SoulCycle's been around for nine years now. It's here to stay. So why do I still want to shake people when they start schilling Soul?
Well, somehow, ever since I graduated from college (2014) and moved back to New York City, it's become my business. It's f—ing everywhere. Shirts, sweatshirts, pants, socks, candles (I'm serious.). My boss is #obsessed.
I've even been invited to SoulCycle birthday parties. How can you consider yourself a good friend if you're asking me — a 23 year-old trying to pay rent in the city — to spend almost $40 on a workout for your birthday? (I offered to cook her dinner instead.)
In this city, a T-shirt with the SoulCycle wheel is a status symbol, a display of wealth masked by this intangible idea of "Soul." At least Chanel's interlocking Cs don't pretend to convey anything but money.
But what irks me most is the cultishness. One woman I know thinks that, because she goes to SoulCycle every day — sometimes twice a day — she is enlightened and the rest of us are just lost souls who haven't yet seen the light.
She somehow manages to weave SoulCycle into every conversation.
"Stacey said I killed it in front of the whole class today!"
She mistakes my blank stare for genuine interest and my silence for an invitation to keep talking.
"I think it would really help you with your stress."
But I needed to follow the rule I always follow when it comes to food: You can't say you don't like something until you try it.
So I'm standing across the street from the Union Square studio, wearing all black so I can slip in with ninja-like discretion.
I dash in and whisper my name to the man at the front desk. He is chipper, and I mean chipper. (Props to him at 5:30 p.m. on a Tuesday.) He tells me it's only (!) $20 for the first time.
He makes me sign a waiver (How in the world am I going to hurt myself on a stationary bike? Oh, I will find out later ...) and then shows me down the stairs to the locker room, where a neon sign reads "pack, tribe, crew, posse, cult, gang, community, soul." Hold on a second. I'm just trying to work out — not go "Clear." I don't need to belong somewhere to get my sweat on.
Is it too late to turn back?
Yes — $20 too late. So, I throw my bag in a locker, lace up those smelly shoes, and head back up the stairs.