"For those that look at a gym as a selfie opportunity, a place solely dedicated to performance-oriented training or a workout that needs to be done, you can probably find a gym that’s more affordable..."
Said Sebastian Schoepe, an executive at a fitness outfit called Heimat, quoted in "Think Getting Into College Is Hard? Try Applying for These Gyms. A new crop of luxury gyms requires referrals, interviews and even, in some cases, medical evaluations. And that’s before paying a monthly fee of up to $2,750" (NYT).
So... they discriminate fiercely, but against whom? Is it too subtle to puzzle out — too hard to identify as something known to be wrong, like the admissions process at an elite law school?
I thought maybe the name was a signal. What's "heimat"? Sounds German. Oh! It's the German word for "homeland"! Here's the Wikipedia page, "Heimat":
Am I in the right gym?
The word has connotations specific to German culture, German society and specifically German Romanticism, German nationalism, German statehood and regionalism so that it has no exact English equivalent....Greverus (1979) focuses especially on the concept of identity. To him, "heimat" is an "idyllic world" and can only be found within the trinity of community, space and tradition; because only there human desires for identity, safety and an active designing of life can be pleased....
The concept of "Heimat" is closely associated with the present – as its meaning is established in a particular moment – and aims to provide an answer to a central question: Am I in the right place? Which place in the world do I want to make my home?”...
[Leary attempted] to describe what makes the perfect Remedy member: It’s someone, he said, “who will shine bright and help teach people the changes that need to happen.”
I think he's saying — in so many words — that beautiful people "teach" — by example — that non-beautiful people "need" to "change" into something more nearly beautiful. In other words, you learn, by seeing beautiful people, what you already knew when you decided to go to the gym: You need to get/stay in shape. Beautiful people also "teach" us another thing that we already know: Beauty is lovely and desirable.
The “who” for a majority of these gyms tends to be “cool” people in general, said John Atwood, the managing partner of Atwood Consulting in Boston, which specializes in health clubs. “If you’re making widgets in Akron, Ohio, they may not want you, even if you have an apartment in New York,” said Mr. Atwood, comparing the selection process to how exclusive club bouncers choose people to enter their venues. “They’re looking for cool people.”
Atwood isn't making widgets in Akron, but he's only able to think of the example of making widgets in Akron as something uncool. Is consulting in Boston cool? Is it cooler or less cool if the name of your firm is just your own name followed by "Consulting"? There's a question that answers itself. I think this paragraph is cool, but I don't think that's the kind of cool they want for this gym, and I'd like to know what proportion of the "memberships" are paid for, full price, and who pays full price, and whether young beautiful women are gathered in for the purposes of "shining bright" and "teaching" wealthy older men to want what they already know they want. Because that would make the place, actually, the height of uncoolness.
It's no surprise that this NYT article — which reads like a promo for the luxury gym industry — lacks a comments section. The commenters are shut out, like uncool people trying to join a luxury gym. Ironically, they're the only ones who'd be saying anything cool... them, and me, over here... in my remote outpost in
Akron, Ohio Madison, Wisconsin.
IN THE COMMENTS: Yancey Ward found an ad for one of these gyms: