Straighten Up

New Stances Sharpen Traditional Disciplines

But isn't detachment something that gets in the way of love and experiencing life fully?

"Ironic people," says the Brooklyn native, "are not detached. We stand back and observe, but that's our way of being involved! It's the writer's way, the artist's way."

How does the irony affect the therapy? Is the therapy itself ironic?

Balance your body: aura and chakras from Gay Witchcraft,
image: Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC
Balance your body: aura and chakras from Gay Witchcraft,

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"No. It's just like a language that I speak, and it's often the language of certain people who can't find a voice in the mainstream community where therapy resides. What's most important is that you feel the therapist has the ability to understand you, to 'get' your experience. And that's why I seem to do well with clients who regard life with a slightly cocked eyebrow.

"People are afraid of being humiliated, of feeling ashamed, so they hide from themselves and others, but by hiding they also hide the best parts of themselves, the odd, exciting, freaky, underground parts—the parts novelists write about and painters paint about. I think that the ability to have relationships in the world and do interesting work is a matter of feeling good enough about who you are. It's not the contents of your personality that determine how 'OK' you are, it's how you feel about the contents!

"Irony is a particularly useful stance in therapy. Seeing the world with ironic detachment is similar to what the Buddhists tell us to work toward—a giving up of attachments or rigid beliefs that get in the way of directly experiencing the world. Irony is a wonderful tool for examining things. You can stand back and watch yourself feel and think. Gradually you change from believing that there is an 'objective,' immutable 'reality' (e.g., 'I'm shy,' 'Men don't like me,' 'I'll never get out of this dead-end job,' etc.) to seeing how your beliefs and attitudes are really just thoughts—and thoughts can be changed—and that it's actually your own subjectivity that's getting in your way! Once you see that, you start to see that actually there are no limits to what you can think, feel, and do." —Elizabeth Zimmer

Liz Margoshes, 156 Fifth Avenue, suite 508, 212-242-1933, ironictherapist.com. Fee: Sliding scale based on income ranges from $65 to $125 per session.


Flash Fitness

Tit-shaking and ass-smacking replace "crunches" and push-ups at Heidi Selz's "Cardio Striptease" classes, held at four downtown Crunch Fitness Clubs, where dozens of diversely shaped gymgoers get a hardcore workout to tunes by the likes of Madonna and Christina Aguilera. Trainers Selz and Carl Hall, who offer the hour-long sessions, assign "take-home" routines, encouraging students of all sexes to show their stuff at least twice before their next visit. The curriculum includes across-the-floor struts, lap dancing, and sometimes pole dancing. Birthday girls get lap dances from classmates and some stay after to perfect their naughty moves. Rowdy yelps and gyrations escalate as the lights dim; tank tops and workout pants go flying to reveal sports bras, spandex shorts, and occasionally boxers. No "full monty" here, but Selz says her sex-saturated steps aim to "translate from the bedroom to the gym, and from the gym to the bedroom." Crunch's "no judgment" policy cloaks the raunchy fun with a safe-space feel (though the spectator quotient is higher than average); the classes are easily accessible and focused on fitness. They're offered at Crunch locations nationwide. You can also sign up for "Knock-Down-Drag-Out," an aerobic/body-sculpting class, taught by a top gender impersonator. —Meital Waibsnaider

623 Broadway and other locations, 212-420-0507, crunch.com. Early-evening times on weeknights, with a 4 p.m. session on Saturday.

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