Stubble Trouble

On Monday I learned a new language: the language of IB, or the International Baccalaureate program. Students take part in the IB program in their 11th and 12th grades, so it was time to get fluent before our 10th grader embarks on his IB experience.

Terms like “diploma program”, “theory of knowledge”, “ab initio”, “extended essay”, “higher level”, “CAS”, and “Pamoja” were fluidly exchanged by those fluent in IB language and translated for those of us who weren’t.

Luckily, learning the language of IB was easier than other languages I have attempted.

Like Turkish.

If anything, my vocabulary has shrunk. Which is saying something given its minisculous size at its peak.

(To be guiltily honest, my attempts at learning Turkish have pretty much stopped. I gave up about six months ago because I decided that learning Swedish was a higher priority. We have a house in Sweden, and it’s difficult to navigate automated voice recordings, the phonebook, etc. without some knowledge of Swedish. Not that I have started learning Swedish yet, mind you.)

In any case, so many Turks speak English. And even if they don’t, people are so willing to communicate, they will happily gesture, shrug, point, or draw to pass on information.

(Plus, I have my husband’s lovely assistant to fall back on if I need help.)

So, it’s pretty easy to get around with the 15 Turkish words I know.

Except, that is, in yoga or Pilates class.

In my attempt to resurrect my interest in the gym, I decided to re-visit some classes I had ever-so-slightly dabbled with in the past: yoga and Pilates. Since it had been so long since I had been – and rarely at that – I had forgotten a few things.

Like how much time the instructor spends talking and explaining (I presume) technique.

Or how much of class is spent on your back or in a Twister-reminiscent pose so that it’s difficult to see the instructor or any helpful, guiding gestures which, in turn, makes following his disembodied directions in a language I don’t understand a bit challenging.

Or that the key to surviving these classes (i.e. getting thru the class without making a complete arse of yourself) is to make sure that there is a person close by to watch and follow.

(Of course that only works when you can see them to be able to follow them.)

I made the mistake of showing up late for yoga class and ended up in the back of the room. With no one to my left, right, or rear. Everyone was in front of me, and the way our mats faced, I couldn’t see anyone in downward dog (and you aren’t supposed to crane your neck to look up when in DD, you’re supposed to focus towards your belly/feet).

Luckily there were mirrors, so I was able to peek out under my arm to try and catch out of the corner of my eye movements by other students that would signal a pose change.

(Unfortunately, peripheral vision is not 20/20. Which means I ended up staying in Padahastasana when I should have been doing Tadasana, and doing Adho Mukha Svanasana when the class was Chaturanga-ing.)

However, I managed to get through yoga class without looking completely idiotic only because I have taken a fair amount of yoga classes over the years (and have an impressive library of yoga videos at home, if I do say so myself, that I actually play on a semi-regular basis).

So, my experience with yoga helped me fake my way through the class.

Not so with Pilates, the class I re-visited today.

(You might be thinking about the Pilates retreat I went to last summer – remember the 7+ earthquake I blogged through? It was great, but one week of Pilates does not a Pilates expert make.)

So, into class I strode, me and my Pilates inexperience. Despite arriving late (not my fault…the Tae Bo class I took before Pilates was moved to a different room and ran late), I was still able to snag a spot in the middle of the room, with people on all sides of me.

Sweet. No worries about not being able to see someone to follow.

Except that they all did different moves…

…and despite trying to follow the person who looked most proficient at the moves the teacher was describing (he wasn’t doing them, just instructing us what to do), apparently she wasn’t doing them correctly (or I wasn’t modeling her correctly…now that I think about it, that probably was the issue)…

…so the teacher kept coming over to me and correcting my movements.

(Yes, I felt like the kid who the teacher is always picking on.)

Being the subject of such scrutiny might not have been so bad if there hadn’t been hands-on contact.

(Not that kind of contact.)

The contact I am referring to is the hand on foot, calf and/or knee to tilt, straighten or otherwise modify the position of one or more of those body parts.

I had no issue with the contact with the knee (encased in lycra), but plenty with the foot and calf.


After Tae Bo my foot – unclad in a shoe as is appropriate for Pilates – was sweaty. Ugh. A stranger touching my sweaty sock. Gross.

Even worse? The calf.

I hadn’t shaved.

I mean, come on, folks, I take pride in my appearance but I do not get de-haired, made up, coiffed and smelling like Chanel for the gym.

And, okay, I’ll admit it…if my husband is traveling somewhere, I might even take a day or two (or three or four depending on how long he is traveling) off from shaving. After all, I have better things to do with my time than engage in an activity that only the bed sheets will appreciate.

(Oh, come on, I know you do it, too. Don’t act so shocked.)

Unfortunately, as luck would have it, my husband has been in Switzerland all week.

Which means that my razor hadn’t visited my calves for a wee bit of time.

Which means that a total stranger grabbed hold of my stubbly calf.




I know I have gone through childbirth twice, but there are still some things that make us women – or at least this one – cringe, and the above-described situation is one of them.

(Case in point: Years ago in Moscow when my husband was in Canada and I was alone at home with our two young sons and my nose started bleeding uncontrollably in the middle of the night – the result of too much physical activity after a recent operation to repair my nose that I had broken on holiday in Thailand just the week before when I breaststroked into an underwater cement bench that I didn’t see due to it being nighttime and maybe a glass or two of white wine – I called a friend to come over and sit with the boys while I went to the hospital in an ambulance and the friend sent her husband and as we waited for the ambulance to arrive – me in a pool of blood reminiscent of some gory scene out of the movie Carrie – my friend’s husband patted me on the leg to comfort me and despite my being in a semi-conscious state and nauseous from losing 10 gallons of blood I was lucid enough to be acutely aware of my unshaven leg status due to my husband’s absence in Canada and not only snatched my leg away with such lightning speed that Jackie Chan would have been envious of my reflexes but also managed to feel totally mortified even with only half my blood circulating through my brain cells.)

So, if there is any man reading this (and I hope not), you have just had a frightening peek into a female’s psyche…at least this female’s.

(But, ladies, come on, fess up, you know what I am saying is a concern of all of ours, at least those of us who haven’t boycotted shaving altogether…admit it…how many times have you / one of your friends / your mom said “I have got to shave because if I would get in a car wreck, what would the emergency people think?”)

Anyway, back to Pilates…

That the poor instructor didn’t leap back in fright shows how professional he was. I can only hope that mine is not the only hairy calf corrected.

(Although, thinking about how the Turkish women look and how the scent of Chanel does waft after them when they walk down the gym’s halls, maybe he was just in utter shock.)

(Or maybe he didn’t notice the stubble indents my calf left on his hand.)

In any case, suffice it to say, I will be shaving my legs before heading to the gym.

At least on the days I do Pilates.

3 thoughts on “Stubble Trouble

  1. Hi Darcy, really enjoyed the blog and also the images of your Pilates class. Knowing you, your legs were not too bad anyway and maybe the Pilates instructor just took a liking to you that’s why the continuing support. 🙂
    Glad you think that Swedish is the language to learn, my point too even as I have not started yet. Still stuck on the 15 words like you with your Turkish.
    However the IB language I have learned over the last three years, so speak it well, any questions and I will be able to assist.
    We must make sure to meet up in the summer.
    Birgit x

  2. Yesterday I felt my heart racing a bit. I grabbed the electric razor and knocked down the stubble. In my advanced years I am not so particular with my grooming….but I think I was more worried about the ER employees seeing my unshaven legs than I was about having a heart attack!! Some things never change. Mom

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