Fenno’s recent escapades at Wellesley and with Lindsay Harbin had not gone as well as he had hoped. But while his ego was bruised along with his face, his determination with the opposing sex remained as healthy as ever. To improve his game, he considered consulting his female friends for advice on how to appeal to women on an emotional and intellectual level. But the last time he had tried that, he had just ended up bawling into a gallon of Rocky Road for two weeks straight. Fenno also thought he might watch “Hitch” a few more times in order to master the art of charming women like a gentleman by treating them with dignity and respect and really listening to what they had to say. But in the end he decided what he really needed was just a smoking hot bod.
He didn’t want to appeal to women mentally, for crissake – he wanted to appeal to them physically. It wasn’t as if he wanted to whip out the lava lamp and Coldplay back in his Gropius room so that he could talk all night long about solutions to the plights of women and children in Himalayan pygmy tribes. Screw sober, intelligent conversation, he wanted stupid, drunk consummation.
Luckily for Fenno, his summer of gorging on law firm lunches had left little mark on his physique. Unluckily for Fenno, this was only because of the unique powers of absorption of the marshmallow-y body he had developed in law school. He hadn’t lifted anything more than books in two years, and now that the sloth of 3L year was kicking in, he was trying to get rid of even that exercise by buying a rolling backpack. He just hadn’t found the chutzpah to use it yet. Someday, however, laziness would completely vanquish dignity, and he’d be damned if he wasn’t going to be ready for that day.
The idea of exercise frankly scared Fenno, but he figured he could make an exception to his laziness for the sake of scoring so long as working out didn’t really feel like work. He was extremely pleased when he set in foot in the new Hemenway and found each cardio machine fitted with its own television screen. He hopped on the nearest machine and channel surfed till he found reruns of “Newlyweds: Nick & Jessica.”
“Haven’t see you around here before,” Carina Cuellar said as she lay down on the mat next to Fenno’s machine.
“Yeah, I figured it was time to focus on getting ripped after building muscle mass all summer,” Fenno lied.
“Yeah, uh, your abs are looking pretty huge. But you should try some of my Rocky-style crunches if you want to get cut,” she said as she performed a sit-up and threw a mean left hook into her own gut.
“Fenno, dude, what are you doing?” asked Sara Brenner as she walked past. “Cardio machines are for chicks. The weights are for dudes. You look like a chicken with a groin injury on that elliptical machine.”
“But Nick and Jessica are about to pick out new curtains for the guest room!” Fenno whined as he pointed to the screen.
“Go,” Sara said as she pointed downstairs to the weight room. Fenno marched reluctantly down the stairs. He almost fell the last half of the way down at the sight of Arsineh Baghdasarian on an adductor machine, but he managed to grab the rail just in time.
Once in the iron dungeon, Fenno recognized he was in the pit of manliness. Ben Falit, the biggest Brandeis graduate in history, and the stunt double for The Incredible Hulk (aka David Otunga) were in one corner working on their bench press. “Add another 1L to each side,” Ben said as he prepared to do his second warm-up.
Fearing he might be mistaken for a 1L, Fenno marched over to the weight rack. But he had trouble procuring the weights he wanted due to Damien Bass chatting it up with an attractive young woman in front of the dumbbells. He tried to motion for Damien to step out of the way, but the man was too focused on his womanizing strategy of exuding smoothness through a slightly pensive look and almost complete silence. Some might call it outward symptoms of indigestion, but Damien called it “game.” Despite this, Fenno managed to squeeze behind the player in the heat of competition only to have the dumbbells he sought snatched up by none other than Michael Chu.
The Sears Prize winner was not the last person Fenno expected to find in the weight room. That person was Brian Fletcher. Chu was second on the list. Apparently it wasn’t enough for him to intellectually dominate – he was now intent on becoming able to literally crush his competition. Well, Fenno may have never been close to being competition, but he’d be damned if he was going to let Chu curl more weight than him. Fenno grabbed the weights that were one size bigger than Michael’s and immediately proceeded to strain the muscles in both biceps and drop the dumbbells on his feet.
Taking pity on such an act of stupidity, Blaire Malkin came and patted Fenno on the shoulder where he lay on the floor in a pool of his own tears and shredded ego. At that moment Fenno knew he should have just stuck with working on becoming more sensitive in order to appeal to women emotionally. Crying over another tub of chocolately nutty creamy frozen goodness would have been a lot better than blowing his nose on a cute girl’s shoulder as he tried to unsuccessfully shove chunks of iron off his feet.
“What were you doing with so much weight, Fenno?” Blaire asked as she nimbly picked the weights off of Fenno’s feet and tossed them back onto the rack. Fenno blurbled something unintelligble between the sobs as he sucked on his thumb and made his way to the exit. He was now crying not only from the pain but also from the realization that he would never be buff and hence would be doomed to spend his 3L year ogling video game cleavage every Saturday night.
“Are you okay, Fenno?” Dave Gaston asked Fenno as he lay rocking himself on the grass outside the gym. Fenno suddenly felt better as he buried his face to cry into Dave’s impressively large shoulder. After all, working out probably would not have made any difference with the ladies anyway.