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  • I was running earlier, and I decided it's time we all agree that no one can be judged for the music he or she listens to while exercising, no matter how awful his or her musical choices may be. All those who have the willpower to get out of their chairs and exercise deserve a free pass to listen to whatever they damn well please while they do so, full stop. Let's explore some examples of what this new rule means.

    I'll start with myself. My musical preferences, in the daylight, span from Godspeed You! Black Emperor to Dan Deacon, making stops at Robert Johnson and GZA along the way. I like to think that I have taste that is both broad and eclectic, and I have a 1TB hard drive housing the library to back that up. However, when I go to the gym, you'd better believe my headphones are delivering Lady Gaga, Skrillex, and several other artists I'm far too embarrassed to mention publicly. Slick, overproduced pop music has the perfect combination of uptempo thrust and surgically timed key changes to keep the listener moving long after the original, rabbitlike specks of motivation that drove him into a workout have disappeared into hedges of fatigue and laziness, so I keep my playlists well stocked. It's true the music is awful and embarrassing, but it motivates me to something better than time on the couch, and that's the overriding consideration. Anything that gets those who exercise through their workouts is permissible; it makes no difference who you examine or what that person listens to.

    In other words, if you were to meet the biggest, muscliest, manliest, douchiest example of a power lifter at your local gym and discover he's had Britney Spears' 1999 love song "Sometimes" on repeat for his entire workout, you have no place to judge him. If hearing that Britney wants to hold him tight, treat him right, and be with him day and night helps that lifter finish attacking his traps, declaring war on his quads, and performing a ten-year tax audit on his triceps, so be it. This rule applies across all demographic lines and musical genres, as well, which means even if you find out your grandma listens to death metal legend Cannibal Corpse's "Make Them Suffer" at her water aerobics class, just get used to living with all those questions you want to ask. That playlist is her business.

    Let's all just agree this rule takes effect immediately, then go off and have a Bad Romance with our gym shorts.
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