How a Fake Ponytail Helped Me Get My Zumba Body Back

“Listen,” said Hair Lady From The Around The Way. “We’’ll pick out a piece that’s closest to your natural texture, so when you sweat nobody can tell.”

Oct 24, 2011 at 9:00am | Leave a comment

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“Listen," I told my Hair Lady, "I need to make sure it doesn’t come off when I fling my head.” 

She didn't bat an eye. My “Hair Lady From The Around The Way Fake Hair Spot” understood me perfectly.

“Just put a few bobby pins in it. It won’t come off,” she said.

It’s not that I didn’t believe her, but let’s just say I wasn’t taking any chances. That next morning, I must have inserted an entire pack of bobby pins into my head, securing the hair that would help me transform my body back from the “I got fat because I ate too much after my break-up” chick into “I’m over it, newly sexified, and back in Zumba, bitches!” goddess. 

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I say “back in Zumba” because I was crazy heavy into Zumba pre-break up. Nothing like a new fitness craze to keep your mind off of the relationship Titanic.

How can you not love this class? All that hairography, latin music and sexy grinding makes you feel like a superstar even if in real life you've got the rhythm of a newborn baby fawn.

Because for that 45-minute class, you my friend, are center stage and all those other girls in the dance studio are your back-up dancers. You are a master of super-easy repetitive movements, all while burning off last night’s mistake. Damn you Nutella. Why must you taste great on everything?

After "the breakup," I’d decided to change my hair. New day, new me, blah, blah, blah. In keeping with that theme, I switched my hair up from its natural curly afro texture to a super straight, sleek look.

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Thing is, unlike the "wash, diffuse and go" ease of my curly afro, this new sleek style required no less than a two hour straightening process. My new do' looks great until, of course, it gets wet. So in the case of a heavy Zumba workout, pouring sweat opens a can of whoop ass on my scalp, which then instantly turns the hair closest to my head into a frizzy, afro halo. But wait, that’s not the fun part.

Now imagine that frizzy, semi-damp halo of an afro around your head, while the rest of your hair remains just as straight as the day you straightened it to death with a flat iron. Now you've got a half fro, half no fro.

In other words, when I walked out of my first Zumba class post-break up makeover, I looked crazy.

None of this would be a problem if the gym’s dance studio wasn’t located right smack dab in the middle of a weight room full of bulging muscle men. Sure, these men might be questionably gay, but as a newly single woman this is not an assumption I’m willing to make.

This brand new hair dilemma meant one thing and one thing only. Screw the damn gym.

After a few weeks, though, I learned that “Screw the damn gym” is a gateway drug into “Screw eating anything remotely healthy” which then results in “Oh shit, is that really the new size of my ass?" And that’s when I enlisted the help of the professional.

“Listen,” said Hair Lady From The Around The Way. “We’’ll pick out a piece that’s closest to your natural texture, so when you sweat nobody can tell.”

Yes, I bought fake hair to match the texture of my real hair. 

“Will I still be able to fling it?” I asked, because I must fling. Part of the fun of Zumba is the sexy hair fling.

She smiled. “Yes, you can fling, but please make sure you use those bobby pins.”

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If you don’t know, wearing a fake ponytail sort of feels the same as walking around the day after you’ve lost your virginity. Your guilt and shame may just trick you into thinking that everybody knows. But they don’t know. Nor do they care.

Also, I’m thinking that caring about wearing a fake ponytail the first day back in the gym is a bit like worrying about what you’re wearing when you’re in the middle of labor. Damn your looks, all you want is the pain to end.

Ten minutes into my class, I couldn't care less about feeling sexy or even the muscle-ly possibly gay men watching us in between sets. I didn’t even care if my fake ponytail fell off and went flying across the room. Hell, I wanted it to fall off if it would give me an excuse to stop working out and run out of the room.

While gasping for air and wishing for new knees, I didn’t care about my carefully selected outfit, my “So You Think You Can Dance” fantasy or my enviably awesome Zumba instructor, Heather, who was clearly born with a rubber band for a spine. I just wanted to survive the damn class.

You’ll be happy to know I stuck it out like a big girl and here’s the fake ponytail payoff. Forty-five minutes later, your girl is drenched in funk, sweat, and accomplishment. I emerged from the dance studio, passing all of the men who were clearly watching us all "booty pop" our calories away in unison through the glass window.

Not only did I emerge from that hot suana of a studio with perfect hair, but also looking flushed and sweaty. Which, to men, says, “That’s what she probably looks like after I do her.” And what else does a single girl need besides a room filled with maybe gay men thinking, "I want to do her"? Not much.

Though I'm not sure I have enough bobby pins for that.