccupied and barely noticed me as she announced into a microphone: “Attention, members, the gym will be closing in one hour, please plan your workout accordingly.”
As I watched her fingers clutch that mike, my brain couldn’t stop imagining Heather holding something equally hard and cylindrical.
Finally, she looked at me. “Welcome to 24 Hour Fitness.” I eyeballed Heather from top to her very fit bottom, and tried to think of something clever to say… But the best I could do was, “Hey,” as I wondered why a 24 hour gym was closing at 11 p.m.
After changing into my workout gear, I headed to the main floor, and scanned the room for talent. It was pretty slim pickings, since it was late on a Saturday night. Just a dozen or so beefy guys convening around rows of dumbbells and a few women that looked like castoffs from the Belarus Olympic weight lifting team.
Suddenly I heard a voice behind me say, “Why don’t you head to the front desk and ask that girl out?”
I turned around, and standing behind me was a tall, thin bespectacled guy in a very un-gym-like outfit. He was wearing a black turtleneck. I recognized him as Steve Jobs.
Immediately I thought, so that’s what’s being stored on the iCloud—dead computer executives.
“Kyle,” Jobs said, “I know your love life has crashed like a disc drive on a Windows computer. In fact, I know just about everything about you.”
“The information you enter into your iPad? Where do you think it all goes? We’ve been keeping tabs on you in Cupertino. So sorry to hear about your ex.”
“That’s why I’m here at the gym,” I told Steve. “I’m looking for a new start.”
“The truth is,” Jobs said, “it’s just as easy to re-boot a life as it is a computer. I always lived by the philosophy of ‘Think Different.’ And that’s my advice to you.”
“Well, I hope it works out better than that antenna you designed for the iPhone 4.”
Jobs was not amused, but he plowed ahead. “Look at all these jocks,” he said, motioning to the cardio cowboys in the weight room. “You’re not going to out-muscle them. You’ve got to go with your strengths. Think brains, not brawn.”
“Go on,” I said, intrigued.
Jobs continued. “Muscle doesn’t win over women. Intelligence can be just as sexy.”
“I’m not sure I’m buying that,” I said.
“Just do what I’ve done with every product I’ve ever released–a risk/benefit analysis.”
“Sure. Ask yourself: is the risk of rejection worth the benefit of potentially bedding down the hottest woman you’ve ever seen?”
It was hard to argue logic with the pioneer of the personal computer revolution. I decided to head to the reception area to, as Steve Jobs might say, graphically interface with Heather.
As I approached the front desk, Steve Jobs walked in lock-step directly behind me. I nodded in Heather’s direction, and she back me, motioning that I should wait a minute.
Once again, she brought the microphone to her lips. “Attention, 24 Hour Fitness members, the gym will be closing in 30 minutes, please plan your workout accordingly.” Then she faced me, “Yes, what is it?”
Jobs now stood behind Heather. With both hands outstretched, he egged me on to say something… And I did.
“You know, a microphone is an acoustic-to-electric transducer that converts sound to an electrical signal.”
Heather looked through me as if I was made of glass. “Huh?”
At least Jobs was impressed. He silently encouraged me to keep going. So I continued. “The speed of sound depends on the medium the waves pass through.” Heather stared at me blankly. “Is that your way of asking for an extra towel?”
As my nervous frustration mounted, I sensed it was definitely time to go to Plan B. And all I could think of was a lame pick-up line from my high school days. I locked my brown eyes onto Heather’s baby blues, and gave it my best shot.
“Heather, if I said you had a sexy body, would you hold it against me?”
My heart raced as she looked intently at me. “That’s the lamest pick-up line I’ve ever heard—and I hear them all day.” Then, Heather laughed so hard, she actually dropped her microphone on the floor.
Ever the gentleman, I quickly bent down to pick it up. Just as quickly, Heather did the same. Our timing was perfectly bad. As we each moved forward, our heads cracked against each other. Hard.
We both fell to floor, me awkwardly spread eagle on top of her.
“Get off me,” Heather screamed. “Get off me now!”
It was bad enough Heather was yelling at me. Worse, was hearing her voice reverberate throughout the gym.
Heather hadn’t turned off the mike.
“What are you doing!?” her voice boomed in every direction.
As I rose to my wobbly feet, I was now surrounded by five burly dudes who looked like they ran the gym’s steroids concession. One asked Heather if she was okay. The four others escorted me out of the gym. That is, if being heaved through the facility’s double doors onto the street counted as being escorted.
Overlooking me was Steve Jobs, as I slowly arose. “Dude,” he intoned, “I said ‘Think different,’ not ‘Think stupid.’”
I was bummed. “You said using smarts to pick up women would work,” I whined. “Instead, I almost got my ass kicked.”
Jobs shrugged. “You didn’t use smarts,” he said. “You used a pathetic pick-up line.” And with that, he walked off into the night.
It wasn’t long before I got home, alone, and found myself popping a movie into my DVD player. After that experience at the gym, my plan was to kick back, relax, and forget about what had just happened.
The film I chose didn’t have much of a plot, and the acting was pretty horrible. But then, my expectations in those departments were pretty low.
All I wanted was a story with a happy ending.
And that’s what I got, repeatedly–watching “This is 40-Double D.”