Houston has been accused of having more overweight people than any other city. Makes sense. We also have more restaurants per capita than anywhere else. How do we countermand the charge of being an unhealthy fatty-fat-fat? With the Texas Women's Physique Expo.
It may sound like an excuse to have a gaggle of girlies strut their stuff, but there's more to it than just bikinis. Hey, it's an expo, and expo means merchandising. A variety of booths will be set up for those looking to learn more about how to improve their quality of life through fitness: spas, vitamin supplement manufacturers, health food stores, gyms and -- feeding into Houston's other stereotype, boob-job capital of the world -- plastic surgeons. Other sponsors include Gallery Furniture and Saba Blue Water Cafe. How do you work lounging with a cocktail on a La-Z-Boy into fitness? Okay, how about this: Get really fit and hot-looking; meet some other sexy thang at Saba; take him or her home with you and make the kissy-face on the La-Z-Boy. Ta-dah! It's just that easy.
The expo may have a hard time entertaining the average short attention span for a full six hours, even with TV megalomaniac Debra Duncan emceeing. That's where the haute-couture-meets-Lycra show comes in. The fitness attire fashion show breaks up all those pretty-pretties into easily digestible categories: runway, centerfold, fitness and bodybuilder. Ectomorphs, endomorphs, mesomorphs -- there's something for everybody.
The "runway" section accommodates thin women who resemble the svelte models sporting the latest styles from Paris and Milan. The "centerfold" category (probably not the most desirable name the expo could have come up with, yet descriptively efficient) gathers curvy women who are toned but not buff. The "fitness" group is the muscular yet lean type. Guys, picture the girl at the gym you could never approach because you know the rejection would burn worse than cheap gin. Then there's "bodybuilder." This is the muscular maiden -- the one Jim Carrey satirized with his "Venus de Milo" character on In Living Color, the one who looks a lot like a man in a ponytail and a bikini, the one to whom you'd never say any of these things because she'd rip your head clean off with her powerful thighs.
For each category there's a first, second and third prize, including at least a thousand dollars and substantial gift certificates for workout clothes and jewelry. The overall winner receives additional money, certificates and a fur from Saks, making her almost ten grand richer than she was before she had her last-minute precompetition tanning session.
All this should be enough to demonstrate that H-town boasts a capable "fitness-conscious" culture. Of course, now the city will have to deal with a new stereotype: shallowness.