Friday, October 8, 2010

Sit Up and Take Note

The Prude woke up in fine fettle this morning. She cast her mind over the past 24 hours, searching for the incident that had set her heart a’singing, and came to an abrupt halt at yesterday morning’s post. Ah, there it was. After a week of psychoanalyzing a hundred years of song, she had finally delivered A LECTURE. As has been stated here early and often, Prudes thrive on LECTURES and DISAPPROVAL. The Prude has returned to her roots. Today she will again voice disapproval, and all will be right with her world.

She had planned to do a Supermarket Rant. Her Leetle Gray Cells (eventually, if The Prude keeps writing and you keep reading you will discover her love and admiration for Agatha Christie books. The Prude’s husband had to put his foot down (narrowly missing The Prude’s instep) when she broached the idea of naming their firstborn ‘Hercule’) tossed and turned as she toyed with ranting in Free Verse.
As she struggled to find her free verse flow, she saw an advertisement for the Ab Rocker on the morning news.

And immediately a new Disapproval of the Day was born.

The Prude disapproves, in a weak and jellyfish sort of way, against the current campaign to destroy the reputation and very existence of the Lowly Sit Up.

Your Prude does not mean to intimate that she adores sit-ups. By no means. They were the bane of high school gym class, along with the forward roll on the balance beam.  But sit-ups were cheap, easy to master (in the singular) and they were no respecters of race, creed, color or gender. Every hated them, but everyone did them.

Sit-ups rolled along merrily for years with the full endorsement of phy ed teachers, coaches, and post-partum moms everywhere. Certainly there were variations. Bent knee, or not bent knee? Arms straight or arms behind head? A twist at the waist to touch opposite elbow/fingers to opposite knee/toes?  Go all the way back to the floor or just partway?

This final variation was the ‘ding’ that led to the death knell for sit-ups. People began to refer to them as ‘crunches’. I believe the change took a firm hold in the ‘80’s, which, as you know if you read yesterday’s post, was a naughty decade with no respect for What Had Come Before.

And by the exponentially naughty ‘90’s, sit-ups were relegated to the corner of a dusty museum along with euphemisms for body parts and reproductive activities, and Shake-a Pudding.

The Prude has proof. There was an explosion those final years of the 20th century. An explosion of violence. Movies, TV, video games, and AB EXERCISES!.

Yes, AB. No longer were they stomach muscles. They were referred to be the short, iron fisted term ‘ABS’. The gentle sit-up for stomach muscles was no more. We now had videos for ‘Killer Abs’, ‘Abs of Steel’ (which, The Prude believes, would severely hinder the digestive process) ‘Six Pack Abs’ and ‘Blast Off Belly Fat’ (which inspires a gruesome mental visual). Less barbarous, but extremely embarrassing, are ‘Hip Hop Abs’
and a series that encourages that we belly dance our way to beastly abs.

The Prude refuses to turn this into a 2 post rant on a single disapproval. There is so much more out in the world that needs disapproval! So she will draw to a close with some of the instruments of torture (below) that are supposed to be kinder and gentler than the mild-mannered, good-natured sit-up. Look them over at your leisure (if you dare), think about the torture chamber machines from the Inquisition,  and then compare them to that innocent exercise of yesteryear.

The much maligned sit up. Does it deserve the scorn and contempt heaped upon it?
Only your tailbone knows for sure.

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