Playground

Sometimes a single 30-year-old man with a membership to New York Sports Club wants to exercise outside. It’s a lovely day, and he’s been training hard for months, not for a marathon or some other event to fight cancer. No, he’s been working out because since the breakup he’s realized how good it feels to imagine himself a sexy motherfucker. 13 pounds of anti-sexiness dropped since the two called it quits, sleeveless shirts now worn with sincerity—damn, he’s even moisturizing!

“It’s all about the circuit training,” he tells those who will listen. He’s not quite at the Crossfit stage of his life yet, but he’s on the line. Maybe he’ll go “crazy” one day and incorporate more Olympic lifts into the circuits—and risk fucking up those handsome knees and that dapper spine—but not today. Because today is a perfect day to be outside, single, and health-conscious—the sun shining down on his arms that are as cut as he imagines they were his senior year at NYU. Sure, he’s going gray now—

“But hot damn, motherfucker, your A.P.T. is blocks from the Brooklyn Bridge, and you’re batting (maybe) .200 on OkCupid—let’s have some fun. Let’s give our self 45 minutes. I’m talking a three-exercise circuit: jump-rope, burpees, pull-ups. Little to no break. Let’s bang ‘em out. Give the passersby something to look at and aspire to.”

He knows a park with a jungle gym only a light jog away. He takes off, not thinking of the Vibrams the ex bought him looking simultaneously hip and retarded on his feet. No, he’s thinking of pull-ups, the thousand or so he’ll bang out, like the chicks waiting in all corners of the world to make bang with him… And chin-ups, too. He’s thinking of chin-ups. (It’s good to have a plan-B exercise, if you get tired a few circuits in.)

The wind feels good through his hair, and he forgets that he’s going gray up top—and thinning (only maybe, he hopes).

All is good. But then the sign at the gated entrance to the park reads:

“Adults allowed in playground areas only when accompanied by a child under the age of twelve (12).”

Our 30-year-old hero is outraged (and still single, ladies):

“I paid for this park with my taxes! My adult taxes!” he says, jogging in place, keeping his heart rate up. “Well, the park was already here when I moved into the neighborhood, but I’m sure I pay for the upkeep somehow. Anyway, the state owes me my share of pull-ups on those monkey bars. Just because I don’t have a kid, it doesn’t mean I’m a child molester. I have a back that needs attention.”

But rather than trespass, he takes off running to the Brooklyn Heights Promenade:

“Besides, how hot do you think your kids are anyway? Parents are so delusional when it comes to their kids’ hotness. Like if I was a child molester I’d just be all about scooping up your little shit. Give me a break. You know your kid is made up of your genes, right? Please. I’m no child molester, but I think I know what kids look good…”

Jogging is getting repetitive—it’s feeling like a routine, like a relationship. He’s been single for like six months now… And his arms and back want pull-ups:

“So what now? The City is gonna force me to abduct a child just so I can work out?” He laughs. “Unintended consequences, assholes…”

He catches a glimpse of his 30-year-old single hotness in the driver’s-side window of a parked, shitty Saab. He stops moving for the first time and takes in the reflection of himself. The posterior deltoids staring back at him in the car window could be more handsome, more put-together, more happy being single.

“These are my posterior deltoids,” he says, not wanting to accept the truth.

Our hero looks around for an unsupervised child.

“Yeah, I’d fuck these kids.”

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