It was quiet in the men’s changing room at the Bongerd. Derk didn’t usually hit the gym until the evening, but Vera had asked him to come with her. On his way out, Derk passed a muscular young man with brown eyes. He caught himself waiting to catch another glimpse of him.
The story so far: Since coming out of the closet, Derk has sometimes felt self-conscious. Some people don’t know about his sexual orientation. Meanwhile sport has become his escape.
‘So, are you ready for it?’ asked Vera when she popped up next to him. Together they walked over to the gym. Derk wanted to get his gym key but Vera stopped him. ‘You won’t need it today.’ She grinned mischievously. ‘It’s a group lesson.’
She led Derk to the dance studio. He frowned, puzzled. The only lesson he knew was given in this space was TRX. He wouldn’t mind doing a muscle work-out like that. The female instructor opened the doors and started to get the materials ready. Derk’s breath caught in his throat. Instead of the TRX ropes, she was setting shiny poles in the holes in the floor. The penny dropped. ‘No way! Vera, I’m not doing this lesson!’ ‘But you’re a fitness fanatic, aren’t you?’ She was clearly enjoying herself. The Pole Fitness instructor made a beeline for Derk. ‘What fun, a man in our midst. With muscles like those, this should be a breeze for you,’ she said winking. Before Derk could protest, instructions were being given. ‘You’ll get more grip if you take your shirt off.’
The instructor wrapped her legs around the pole and made a whirling movement. ‘Now it’s your turn.’ Vera gave him a push. Derk steeled himself and strode over to the pole. He didn’t want to be a spoilsport. In the first few exercises Derk was a bit wooden, but with some instruction he got better and better. The Fireman, Firewoman and the Carrousel were a piece a cake. A group of gym-users taking a break had gathered in the doorway, including the well-muscled young man. Without realizing it, Derk began to exert himself. A familiar voice called out from among those watching. ‘Aha, that’s a sturdy pole you’ve got in your hands.’ It was Jacco from his Argo rowing crew. Of course, they were training on the ergometer next door.
Suddenly Derk’s hands broke into a sweat, he lost his grip and slipped to the floor. He landed with a smack on the mats. The Argonauts were jeering. ‘Maybe use a little less lubricant next time, eh?’
Text: Kim Peterse en Sander de Kraker
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