When I was a young 7-year-old child (I’m now 27 born in 1989) in early 1997, I caught my first glimpse of sweat guru Richard Simmons. I don’t remember what exactly he was doing when I first saw him, but it was probably something like this. This was an eye-opening experience for such a young boy growing up sheltered in the midwest. I simply didn’t get it.
None of the men I knew at that point in my life talked or acted like that. He was a grown man, with curly hair, who talked like a girl, skipped around in short shorts, and was leading a group of women in a cardio workout. He has quite the personality, to say the least. This was a bunch of paradoxes I couldn’t reconcile. Hell didn’t even know what “paradox” meant at age 7.
Between that first “run-in” with Richard and today, August 8, 2016, I’ve seen the man on TV only a handful of times. All in all there’s definitely been less than 20 instances of me hearing about the guy in the past 20 years. At least 3 of these times have been on the Howard Stern Show, where he is a popular punchline.
Well, randomly today, I started thinking about him. There must have been a disturbing, repressed, memory lodged deep somewhere in my brain that got triggered by something insidious in my environment today. I don’t know what it was, nor do I even have a hunch, but I bet it would give even the late Sigmund Freud the heebie jeebies. Anyways, it’s a good question, what is Richard up to? I honestly haven’t heard anything about him in well over a year.
So, here’s some background on Richard Simmons. He was born July 12, 1948 – making him 68 years old. Almost exactly 4o years older than me! Too bad I couldn’t have published this post on his birthday. Oh well, maybe next time. He grew up in Louisiana as a Catholic (even though his momma was Jewish). By the time he graduated high school, he was 5’7″ 268 lbs. That’s really big for someone who’s 5 foot 7 inches. I’m 5’10” 225 lbs. with a layer of muscle and I feel fat and look fat. No wonder he took the career path he did.
Around the time of his high school graduation, Simmons flirted with the possibility of becoming a Catholic priest. Is it just me or does that joke almost write itself? I’m not taking that bait. After college, he moved to New York, then Los Angeles. In LA he opened “Asylum”, now called “Simmons” and still in operation at 9306 Civic Center Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210. It was in LA that dropped 123 lbs, down from a high of 268 lbs. For all you math majors, he was down to 145 lbs. There’s no argument about it, definitely a great achievement and inspirational.
Here’s an hour-long Simmons led workout. Definitely geared more towards women, but I can see how it took off in popularity. It was something different. It was someone different. Not a big manly beefcake of a man who was going to try to bang you. Not a woman who was bitchy and had an attitude. But a feminine man who was not threatening and also dropped over a hundred pounds, so he was credible. He was also entertaining, and I’m sure the people exercising with him were having fun. At the very least, it was clear he was having fun. And at the end of the day, that’s all that counts.
Not that it matters, but Richard Simmons has never publicly confirmed his sexual orientation. Who really cares what he does in his private life? I for one think he’s straight. Flamboyant yes, but maybe it was all an act, or a ruse. He was around women constantly, his workout videos are marketed to women. For the most part, all the participants in his videos are women. I think he’s not only straight but a big time pimp. It’s a free country and we’re all allowed to have our own opinions.
Over the course of his career, Simmons estimated he’s been the inspiration behind the loss of 12 million pounds. That’s a pretty impressive claim. Its believable too, considering he’s released so many workout tapes and started his own fitness studio.
Unfortunately, in the past 2 years, we haven’t heard much from the man. Other than he was in the hospital in early 2016. I’m very happy he’s out and home safe. And also in early 2015, the LAPD made a welfare check on him and confirmed he, not the housekeeper, was in control of his life. Keep the man in your prayers and respect all he’s accomplished.
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