Many years ago, during one of our first visits to legendary jetset spot Jose Ignancio, Dehouche recalls looking on, somewhat dumbfounded, at an array of Coca Cola light ‘chill out’ stands scattered across the bluff of Jose Ignancio beach. A steady queue of lounging lotharios had formed, not to take advantage of the free drinks on offer, but to step up on the raised podium and have a turn ogling the outrageously goodlooking girls prancing across the shore through binoculars ( courtesy of some brilliant marketing mind at Coca Cola). Baywatch, or in this case, Babewatch style.
It comes as no surprise therefore that Argentineans are, as a nation, a combination of voyeurs and exhibitionists. They love nothing more than to watch and perform: from the dramatic government elections that have just kicked off, candidates preening and cajoling as only the best telenovela stars know how, to a casual stroll down the aisles of supermarket Disco, they are peacocks on parade.
No-where is this more apparent, and surprising, than in the gym. British-run, Dehouche comes from a culture proud of its deep aversion to trainers and treadmills, much happier somewhere between the sofa and the pub. During any time of lengthy foray abroad however, there is nothing more valuable than a few hours invested in working out, for the cultural insights to be gained are unparalleled. Avid readers may remember a previous fashion post detailing the eccentricities of Brazilian all-in-one lycra outfits combined with pulled up white socks ( the rational behind whiche still remains a mystery).
Don’t get confused if you jump across the border, for in Argentina the G in Gym stands for Glamour. Matching outfits, short shorts, perfectly preened flowing locks and screen-ready make up: Why all the effort to work out you may wonder? Because the gym in Argentina is not for mere exercising (ofcourse) but instead an exercise in window shopping, where customers can browse what’s on offer without any form of commitment. Dehouche snuck into Megatlon Belgrano, one of the city’s finest work-out chains, to take a closer look.
For first timers, Belgrano lies a little further beyond Palermo and is definitelyworth a stop, a well heeled barrio favoured by footballers wives lunching in charming alfresco cafes (try Felicidad on Migueletes) after browsing the boutiques.
Enter Megatlon and you will be greeted by an army of exercise machines that lie in strict rows and look directly onto a wall to ceiling window, a large studio, where a constant rotation of argentine lovelies take part in Erik Pridz style workouts. Unlike most gyms, there are no tvs or music stations… this is the entertainment. Despite intial feelings of horror, on reflection it seems to work so well: An ingenious business model. The treadmills are packed to the brim with silver foxes, speed set to slow to limit the possibility of falling off as they scout with owl-esque head swivels around the room. Through the glass, the plastic surgery bunnies and youthful beauties push themselves that much harder because they know they are on show. We might all finish the last few leg lifts properly if we knew there were 20 people watching us…
How to work it like a true Argie Gym bunny
1.Age is not an issue: you may be old enough to get a free bus pass but this is just an excuse for more botox. Get on down there grandma.
2.Plastic fantastic:There is nothing like the awkward bounce of silicone on the running machine, the less movement the better.
3.Appearances are not deceiving: Don’t’ come in less than perfect makeup/the latest gear/ blowdried hair and don’t even think about breaking into a sweat.
4.Gang up– if you are a man, come with a friend, in fact the older you are, the more you should bring. No better place to boast to your cronies than over the weights machine, where all and sundry can hear of your latest business conquests.
5. Eye catching: Although yet to try this- instinct tell us, don’t do it. Don’t look anyone in the eye, ever. Who knows where it could get you.
Being based in Latin America means Dehouche have the inside track on cultural idiosyncrasies and can advise you on the most bizarre and interesting of local customs as well as booking you a fantastic tailor-made trip. In need of that extra work-out motivation?! Send us an email and we will plan your dream experience.