In the superficial gay world we live in the very thought of turning 50 is akin to going on a slide — it’s downhill all the way.

I view ageing differently. For me, my salt and pepper hair and facial lines give me
character and credibility. I consider ageing a plus, not a liability.

But there is one thing about getting older I don’t particularly like to see when I look in the mirror. It’s a body that’s been ‘let go’ over the decades and has accumulated sags and bags from neglect.

A year before turning 50 I resolved to get myself into shape in time for my half-century and, just as importantly, be able to squeeze into a pair of tight, white, sequined shorts for Mardi Gras in 2011.

With the clock ticking I joined Fitness First at Newtown. But I knew that wouldn’t be enough. I needed motivation and found it in the pleasing form of a personal trainer called Jared. A former dancer at Jupiter’s Casino, Jared was every gay man’s dream: easy on the eye, gym-defined, and with a killer smile.

But Jared wasn’t just a pretty face. He was that rare thing — a personal trainer who knew his stuff. He gave me advice on everything from what to eat to how to train. He was patient, friendly, attentive and considerate — and I didn’t mind having to pay him by the hour.

He also knew how to make me work hard and if I didn’t turn up for a session I’d receive a firm but polite text message that subtly suggested I’d let myself down on my journey to achieving the perfect body.

Our workouts were a mixture of the serious, pumping iron, sweating and groaning, to the light-hearted, talking about the latest Lady Gaga video clip or scrap of gay gossip.

Working out in a gym with such a large gay clientele means there are many distractions and, like any red-blooded gay man, it was sometimes hard to concentrate on the weights for the men. One in particular, a short, muscly, Asian man with very short green shorts and white singlet regularly sashayed past my bench as I sweated away.

And many a time Jared would have to say, “Concentrate Paul!” But the last thing I was interested in was having a quick liaison in the gym. My goal was a new body.

After six months of hard gym work the former fat belly had definition, the scrawny arms now had biceps and the chest actually stuck out. I’d gone from flab to fab. Now I could look forward to a double celebration — my 50th and donning those tight white sequined shorts to dance the night away at the next Mardi Gras. I’d also proudly tell the gay world that while the shorts were Aussie Boys the body was courtesy of my other designer, Jared.

info: Jared Doyle jared.pt@live.com.au

By PAUL PURCELL
Guest columnist

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