Taking My Rugby-Playing Boyfriend To SoulCycle: A Romantic Account

by Gabriela Keiderling · June 18, 2019

    It’s normally pretty cute when you start dating a guy and he wants to learn what you like to do. It’s normally even cuter when they actually want to do it with you. Except in this case.

    I wouldn’t call myself obsessed with SoulCycle, I would just say that I like to do it about three times a week and have done approximately 353 rides and counting. So it was only a matter of time before I called to tell him that I booked his bike on Friday afternoon in Union Square.

    Two hours before he texted me asking if he was allowed to wear yellow. I thought he was joking, but then realized he wasn’t so I informed him it would be very appropriate. He showed up in yellow and grey and was in accidental union with the iconic SoulCycle colors on the walls around him.

    He walked up to the front desk with a big dimpled smile. He had always thought of himself as fit; he played Rugby for fifteen years, has biked hundreds of miles, and even climbed something called Mount Shasta which I Googled and is quite dangerous. Being this big tough guy, getting him down the narrow stairs and squeezing past girls in sports bras with his camo North Face hiking backpack was enough of a struggle.

    We shoved our bags into one of the white lockers, and then it was time to enter the studio. As soon as we walked into the dimly lit room I knew my boyfriend was regretting his decision. He gave me a look, one that seemed to say, There are four decorative candles that provide no purpose other than to give the ambiance of a succulent nursery, it smells like burning sage and there are inspirational words across the walls trapping me into this chamber.

    Once the instructor strode into the room, I realized that I had made one mistake. In my rush to book the class, I hadn’t considered who exactly was teaching it. And not to name names per say, but this instructor did not help combat the stereotype of a workout for the “soul.” She looked like a buff peacock, and every other word out of her mouth came straight out of a discount Valentine’s Day card. She did have decent taste in music, but she seemed to think that the audio volume should match the strobe effect of the lights.

    While the class passed in a blur for me, I cannot say the same for him. I was sitting in front of him, and when I would occasionally catch a glimpse of him in the mirror, there was a full on Hunchback of Notre Dame pedaling his bike like he was on crack. He was gripping his handle bars so hard that I thought his muscles might jump out of his biceps. At one point, the instructor hopped off her bike and went over to check to make sure he was okay. And when the class ended, I heard an audible sigh of relief.

    When we came out of the class, both of us were laughing. Well, he was after he caught his breath.

    He looked like he took a dive in the ocean. Fully clothed. His light brown hair was now dark, slicked back with sweat, and when he shook his head once it covered my arm in salty droplets.

    On the way home, the whole subway car was front row to his emphatic impersonation of his favorite moment in class:

    “Come on, guys,” he said, sweeping his arms wide and puffing out his chest, in an attempt to imitate the instructor’s stance. “You got to like, fill up your bag with all the candy like you are a kid on Halloween. You don’t just take one piece you need to fill that bag up!”

    I don’t really think he is going to be rushing back to SoulCycle anytime soon, and I don’t think I’m going to make him. It was a good workout, and a good laugh, and that was really all that mattered.

    I’m just hoping he doesn’t try and flip this around. Rugby is not a good look on me.

    [Photos via @soulcycle]