If there's one question that we get asked time and time again at Cracked, it's "How do I get in shape for bikini season?" It turns out that many of the reasons which might drive someone to Cracked in the first place (currently sitting, bored) can also cause someone to become hilariously loaf-like in shape as well. Lately, many of these kinda-hypothetical emails have asked about the effectiveness of toning shoes, like the Sketcher Shape-Ups. These products claim to enhance the tone and musculature of the wearer's ass and legs, and many of our readers, desiring ass and leg-play, wish to enhance their own features to better secure it.
I volunteered to research this issue, partly out of my deep abiding love for our readership, but also partially out of a desire to get more physically fit myself. The writing and sitting lifestyle does take a toll on the body, and on many days I wish I could stand up with a little more authority and panache. Additionally, any improvement in the way I look in the tiny shorts I wear throughout the year is always welcome.
Eager to keep science at my back, fists clenched, shaking his head menacingly, I knew I had to create a solid and defensible experimental design. So, after a bit of preliminary research, I opted to use the peer review method, wherein I would email pictures of my legs and ass to Cracked colleagues, and ask them to review them. Their weekly findings are presented to you below, esteemed members of the scientific community.
My Ass, Week 0
Dan O'Brien: Wow. I guess I'll give you a 2 out of 10 for at least having all the component parts of legs and ass. That's not great. But don't fret; even the mightiest mountains was once pitched from the tiniest tent.
Soren Bowie: What? Whoa, don't send me those.
Seanbaby: -No Response-
Robert Brockway: Oh we're playing this game now? OK, here's me. (file attached)
Immediately after putting on my Shape-Ups for the first time, I fell over, beginning what would become a familiar and painful routine. It turns out that the crazy shifting platforms these shoes are built on make it difficult for you to do anything without looking like a well seasoned drunk. This had the initial effect of making me avoid spending time on my feet, negating whatever potential benefits the shoes were supposed to provide. It wasn't until I ran out of food within easy reach of my desk chair (approximately two days) that the shoes were put to full use.
Once that started, I almost immediately began noticing soreness in my calf muscles. The product literature suggests that this was because I was now using stabilizer muscles that had previously lain dormant, playing whatever video games that calf muscles find interesting.
It's this process of working long neglected stabilizer muscles which is how these shoes supposedly work. But would our science droppings confirm the theory?
My Ass, Week 1
Dan O'Brien: Still 2 out of 10. I couldn't really see a difference, and I checked as close as I dared.
Soren Bowie: I said fucking stop it, all right? This is harassment. Do you have any idea how many people send me pictures of their asses each week?
Seanbaby: -No Response-
Robert Brockway: I've already got that one.
The second week was a lot more challenging than the first. It turns out that one of the poorly advertised side effects of Shape-Up Shoes is their tendency to make you shunned. This started off simply, when my girlfriend stopped answering my calls, explaining that it was because I looked like "I had lost a fight with giving a damn."
Being insulted by loved ones is a regular part of my life, and barely worth comment, but more concerning to me was my interactions with the general public. People staring at me. People trying not to stare at me. Children asking their parents what was wrong with me. Older children throwing bottles at me. Later in the week, a bus driver stopped 10 feet away from the bus stop just to inconvenience me. Then when I ran to catch him, he drove off laughing, only to stop and repeat the process several more times. When I eventually got on the bus and asked if he was fucking with me, he said no, but I could tell he was lying because he was kind of laughing when he said it.
My Ass, Week 2
Dan O'Brien: 1.5 out of 2. I've been looking at all these shots side by side for about 20 minutes now, and I'm pretty sure you're actually making reverse progress. I want to tell you to clench less, but when I say it out loud it doesn't sound right. Clench different maybe?
Soren Bowie: I counted. 211 people email me pictures of their asses every week. All shapes and sizes. One guy sends me pictures of his donkey. The back end of his donkey. You can't compete with that. You'd be mad to try.
Seanbaby: -No Response-
Robert Brockway: I'm not saying you're the worst guy to have sent me pictures of his ass before, because you know, I've lived a full life. But these are pretty bad.
By the third week my muscles had stopped feeling sore, although other parts of me did start to ache due to the several physical assaults I was subjected to each day. Whether perceived as a weak target or as an aberration best weeded from the gene pool, strangers seemed to really want to, in their own words, "Beat the stupid out of me."
It turns out this is a pretty common issue, and after consulting with a Shape-Ups support group online, I found out that a number of coping mechanisms have been developed to assist with this unique cross-training struggle. Many of these had clever names, including Begging for Mercy, Turtling and Grinning and Bearing It. Each had their own pros and cons -- although none, I noticed, actually seemed to do much to prevent the fist-shaped bruises which began springing up on my body. So after ensconcing myself within the community, I proposed a new self-defense technique, Traveling in Packs, which initially won a lot of support. But traveling in groups with our strange loping pace only seemed to draw attention to our kind, further raising the public's anger. When a group of Shape-Ups wearers were herded into the town's central plaza and euthanized, the idea lost some credit.
My Ass, Week 3
Dan O'Brien: That's better! 3 out of 10! With results like that, don't be surprised if you get a new career as an ASSistant model! Ha ha ha ha!
Soren Bowie: I don't actually know how it happened. I sold a couch on Craigslist two years ago and started getting ass shots sent to me. The police said there's not even a law prohibiting it, and if I complained enough to get one made, it might get named after me.
Seanbaby: -No Response-
Robert Brockway: You're a one trick pony Bucholz. Try doing something different, like sitting on a glass coffee table or something.
By the fourth and final week I began noticing substantial improvement in my balance. I was able to run at full speed, and indeed had to, as I was being chased into the hills by the Sandmen charged with my capture.
Whether it was the shoes, or the heightened sense of awareness that all animals feel when moments from death, I was definitely feeling more poised and alert. But would that translate into a firmer and tighter sense of self-esteem? There was only one way to find out ...
Final Peer Review:
My Ass, Week 4
Dan O'Brien: I'm gonna go back to 2 out of 10. I think I inflated my score last week due to some personal issues I was going through.
Soren Bowie: Has there been any improvement in my ability to stomach the sight of your baffling non-ass? Yes, sadly. But that's not to the shoes' credit -- that's me dying on the inside. That's just awful. I'm sorry, but you need to see a trainer, or a fucking witch or something.
Seanbaby: Sorry dude, I had you on my spam filter because of all your problems. Anyways, those pictures are terrible. You should definitely keep your back to the wall at events and all other times.
Robert Brockway: Oh I see. You were doing something else this whole time. Forget everything I said then.
So there you have it folks. By flexing the hottest, tautest science available, Cracked has definitively proven that Shape-Up shoes don't work. The benefits the shoes provide suffer from the fact that there aren't any, and the downsides of wearing them, such as public scorn and the promotion of small scale eugenics, are probably best avoided.