Dear Fawn,

I am writing to you to discuss some of the events of our first personal training session together last Tuesday. On a professional level I enjoyed our session very much. You hum and rattle with unusual energy and promise, like a bottle of ephedra, and you seem to know your way around the gym. I appreciate in particular your opening my eyes to the concept of “portion control” in my eating habits.

On a personal level, however, I have some concerns. Do you remember when I was doing the squats and I started to teeter to one side and you grabbed my arm and leaned me the other way, or when you had your hand on my back and said “what is this?” and I said “what is what?” and then you said “oh, it’s back fat”? In both cases you put your hands on me as if to let me know: Ted, I love you.

Even though you are a third my size and twice my age, so mathematically there might be some concerns, and notwithstanding my flaccid man-teats that are shaped like hungry seal-snouts suckling their mother’s milk, our mutual attraction is understandable, undeniable, and clear. To you, I am the promise of forging something new; you see in me the maternal possibility of enrolling a weak, crippled, socially worthless metabolism in your eugenics program. To me, Fawn, you offer what I seek in any woman: dedicated, constant, emotionally distant low-grade stress marked by periods of punishment and physical discomfort.

This foundation of a deep, rewarding personal relationship causes me to worry, however, about our relationship as trainer and trainee. During a recent doctor’s visit that proved the catalyst for this adventure in personal training, phrases like “sudden catastrophic pulmonary event” and “type A hepatitis” and “fungus among us” hung in the air like the scent of beef tallow at McDonalds. Because of my immense frame and itty-bitty heart, most physical activities and hormone-based events carry a degree of personal risk. As such, I cannot allow myself to be Fawndled anymore. I cannot tolerate these thunderously charged sexual advances to which you subject me, especially when those advances come while I am lifting large amounts of free weight and really especially when I’m lifting the weights and I have a dangerously clogged heart and I haven’t been laid in years.

Besides the risk of dying from excitement or heart attack, your feelings for me also undermine my motivation in the gym. I know from experience that an antagonistic relationship is more actively motivating to me than the deep, loving, flowering one you are intent on advancing.

If you need an example of antagonistic motivation I can pull from examples in my own life, and we could turn it into a sort of date to go see them together. We could visit the Starbucks where they feel the need to argue when I order a “large” mocha (“we only have grande,” they say) or to the rib joint I ate at last night where the cook bellowed out “who is the pussy fat-ass white boy who ordered the sauce on the side!?” after I did, in fact, order his famous sauce on the side. These people hate me for no particular reason, but their hatred spurs me to action. At the Starbucks, for example, I went to the bathroom and took a grande poop in a large coffee cup and then hid the cup out front by the display of freshly roasted Ethiopian coffee beans. At the rib joint I just left because I was frightened.

The point is, I seem to react more from disapproval without context than I do from honest, open-hearted support. You might incorporate this into your sessions by replacing encouragement like, “1, 2, 3—good work, keep it up” with distracted silence as you lasciviously check out some other guy in the mirror as I struggle through the set. I need this burst of negative energy to master the StairMaster, to reign over the free weights.

At this time, I feel it is not prudent to continue our sessions together. You seem like a nice person so I’m sure you’ll understand; actually, I’ve been watching you since our first training meeting so I’m fairly certain you’ re a nice person, although you do seem to play fast and loose with my feelings while you’re training some of your other clients. But I understand this is just part of the game.

With love,
Ted (Everson)

P.S. If you happen to know of any woman trainers around the club who will hate my guts and aren’t afraid to express unfettered disdain toward a total stranger, please pass along their contact information.