Column Classic: Ho for the Burn

by Lisa Scottoline

I couldn’t be more excited about two new fitness crazes — exercising in high heels and/or on a stripper pole.

I can’t think of a better message for young girls than exercising is important, but only if you look pornographic.

Obviously, whoever said women couldn’t achieve equality in athletics had no idea what they were talking about.

Or maybe it’s called a craze because it’s crazy.

We begin with Heel Hop, which is an hour-long workout, including sit-ups, stretches, and lunges, but you do all the exercises wearing high heels.

Don’t forget your stilettos — and Blue Cross card.

The instructor is a backup dancer named Kamilah, who says, “I came straight out of the womb with some high-heeled pumps.”

I have one word for Kamilah:


I wish I knew Kamilah’s mother, so I could give her a big hug – and a Bronze Star.

I’m hoping Kamilah doesn’t start a new craze among fetuses, who will begin demanding high-heeled pumps in the womb. Because we don’t need babies making their exit — or their entrance, depending on how you look at it — in even an infant-size pair of heels.

Unless you want to save the doctor fees on your episiotomy.

But that’s not where I’d cut costs.

No pun.

I read online that Heel Hop is taught in classes held in Los Angeles.

I know, it makes you want to move to Los Angeles.

And if you do, you should. Move there. And stay there. Go away and never come back. I don’t want to run into you in the market.

I’ll be the one in muddy clogs.

The article I read about Heel Hop contained an interview with a podiatrist. They asked him about working out in high heels, and he said, “Exercising in them just doesn’t make sense in any way, shape, or form.”

But what does he know?

He’s only a doctor, not a dancer, and therefore unqualified to give an opinion.

I bet he can’t even walk in heels.

In fact, I challenge him to pronounce Louboutin.

Hint: Louboutin is French for you’re-gonna-break-your-ankle.

But an even better fitness craze is exercising on a stripper pole, which I saw on one of the Real Housewives reality shows, where the housewives were taking lessons, spinning around the pole.

I’m sure this is exactly your reality, spending your free time spinning around poles with your girlfriends.

Of course that’s not reality.

Real women don’t have free time.

In any event, you’ll be happy to know that you can find lots of DVDs online that will teach you how to work out on a stripper pole. I like the website called FlirtyGirlFitness, which says, “Treadmills, bench presses, and stair climbers have been replaced with dance poles, kitchen chairs, and pink feather boas.”

This may be news to Nike.

I bet right now they’re figuring out a way to paste a swish onto a boa.

Maybe they should just paste it onto a pastie.

Buy two.

Also I’m wondering what FlirtyGirlFitness is doing with their kitchen chairs. I need mine for sitting on while I eat chocolate cake.

The problem with exercising on a pole is that you need to install a pole in your house, which could be embarrassing when it comes time to sell. Unless you convince potential buyers that you’re a fireman.

And think about what happens when you abandon your pole exercises, as you inevitably will. A pole isn’t like a treadmill, in that you can’t leave your dirty clothes on it. They’ll fall right off.

I don’t buy exercise equipment that I can’t use for a hamper.

But amazingly, FlirtyGirlFitness has an answer for what to do with your abandoned pole. The website says that their poles come with “a special hook that will allow you to use this space to hang a plant.”

How’s that for a sales pitch?

Ladies, now you can combine your love of gardening with your need to look like a hooker!

I’m sure there’s a market for that, and it’s born every minute.

I just hope it wears flats.

Copyright © Lisa Scottoline

Column Classic: Post-Puberty

By Lisa Scottoline

You may have heard that AARP started a dating site.

Now we’re talking.

Get my walker.

And my blood pressure meds.

Mommy’s going shopping.

The site is called, “How About We…”

But I’m not sure what they mean by that name.

“How About We…Compare Our Cholesterol?”

Or “How About We…Have a Cup of Decaf?”

Or “How About We…Take a Nice Nap?”

So, I went on the AARP website to cruise for menfolk, er, I mean, to learn more about the organization. The first thing I noticed was that AARP membership begins at age fifty.


AARP stands for American Association of Retired Persons, but if you live in America, you can’t retire at fifty. You can’t retire at a hundred and fifty. I’m thinking that my tombstone will read, RETIRED…FINALLY.

In fact, if you’re a man who retired at fifty, I want to meet you. Maybe you’re on “How About We…Retire While We Still Have a Heartbeat?”

In any event, I read through the website, which was full of articles with titles such as, How To Have Sex Without Intercourse.

Fascinating, but I’ve been doing that for quite some time now.

Sex without intercourse is chocolate cake.

I read the article, but I still wasn’t sure what they meant. There were too many euphemisms, presumably because I wasn’t old enough to be told the truth.

So, I skipped to another article, entitled “Ten Great Cities for Older Singles.”

Stop right there.

I’m not an “Older Single.”

An “Older Single” is a slice of cheese that’s past its expiration date.

I haven’t expired yet. I know because I’m still working.

Still, I read on and found good news. According to the article, Philadelphia was the eighth greatest city for us older singles.


The article suggested that “icebreaking opportunities for first dates” include a trip to Independence Hall.

What an idea!

When it comes to the forefathers, who doesn’t think foreplay?

The article also suggested a first date to the Philadelphia Zoo.

Another spot that spells romance!

Who hasn’t felt primal at the Primate House?

But of course, the more I read through the AARP website, the more I actually began to find articles that interested me, even though I’m not retired. I started to think that maybe I should join AARP. It felt fraudulent, since I’m not retired, but that seemed kinda technical. And two friends of mine, both my age, joined, and they got discounts at the movies.

I clicked through to the membership page, which said it cost sixteen bucks a year to join, which was cheap enough. I would have saved money if I joined for five years, but by this point I was feeling so old that green bananas were off my shopping list.

Still, I couldn’t decide whether to join.

I felt ambivalent about classifying myself as Officially Old.

I told myself, I may be middle-aged, but I’m not aged.

And after all, Mother Mary is an AARP member. Would I really want to join a club that would have us both?

But that may be a different question.

Just when I was mulling this over, an email request came in from my book publicist to go on RLTV, a channel that I’d never heard of. So, I went online and found out that it was Retirement Living Television.

Me? Fresh cheddar that I am?

It’s a funny thing.

Puberty is a line that’s clearly delineated. Your breasts pop.

But how about old age? Your breasts drop?

Enough said.

I went online to the RLTV website, which had photos of people I admire, like Jane Pauley and Bob Vila. Neither of them are retired, but they’re still cool, even though they’re as old as I am, or even older.

Except that the website did have an article on “Benjamin Franklin – Science Superstar.”


But still, that kind of thinking seemed mean-spirited and wrong.

So, I joined AARP.

I love being my age, and I’ve learned that age is arbitrary, anyway. So, what if I’m lumped in with sixty, seventy, eighty, and even ninety-year-olds?

I consider myself…lucky.

© Lisa Scottoline

Column Classic: Twisted Sister

By Lisa Scottoline

So, it turns out I have an occupational hazard. 

I’m not complaining, because at least I have an occupation. 

The only problem with my occupation is that I spend a lot of time occupying a chair. 

And the first occupational hazard is that my butt is spreading. 

What, I can’t blame that on my job? 

Fair enough. 

Thanks a lot, carbohydrates. 

Actually, the best part of my job is that I get to sit around all day in a chair, and I have set up my office so that my desk is in the middle of the room, with the TV to the left. I keep the TV on while I’m working, just to have some background noise that isn’t dogs farting. 

But a year ago, my back started to hurt. I ignored it for a while, and then when my book deadline was finally finished, I got my big butt to the doctor, who said: 

“We x-rayed your back, and you have scoliosis.” 

I thought he was mispronouncing my last name, which everybody does, and I don’t blame them. I tell them Scottoline rhymes with fettuccine, but this word sounded different. Lisa Scoliosis isn’t a good name. I asked, “Scolli-what-is?” 

The doctor answered, “It means a rotation of the spinal column, but in your case it’s not congenital. So, you’re an author?” 

“Yes,” I told him. I always put that on my medical records, so that my doctors will buy my books. I would say it’s free advertising, but given the general cost of a doctor’s visit, they would have to buy 3,293,737 of my books for me to break even. 

The doctor continued, “So you probably spend a lot of time sitting and you must be turning to the left. Why are you turning to the left?” 

“Because that’s where the TV is?” 

“Hmmm,” he said, just like a doctor in the movies. 

Or on TV. 

I was getting the general drift, because I’m a mystery writer and I don’t need a lot of clues. “So, you mean to tell me that just because I sat on my butt and watched TV while I worked, for twenty-five years, I rotated my spine?” 


So, this was all TV’s fault. Thank God it wasn’t my fault. It can never be my fault. 

The doctor added, “And you’re probably crossing your legs, too.” 

I thought about it. “I probably am. How else can you keep a dog on your lap while you work?” 

The doctor laughed. He thought I was kidding. 

You and I know I wasn’t. 

Maybe he should start reading my books. Or this column. 

Anyway, I got serious. “Now what do we do?” 

“Work out.” 

I tried not to groan. 

Why is “working out” always the answer? 

Why is the answer never “chocolate cake?” 

Meanwhile, I tell the doctor that I walk the dogs, ride a bike, and even sit like a lump on the back of a pony, but he says none of this counts. He sends me to physical therapy, telling me to dress comfortably. 

I don’t need to be told to dress comfortably.  

I’m a middle-aged woman. 

We’re too smart to dress any other way. 

I’ve already gone to two sessions of physical therapy, which are held in a big open gym with a lot of other people who were sent there for respectable reasons that had nothing to do with watching too much television. 

There, I do twenty reps of the Backward Bend, the Press-Up, Bridging, and an array of other horrible exercises, all of which require a Neutral Spine. 

This doesn’t come easily to me. 

Not only because I hate working out, but because I’m not neutral about anything. 

I have opinions. 

My least favorite of the exercises is one called Isometric Stabilization, and the directions on the sheet say that I’m supposed to, “Tighten abdominal muscles as if tightening a belt.” 

In other words, suck it in. 

Oddly, I’ve been doing this exercise my entire life.  

In any photo of me, I’m engaging in Isometric Stabilization. 

Now I have a sheet of floor exercises to do three times a day at home, with pictures to show me the correct form. 

Oddly, none of the pictures show my dogs jumping on my head, licking my face, or walking across my chest while I do the exercises. 

Any pet owner who tries to work out at home knows how helpful dogs can be. 

If you have twenty reps to do, good luck getting through rep two. 

Or maybe they are helpful? 

Copyright © Lisa Scottoline