Things Strangers Say: The Trainer

by Amelia Kanan

He leaned towards me.

Was he saying something?

He ‘s too pretty – I was nervous.

I took the buds out of my ears.

“I’m sorry, were you talking to me?”

He said, “Yeah, I wanted to tell you that I think you’re beautiful”

“Oh, thank y-”

He cut me off.

He said, “Let me finish”


He continued, “You’re doing yourself a disservice by being overweight.”



I didn’t feel…upset.

Oddly, I felt kind of good.

“It’s how I protect myself from men like you.”

He laughed.

I knew exactly who this guy was.

He loved who he saw in the mirror but hated all the shit he couldn’t see.

He asked, “What do you do?”

That’s when I got annoyed.

I hate when people ask me that.

If I felt like being honest,

I would say, “I write and produce films and commercials”

But, this guy didn’t deserve my honesty.

And I really wanted to get back to my work.

“I do a lot of things.”

He thought I was trying to be cute and laughed.

I was confused.

“Has this been your fucked up attempt to start a conversation with me?”

With the most serious face, he said, “I’m a trainer.”


God damn.

Everyone is a fucking ‘trainer’, these days.

He said, “I train professional athletes.”

Oh no.

Did he see my internal eye roll?

I was probably doing that thing with my eyebrows.


I felt bad.

“Are you from here?”

He said, “I grew up in Iowa.”

Mmm hmmm.

Small town boy.

Never fit in.

Moved to the big city.

Needing to prove himself to all those kids who had teased him.


I hated myself.

I’m a bitch.

Assuming all that.

He asked, “Where are you from?”

Another question I hate.

“Lots of places.”

Again, he thought I was being playful.

Maybe I was…

Actually, no…I’m wasn’t.

He’s too pretty.

He should grow a beard.

I really wanted to get back to my work.

He asked, “What do you do for physical activity?”

Shut. The. Fuck. Up.

“I don’t know…”

He asked, “Have you ever thought about interval training?”


Yeah, bro.

I’ve done it.

I know all about your fucking intervals.

Little do you know how much I love to fucking sweat.

But, guess what?

I don’t want to right now.

Right now, I want to drink my dirty martini and zone the fuck out.

I smile, with pity written all over my face.

“I have never thought about interval training.”

After another hour

and another dirty martini

(that he bought)

we made out in the parking lot.

He said, “I’d be willing to work with you on shedding your shield.”

Two days later,

he texted me. “Bootcamp – tomorrow/7am?”

And that is how,

every true love story,