Monday, December 19, 2011

Bonnie Prudden

In my early 20’s I was a dance student and worked part-time teaching dance to kids and adults to pay my way. I worked a lot at the YWCA in Pittsburgh and when I had time I took the other classes they offered. Several of the fitness teachers were crazy about a woman named Bonnie Prudden who had a new style of exercise. We all practiced it and we exercised to her records. Yes—we exercised to records—33rpm—and listed to the instructions and looked at photos on the album cover. Seems crazy now that we have videos, cd’s and YouTube exercise teachers.

But Bonnie was something else. Her exercise was aerobic and dancelike and strength building and she was funny! She talked about women’s real bodies and real lives as she taught.

The YWCA teachers—all older --invited me along on a trip to Connecticut to spend a week with Miss Prudden. We trained with her and were exposed to a new course she was developing called “Sexercise” so radical and amazing. Again, she talked about real life, real women’s bodies and real women’s sex life—and the impact on marriage. My eyes were big!

On the way home with women who were “older” 40’s and 50’s I heard those women talk about their marriages and sex lives. Again eye opening. I’m sure that those “gym teachers” and Bonnie Prudden reinforced my belief in sex and sexy marriages as healthy, fun and essential to happiness.

Bonnie Prudden died on December 11th at age 97. Her New York Times obituary says she was still exercising every day.

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