I’m gonna get flamed for this, and I don’t care. I can’t stand Zumba. I’ve gone. I’ve done it. I’ve taken the classes and I’ve shimmied and wiggled and it can even be fun. The teacher at my gym is a nice woman, and I like her. But here is where it lost me: The jingle scarves.

I’m serious about weight loss. Dead serious. I’ve lost almost 50 pounds since January when I joined the YMCA and began finally taking better care of myself. This is no fluff-piece from someone who doesn’t know how hard it is to lose weight. I do. Boy howdy, do I ever.

So I went to Zumba. While I have come to love weight-training, I abhor the treadmill and am always looking for new ways to get some good cardio in- and Zumba works. But gradually something changed. Women would be talking in the locker room with a glazed look in their eyes about the glories of Zumba. They would ramble on about super-fantastic it is, and if you gave a non-committal shrug, they would renew their proselytizing efforts with great vigor. Fervor, I believe, is the right word.

Then the outfits started showing up. I got to the gym several times each week, and wear my workout pants and a t-shirt. My iPod tucks under my bra strap, and all is hunky dory. But I see more and more women wearing these specific pants- nylon with zippers topped with dangling ribbons of nylon webbing. ZUMBA is embroidered, without fail, across their butts and on the lanyards. Each pair of pants has at least four of the dangling ribbons, presumably to help you shake your groove thing as you Zumba. Each pair of pants will set you back $60-$75. Not my thing, but whatever.

The proselytizing grew more intense. Several times I was approached about buying Zumba pants- evidently my Target $14 workout pants were gauche. I don’t come to the gym to be hip. I come to lose some of my hips. When I was fifteen, I liked things that brought attention to me. Now, in my thirties, I don’t need dangling ribbons to make myself feel cool. And frankly, I think you look dumb with yours. Especially when 30 other women in the gym are wearing the same pants.

But that was still all tolerable. Then came the jingle scarves.

Maybe they have an official name to the Zumba-ites, but to me they look like something I tied around my hips when I followed the Dead back before the dawn of time. It’s a silky scarf, adorned with jingling, shimmying gold or silver-toned metal disks, that is designed to be tied around the hips while you Zumba. Over your Zumba pants, of course. Presumably, this is also to help you with your hip-shaking and belly-dancing. The clatter is annoying- legions of women with special pants, and pretty, expensive hip-accessories is not why I come to the gym. It’s become a fashion statement instead of a workout.

The last straw was this last Saturday. It was an anniversary party at my gym. And the TV crews were on-hand, for a big exhibition of Zumba. The music was so loud I couldn’t even hear the day-care lady, and it was wall-to-wall people, all trying to catch the latest fad, Zumba. The ladies had shown up en force, with their lanyard pants and their hippy scarves, and the clatter was commendable. I pushed my way to the locker room, just trying to get upstairs to get on an eliptical. To my surprise, once upstairs, it was quiet and empty. All the mayhem was down watching the shaking jingle butts. What a relief.

This may be sour grapes. I mean, so what? Who cares if some people get off on their accessories? Yeah, maybe. But it’s hard enough for those of really fighting the good fight and getting healthy. This crap is a fashion craze that will burn out like headbands and legwarmers before them. Zumba is an aerobics class- nothing more. It’s not the second coming. It’s annoying. Now get out of my way while I go do some cardio in my plain old Target pants.

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