Ahem, pardon me..."athletic club."  That's right - its a club, complete with private memberships, a built-in restaurant, full-service bar, lounge area, male and female saunas, a lap pool, a hot tub, barely-legal front desk workers and a half dozen tennis courts.

Also, Cat Fancy Magazine gave it two paws up!  Meow!

"Athletic club" sounds almost too old-timey to accurately capture the blue-bloodedness of the place; I'm thinking of giving it a marketing makeover and referring to it as an "exercise resort."

This is a place where I'm in the minority as a 20-something middle-class wage-earner.  This is a place where executives hobnob over white wine spritzers and unforced errors.  This is a place where your luxury import is parked for you, where wives are swapped, and Barbicide-soaked plastic combs are on the house.  There are even several salon-quality hair dryers to ensure the proper maintenance of the middle-aged, filthy-rich Valley crowd's high-end hair plugs.  Yeah, it's that fancy.

So let me ask you about your cheap-ass gym, your meat-market slaughterhouse, both in male/female ratio and the lingering stench of decades-old equipment.  Let's talk about your ironclad membership contract and equally inferior sister franchises. 

Do you REALLY want to cross that street?

Do you know anyone by their first name?  Would you WANT to know anyone by their first name?  I know all of my clean, educated, and (to my knowledge) disease-free class instructors and trainers, and we hang out over UFC fights and classy beer at their homes.  "Homes," not rent-controlled apartments.

Sure, the few sightly females that frequent your Bally's or Gold's may be younger, but do you really stand a chance at conversation after the first, second, and third wave of assaults that the douchebag personal trainers have offered up with their best come-ons?  Careful there, chief - that's gonna be one jaded kitty full of buyer's remorse, and she's got claws.  All you've got is self-confidence issues and white socks with black shoes.  Back of the line.  Yeah, that looooong one, peepants.

My "fitness oasis" may not have as many pretty young things to gawk at, but be assured that they're a) beautiful, b) in shape, and c) conversational.  But they're the least of you're concerns when there is such a dense MILF and Cougar population.  Yes, they're rich.  And yes, they've got their eyes on you, you young, handsome stud.  And by "you," I mean "me," of course - I've got the membership, remember?  Dummy.

Yeah, sort of. Minus the d-bags down in front, of course.

(Regardless, WTF are you doing trying to pick up chicks at the gym anyways?!  This isn't the 90s - go meet your dream girl at a bookstore or hip lounge, not when she's sporting visible boobsweat at the hip flexor station.  Pervert.)

"Oh, but its just too expeeeen-sive!" some will whine, about the $500 one-time membership fee.  Well then save your recyclables, sissy; its worth the investment.  But, some people would rather spend $100 a month on hipster lattes, 18-racks of low-brow swill, or MSG-laced GNC whey protein than on high-brow monthly gym dues.  Personally, I like to spend $100 a month on state-of-the-art, sanitized equipment, and classes that don't feature a Jock Jams-inspired playlist.  My gym does not smell like a muskrat's armpit, permeating your clothes, your skin, and eventually, your soul.  In fact, it smells like a hint of vanilla and crisp linen.  Maybe a spritz of sea breeze and wafting jasmine.

My "workout spa" is it's own entity; it is not in a strip mall, and there is plenty of pristine, broom-swept parking for everyone.  Well, not everyone - you're not a member, remember?  You may love getting a post-workout $5 footlong next door at Subway, but my gym has a top flight chef, a menu written in calligraphy, and food that tastes like velvet, made to order while you work it.

I recommend the tuna tar-tar. And a glass of white for your mature ladyfriend.

My "aerobic paradise" is truly where everybody knows your name, first and last, delivering a sincere greeting upon entrance and exit.  While membership numbers are issued, it's a modest four-digits, a far cry from the alpha-numeric logarithm that is your new dehumanized identity.  My card is laminated for extra protection and...shininess...as well as good for discounts at upscale seafood restaurants, European skin boutiques, and juice bar franchises.  Your card makes a computer beep when you scan it, and if you lose it, good luck getting in, as the front desk attendant calls you a d-bag under his breath.

Also, networking - when's the last time someone offered to be your manager?  Someone who WASN'T also producing web porn?  I've exchanged countless business cards, landed a sweet freelance PR/writing gig, and had the chance to work on or in several acting projects.  No, you know what, that's not fair - that time the overly intense, lazy-eyed meathead aggressively pursued you to join Amway, I guess that counts.  Maybe you can help clean the floors at night to qualify for a membership discount - looks like they need it.

Not seen: kickass old-timey cash register. Just because.

My "sweaty Shangri-La" has mixers and club events not titled "April is Recruit-a-Friend-Get-One-Month-Free-uh...Month!"  Twice a month, there is a Friday night band.  Not one that I'd ever care to see, mind you, but still, its a step up from the perpetually hungover employees beat-boxing and calling each other "bro."  Not music to my white-collar ears, no sir.

The background music at my club is not an AC/Top 40 Hits station or an unintentionally ironic corporate mix; classic rock is usually the soup of the day, but at such moderate levels to not force you to crank your iPod to new ear-splitting heights.

There is no grunting at my gym.  Whatsoever.  There is no toe nail fungus crouching in the shower tile grout like a gangrenous rattlesnake ready to infect: no flip flops required.  There is an abundance of clean, fluffy towels, Q-tips, shaving cream, disposable razors, liquid soap, shampoo, and conditioner.  The hot water is hot; the cold water is cold.  Does your bum's hovel of a gym even have running water?  Liar.

Your trainer likes trance music and pungent colognes; he doesn't know karate.

Our trainers are certified, black-belted, intelligent, and clean-shaven.  They work with MMA fighters.  One frequents Thailand to improve his Muy Thai.  Your trainer hands you a flyer to the "dope" club he's promoting on the side, all the while angling for more mirror space.  That's so FLY!

Let me tell you what's FLY, "homie" - my athletic club.  So dump the chump, and get damp with the champ.  And then take a shower afterwards, for chrissakes.  This is no place for heathens, heathen!

*This message has been endorsed by CC-DC*