I wouldn’t call my mom a walking USMagazine, but as far as pop culture goes, she stays pretty up to date. Sometimes surprisingly so. Like that time she referenced Kanye and Kim as Kimye and asked me if I had any insight as to why they named their baby after a compass directional. Or like the time she used a Wiz Khalifa song about rolling joints for her ringtone.
Then sometimes, she pulls the mom card and reminds me that while parents can have the tendency to be cool, 90% of the time they are going to be your embarrassing parents who are at an age where being embarrassing just comes with the territory and is worn like a badge of honor.
My mom joined a gym recently so that she could lose weight to win a work bet that was placed at the beginning of the year. She is determined to win this year but instead of slowly working towards weight loss, she is fulfilling the traditional New Year’s resolution in reverse, only adding the gym recently to her regimen. She doesn’t have a strategy; she just knows that the same people win every year because everyone else stops making an attempt shortly after the sugar rush of Valentine’s Day fades off.
Because she’s a social person, she really only goes to classes at the gym and because she’s my mom, she likes to try out every class possible. So when the front desk attendant suggested to her the other day that she try a new class, she went for it without question.
“So I signed up for a class called twerkout,” she says to me casually last night as I’m brushing my teeth.
“You signed up for what?” I asked, sure I’d heard her right, but wanting to hear my mom say “twerk” again in that way people pronounce words that they think might not be real words.
“Twerkout. Twerkout.” She said as if I was supposed to quickly reconcile a bastardization of a word with total acceptance. I nodded for her to go on, cutting my electric toothbrush session short so I could take this all in uninterrupted. I knew that whatever was coming was worth the cavity I may have risked.
“Anyway, I got to the class and saw what those girls were doing….” she shook her head as if recalling a horrible nightmare. “Do you know what they were doing?” Before I could answer, she demonstrated her version of twerking which reminded me of Seinfeld’s Elaine dance which, in my mind was better than the alternative and fortunately not the life altering Jesus-I-cannot-unsee-that experience it could have been.
“I don’t know what those girls thought they were doing,” she continued, mystified by her own memory of the incident, ”I thought that was called booty bumping. It was just…just…I DON’T EVEN KNOW.” I stood there mouth agape, imagining my mom walking in on a class of 20somethings dry humping the air.
“So I said ‘oh no, I can’t stick around for this.’ I tried to leave and the teacher said ‘no no don’t leave! It’s so fun, you’ll like it!’ And I said ‘Look, I am just about the oldest woman in there-I can’t be doing all of this!’”
There was another woman in her 40s in the class who will now be known as the twerk enforcer as she convinced my mom to stay and finish the class.
“So you just stayed and kept…doing whatever that was you just did?” I asked.
“Yes! I really didn’t know what they were doing or really what was going on. So finally I asked, ‘Excuse me what’s a twerk?‘”
We’ve all heard our parents ask a question like that. A question that reminds us of the generational divide; it’s not so much what the question was, but how the question was asked. Like “What’s a Wi-Fi?” or “What’s a Lil Wayne?”
“Haven’t you been watching the news?” I howled, now laughing so hard that I was crying. “Why do you think everyone was getting so riled up about Miley Cyrus?”
“I wasn’t paying attention to what they were actually saying about her. I just knew she did something,” she paused and then added, ”I’ve heard of tweaking.”
“That’s not the same thing, that’s drugs!”
“I know that. Well anyway I lasted the class but I won’t be back. Who turns booty bumping into a fitness class anyway?”
I don’t know who does that, but my mom would be the one to find out.