“Wait, I know you!” The teacher stared down at me quizzically as we both waited for the recognition to come. “You are… the girl with the questions!”
The last time I came to this Jujitsu class they refused to let me try it so instead I peppered them with questions for half an hour – How did you get into MMA? How long have you been doing this? Have you ever been choked out? How many holds are there? Did you really just say “rear naked choke hold”? – until they relented and said I could come back. (I’m guessing for laughs).
But this night I smiled and answered with – what else? – a question. “Where do I start?” And thus began my first official MMA lesson. Over the past few weeks at Life Time Fitness I’ve tried out lots of the classes in their MMA program: boxing (loved it but I’m way stronger in my lower body), conditioning (I honestly don’t think I’ve ever been sweatier in my entire life), kickboxing and then finally a combination of jujitsu (grappling) and MMA conditioning (we did spider push-ups where you crawl up a wall backwards into a handstand! While wearing boxing gloves!) for two hours last night.
But all my questions landed me in a very strange position: Straddling my friend Cassie and feeling her up while I tried to figure out how to get her into a head lock. (She was such a good sport!) This wouldn’t be the first time my questions have got me into a bizarre situation. In fact, just last Saturday I found myself in a very crowded park surrounded by a bunch of gorgeous Amazon women in lingerie playing football while a bunch of guys worked a slackline nearby and pretended not to notice. Thankfully my job was not to play the lingerie football but rather to ask the questions. And I learned a lot! I kind of fell in love with those girls because, as I discovered in interview after interview, they’re not in it for the lingerie, they’re in it because they love football, they’re great at it and the Lingerie Football League is the only professional women’s football organization in this country. So if you want to be pro, you gotta wear the panties. (I’m actually not sure of the veracity of this assertion. I googled “professional women’s football leagues USA” and found 3 but none of them seem to pay their players – although it was hard to tell – so perhaps the girls who said this meant “pro” as in they get paid to play?)
I love to ask questions. Because I love people. I love everything about people and therefore I want to know everything there is to know about them. I want to know where you are born and why you left. I want to know if you are religious and if so what kind. I want to know what kind of kid you were in high school. I want to know what your preferred method of spider killing is. I want to know how many siblings you have and if you think frozen yogurt is better than ice cream and if you cried when you first read The Diary of Anne Frank. I want to know how you workout and what diet philosophy you subscribe to and if you’ve ever tried aerial yoga. Hey I even care if your urine is neon, if you wear underwear under your gym pants and if you fantasize about zombies when you run.
Creeped out yet? Back before I was a writer and got to do all this under the auspices of “interviews” for “work” I was still asking all the questions but it just made me seem way weirder. Now I’m still the weird Girl With the Questions but I’m also now the Girl Who Gets the Answers. (Also, I think I’m pretty decent at knowing when people want me to stop asking questions and back off already. I hope.)
This curiosity: It’s why I mainly only read memoirs or biographies. It’s why I watch documentaries. Heck, it’s why I love public transportation (captive subjects)! I have little patience for fiction or fantasy because real people are so fascinating. Anyone remember that dart board Oprah used to have where she’d pick a random seat in her studio audience and then ask that person about their life story? My dream job. (Dart throwing included. I love darts!)
Of course there’s a twist: being The Girl With the Questions usually means I don’t get asked many questions myself. And I like it that way. While I am an open book – if you’ve read this site for more than 10 minutes you know that I will tell you way more than you ever wanted to know about me – the information I choose to share is selected. By me. There are some things I just don’t talk about (I know, I’m as shocked as you are). And while there are very few reader questions I get that I don’t want to answer (seriously I love your e-mails SO much!) answering my own questions is harder. For instance, why am I so interested in MMA – a sport known for brutalizing other human beings? Any answer I come up with to this question makes me really uncomfortable. I like punching things. I love kicking things. Doing the “ground and pound” last night (where you straddle a heavy bag on the floor and punch, kick, elbow and knee the crap out of it) was one of the most exhilarating workouts I’ve ever done. But where does this violence come from*? And, more importantly, where is it taking me? So far I don’t have any urge to punch actual people. Should I be indulging this instinct or squelching it? This fire, it scares me.
My lesson stopped with me getting called out 15 minutes before class ended to change a poopy diaper. Snap back to reality! The questions my life is made up of: Where’s your brother? Why do you only have one shoe on? Where’s your other brother? Why do you have a footprint on your back? Who gave the baby markers? Who loves you? Will you give mommy some kisses??
The Girl With the Questions. I’ll take it.
Are you overly curious about other people too? Anyone else have a weird violent streak? Does it freak you out too? What is the actual definition of a “pro” sports team?! (And feel free to answer any of the above questions too! I’d love to know your answers!)
*And no, it’s not because I’m a natural fighter and am just so good at it. Trainer Steve, a boxer himself, says that when it comes to punching either you’ve got it or don’t. I’m 99% sure I don’t got it.