Mike Karolchyk owns a place in Denver called the "Anti-gym." (Slogans: "Too chubby, never find a hubby", and "Vanity leads to sanity," and "Have sex with the lights on.") He likes to demean women and smoke a lot of pot. His first gym advertisement featured a model with cum all over her face. The gym itself boasts a co-ed sauna usable only by those with a low enough BMI. He is, in short, an asshole we probably should have ignored after the first post. But he is also, in long, an asshole, as I found from reading a story in the latest issue of the Denver monthly 5280 that peeks behind Mike Karolchyk's despicable public image in hopes of finding out what's going on upstairs. Mike, after all, was not a born asshole; once he was a sweet Cornell grad who loved his wife and mother; what happened? The writer, Robert Sanchez, tries to figure it out. But after Mike lies, annoys, and degrades Sanchez's wife, he gives up. We are left with a powerful document that reminds me of the sort of thing you'd get from a detailed profile of Dov Charney or Paul Janka, if anyone with self-esteem had enough endurance to hang out with them for several months. An illustrated guide to the new breed of infantile hyperasshole invading American society, after the jump.
CORRECTION: Due to a synapse fart I mis-identified Mike as "Ed" Koralchyk. Someone with a name sounding like that used to be the lead singer of some bad that was on the radio in the nineties. MY BAD AS USUAL SHOOT ME NOW ETC. ETC.
Here's Mike at a commercial shoot with an overweight actress, displaying trademark maturity/expansive vocabulary.
He was giddy at the thought of slamming a pie into her face.
"Leave the pie out for now, Michael. I know you're dying," the director called, sensing the uneasiness swell. "God, we're so far off the script right now."
Karolchyk silently scanned the faces looking back at him. He had paid these people, and dammit, they were going to listen to him.
"I want to push her into the couch."
"Mike, if you push her, that's going to cross the line."
"But that's what I want to do."
This was the second of three spots, and he wanted it to be his masterpiece. The actress, Sophia, was to sit on the couch, eating the pie and lamenting that only drunk men would sleep with her. She had a beer-stocked refrigerator to prove it. Karolchyk was to jump out of the fridge looking tough and goofy, call Sophia fat, and slam the round pie into her round face. He had only two requirements for the commercial: Filming had to be quick, and the finished product needed to be "evil as shit." He stood under the hot lights, liquefied whipped cream running down his broad forearm, dripping onto his size 13 feet.
"Can I pour a beer over her head?"
"It'll be considered insulting. Remember, she's going to get hit with the pie."
Daylight was fading in the loft. Karolchyk was getting restless.
"I just want to slam this fucking pie into her head!"
Here's Koralchyk degrading women. The women don't seem to mind!
"How many of you have gone to college?" he asked. Several hands shot in the air. "Wow," he said in mock surprise, "educated girls, fantastic. So, since you're in school you know some things. Things like how to get to the next level." He paced in front the room. "San Diego and Arizona, the girls are on fire. They all have big boobs already. They already have big lips. Nice loooong legs that go on all day. You can go to a restaurant and get six chicks like that," he said. "Now you guys, if you work hard enough, you can be the Midwest Queen." He paused for effect. "You all are hot as shit for Denver. But that's like saying you're hot as shit for South Dakota." The women nodded in agreement.
But then they go home and feel only shame.
During one filming at his Cherry Creek gym, Karolchyk harangued about a dozen women, all of them in their early 20s, some with children, most with stories of drunken sexual escapades. They were easy targets, vulnerable to his criticism. Their breasts were too small, he told them. Their asses were too big. He wanted them to kiss each other and dance nude in his hot tub. One woman, a tiny, 20-year-old wannabe model named Samantha, told him her C-cup breasts "were a good size" and said she kept fit by jogging regularly. Karolchyk seized the opportunity, asking her to turn slowly, take off her top, and jog in a circle. She complied with each request, kicking her legs like a horse, her breasts flipping while a half-dozen cameras preserved the moment. "Niiiice," Karolchyk said.
A few days later I called her.
"I told my boyfriend what I did, and he said it didn't sound like me," Samantha said. "My mom would be disappointed." She said she found herself getting embarrassed for the other women at the audition. "I thought, 'That poor girl,' but that's probably what the other girls were thinking about me. I mean, I'm so not even like that."
She went quiet for a few seconds before whispering, "That's not who I am. I'm disappointed in myself."
Here's where the author comes to the disturbing realization that the women Koralchyk is demeaning include his WIFE
He made it seem like he was acting in my best interests. But he was simply trying to control me, and I had bought into it. My wife—seven months after giving birth to our second child, and initially repulsed by my Karolchyk stories—called me one morning, knowing I was at the gym. She wanted me to get tips from him about how to lose another 10 pounds of baby weight. "Tell her to stop eating for two," Karolchyk deadpanned.
Disgusted, she hung up.
Within two months she'd dropped 15 pounds.
And here's the part you're not sure is more depressing for society or for the poor shrink who is going to have to listen to this for the next twelve years.
He sees himself as a "truth-teller," a modern-day Holden Caulfield, lashing out against the "phonies" who don't accept his conviction that, deep down, everyone aspires to be sexy. "Caulfield was the only person willing to point out the fakeness around him," he says of The Catcher in the Rye protagonist. "He was a rebel, just like me. He was misunderstood, just like me."
This Man Thinks You're Fat