The Peloton Ad: My Take

If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change. – Wayne Dyer

By now, I’m sure you’ve heard about the “controversial” Peloton ad which a bunch of strangers using the soapbox that is Twitter have labeled “sexist.”

In case you haven’t, here it is (for as long as they keep in on YouTube).

I’ve read the opinions and articles on this ad. I’ve watched it a few times for the sake of this blog post. The analysis from the court of public opinion has ranged from a husband who bought the bike for his wife because he is obsessed with keeping her in shape to a husband that is abusive toward her.

Yeesh. The vitriol! I’m absolutely amazed by how many people turned out to be relationship experts and knew their status and history after watching a 30-second spot. In fact, the actor who plays the husband recently spoke out and is now worried about how the backlash from every Tom, Dick and Harry may be damaging his career.

Meanwhile, the actress who played the wife got a gig for Ryan Reynolds’ Aviation Gin as a way to poke back at how the Peloton ad was perceived by the Twitterverse (or if you’ve been blogging for 15 years like me, the blogosphere).

At this point, another opinion about this doesn’t really make much of a difference because the consensus is that she’s more or less in a blink-if-you’re-in-danger relationship and she needs to workout – or else.

But I’m going to give you mine anyway. And because the ad has already been chastised and labeled as wrong, I’m going to look beyond the surface and try to put a positive light on it because hey, what else should I be doing on a Saturday night, right?

First, let’s be honest. At a starting price of over $2,000 (not including membership), this is not a cheap gift. Granted, the ad does depict them as affluent and not necessarily concerned about the cost but maybe, just maybe, she actually wanted the bike, hence her surprise.

It sounds silly, I know. But why would she want it? Perhaps she lives in a town where inclement weather is commonplace – the ad does show it snowing in one scene. Or perhaps she tried spin classes and it turns out she’s not a fan of being in a hot, sweaty, trainer-yelling-in-your-face environment. Honestly, I don’t care much for gyms either because the scenery never changes whether you’re on the stationary bike or treadmill. I’d rather be outside breathing fresh air and logging actual miles riding to the beach and back which is possible year-round where I live.

Then there’s the new GritCycle gym that just opened up in a shopping complex down the street from us. The place is so packed that we can hardly find parking if we just want to go for a tea. I wouldn’t want to deal with that, either.

Another criticism of the ad was that she doesn’t look like she needs to lose weight, hence the theory about hubby making her do the workouts. While I was never a fan of fitness ads depicting thin people trying to be thin, it’s not always about what you see on the surface.

Near the end of the spot, where she documents her progress throughout by shooting video selfies, she looks into the camera and says, “A year ago, I didn’t realize how much this would change me. Thank you.”

As you may have read in my previous posts, over a year ago my wife was diagnosed with kidney cancer and had a nephrectomy on October 2018. The road to recovery after any surgery, let alone one where they removed two organs and the fat pocket surrounding them, is not an easy one and getting back into the swing of things can prove to be difficult.

One of the things all of her –ologists recommended was being less sedentary once her recovery was complete – and that’s exactly what we’ve done. Last August, we paid for the annual parking pass for our local park so that I can aid in her recovery by either walking or cycling with her around the park or neighboring nature center trails.

To see her now, logging up to 5 miles either on foot or riding the saddle, you would never know that I took a week vacation last year to sleep next to her in a lounge chair while she slept on the couch – her stitches prevented her from climbing in and out of bed – to help her get up and sit down whenever she needed it. She’s now cancer-free and getting her doctor-recommended dose of exercise. Because of everything she’s gone through, she’s also the strongest woman I know. Let’s not even talk about her difficult pregnancy.

Although you would never know by her appearance, perhaps Peloton Wife falls into a similar category and her daily workouts are her way of proving to everyone that she’s not only on the road to recovery but getting stronger by the day – even when she begrudgingly wakes up at 6 am to work out (believe me, my wife and I have been there). Recovery takes strength and determination, both of which are shown in the ad.

And there you have it. I just spent a good amount of time analyzing a commercial that in today’s viral-obsessed world nobody will even care about in a week. But my point was that we don’t always know the backstory nor should we pretend to. This was just a way of, based on my personal experience, shedding a different light on what so many saw as a negative depiction of a relationship.

Because if you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.

It’s None Of Your Business

0001820053030_500X500Sometimes it’s just better to keep your mouth shut.

It was a busy, long night at work and our lead cashier – she’s been on the job almost as long as I’ve been alive – was working the long shift with myself and the manager. It was late, we were counting down the minutes until it was time to go home…a long night.

She bought us packs of Mike & Ikes and Hot Tamales just to keep us going.

Later, she made the “store closed” announcement and a few people rolled up to her register to pay for their goods. The first gentleman had filled his cart with liquids: lots of individual bottles of water and a ton of Gatorade. I mean his cart was full of Gatorade bottles in every flavor (or as most people choose Gatorade, color). But hey, it’s on sale and there was a minimum purchase (88 cents with a minimum of 8 bottles) so he stocked up. I’m sure I would have done the same if I needed that many bottles.

The guy was waiting for his significant other – wife or girlfriend, I dunno – to return with a few items she was still looking for. That’s when the customer behind him looked inside his cart with amazement and spoke up.

“You know, I have to ask you. Why so many bottles of Gatorade? I mean, that’s a LOT of bottles of the stuff.” The guy just kept on rambling on about the quantity of the man’s purchase and really wouldn’t shut up about it. I was called away to do other tasks as he continued to probe the guy about his purchase.

I later came to find out that our cashier, tired of his incredulous and downright stupid remarks, sternly looked at him and offered this gem.

“So? You’re buying 30 cans of beer.”

Touche, my friend. Touche. I was almost in tears laughing when she told us this.

And you know what? She’s absolutely right and I know why she said that.

So what if the guy is buying 32 bottles of Gatorade. What’s the big deal? Maybe he likes it. Maybe he’s the coach of a team. Maybe his body requires more electrolytes than the average person.

The other guy was buying a Bud Light case comprised of 30 cans of beer. At least there are benefits to drinking the Gatorade.

Mr. Beer Can had no room to speak up, and the cashier later told us she didn’t think he even heard her comment because he just couldn’t shut up about someone else’s purchase.

Honestly, dude. It’s none of your business. He could have been buying cases of Fleet enemas and it still would be nothing for you to be concerned about. Now can we make all sorts of assumptions about you being in the store after midnight, by yourself and buying 30 cans of beer?

Yeah, I didn’t think so. Because that would be rude.

Frustration

Have you ever been in a situation where you’ve been so frustrated that you just throw your hands up and want to walk away from it?

That’s what we’re dealing with now. Without getting into too much detail, it involves all of us and an organization to which Anthony belongs but not for much longer.

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We’ve voiced our concerns about the way things were handled via email and Twitter, the latter of which garnered an email from the organization’s president. Humorously, they seemed concerned that my tweet might give a bad impression to all 35 of their followers, a Twitter account that contains tweets unrelated to this organization as well as the last tweet – 1 of 90 total – dated sometime in July.

It was telling me, the guy with over 7,200 tweets since 2007 and a few celebrity followers, how Twitter works. I’m pretty sure I know how.

But back to the point. As I continue to weave my way down the path of enlightenment and deal with situations the best possible way I can, there are sometimes certain dynamics involved that will put your patience to the test and we’ve encountered them here. I admit to being reasonably hot-headed when I read the email from the president which implied that, being neophytes to the organization, our ignorance was the source of the problem.

I agreed to disagree and did not reply. Instead, I sent an email to another person involved in the organization whom I spoke with yesterday, indicating that what we discussed was somehow accepted and justified in the president’s email.

Action speaks louder than words, so action will it will be. It was apparent to me that nothing would be taken care of and that nepotism is still alive and well. Dealing with this organization is no longer worth the effort for any of us, so Anthony has agreed to part ways and continue doing what he loves with the organizations he’s dealt with in the past, all of which have been excellent.

As for this one, well, all I can wish them is good luck because if our experience was any indication of how things are run, they will need it.