Dear People I Encounter at My Gym:
Hi, it’s me. The middle-aged women with the beet red face and the camel toe, testing the laws of physics by wearing Lycra and looking like she’s just been dropped on another planet. I am here to work out. I have to work out. I am trying to fall in love with working out. That part isn’t working out yet, but I hope to get there.
I’m sure you all have your own motivations for why you are here at the gym. Maybe you want to lose weight, or get bigger muscles, or shower somewhere that has better water pressure than home, or look up ladies shorts when they are lying supine on the weight bench, you big pervert. Whatever your impetus, here we both are. My goal is to get in, get it done, and get out. I will do my best not get in your way and disrupt your flow, I would appreciate the same, even if my flow is just urine.
The lack of etiquette and human decency found these days at the gym is both appalling and intriguing, from a sociological standpoint. I’m not pointing at you in general, but thought I would cite some examples to see if they might strike a chord within you, my sweaty brethren.
Let’s start in the locker room. My philosophy on the locker room is a similar variant to my exercise philosophy. I like to put my shit in my locker, workout, get my shit out of my locker, shower, get dressed, fix my hair and face, and leave. Nowhere in that scenario do I feel the need, and I might just be the minority here, to walk around naked for large chunks of time. In fact, due to the tiny washcloth size of the free towels, most of my time is spent trying to recapture a boob that has gone rogue or make sure that the part of me that must be exposed since the tiny towel doesn’t fit is neither my vagina or ass. I figure my right hip is the safest part if something has to show. I make a conscious effort to remain covered up. I know that the human body is a freaking miracle, no matter the size or shape. But I can look at mine whenever I want, and don’t need to compare or contrast it to others. Humanity does not need to see me bent over with my leg propped up on the bench, blowdrying my cooch with the communal blowdryer, which I inadvertently witnessed a 70ish lady doing last week. I was truly frightened she was going to plug in her curling iron next and give her pubic rug some bounce.
Now, let’s talk about you, naked moaning grannie. You kick it up a notch with your tits to the wind attitude and weird noises. Look, I’m glad you have body pride or simply don’t give a shit anymore. I get it. You are comfortable in your own skin and happy to stride around the locker room with your bits and baubles bouncing, and then to slowly bend over buck naked for an eight count to take off your shower flip-flops. I’ve seen more of your no no zone than I ever have my own, and if that is where I am headed anatomically, I need to do a crotch glamour shot asap to capture my vagina in its fading glory. You drop trou, putter in your locker, and moan about every 45 seconds. At first I thought you must be having some sort of arthritic pain, or possibly the onset of a cardiac event, after observing you for a couple of weeks, I think you might be having a long overdue orgasm. I’d like to figure out which scenario is correct so I may either call 911 or give you a cigarette and towel. I’ve spoken to guys who have told me the old dudes in the men’s locker room are no better, with their droopy balls swinging directly at eye level when my friends are sitting next to them, putting on their socks. It’s all fun and games until dem nutz take out someone’s eye. So….. can we all agree that we will do our best when naked to not shock and awe those around us?
How about a fitness class? Walking into a class for the first time for me is akin to being the new kid at school and having to play dodgeball. I am the new kid, this is the first time in class. I have no history here. I’m going to go where I can see the instructor to try to figure out what the fuck I’m supposed to be doing. I don’t know where you normally put your mat, or which spin bike is yours. I do know that we are not in third grade nor are there assigned seats. If I accidentally blow your buzz by occupying the space where you usually are just tell me so, nicely, and I’ll be happy to move. But you have to use your words, passive aggressively inching your mat closer, grunting at me, shaking your head and farting in my general direction do not convey your point. I’ll just think you might have personal space issues, Tourette’s Syndrome or Irritable Bowel Syndrome. I would love to chit-chat with you just enough to make sure if I do stroke out from the exertion, you’ll like me enough to notify the authorities. I don’t want to talk during the class, ever.
Cardio machines? Love them. I’m never happier than going 3.0pmph at a zero incline. What? I need to go faster and with more resistance? Damn. I refuse to be like the big galoot who has the grace of an uncoordinated rhino, every footstep sounding like he’s going to land on the other side of the conveyor belt. I try to run in intervals so I can breathe, which I have found is key in running efficiently . Often times, I have to remove my ear buds to listen to my own breathing, as I’m afraid I’m panting so loud that I’m distracting my fellow runners in placers.
I run on the treadmill vs. the road, because I don’t want to find a body, as most morning joggers eventually do. I have suffered a treadmill mishap, when I looked down to hit shuffle on Spotify on my phone, lost my step, hit the belt and was launched into the row of treadmills behind me. Not my shiniest hour. I always wonder why people are so testy in the cardio area, then it hit me. They are running, rowing, biking or climbing for an hour at a time, but not going anywhere fun or getting any higher in the air. These are the same people on the treadmill who circled the parking lot for ten minutes to get a spot in the first row in front of the gym vs. the third row so they could come in, hop on a treadmill, and walk nowhere for three miles.
Please if you are going to talk on your cell phone while treadmiling, do so at conversational levels. I should not be able to hear about your slutty husband-stealing going-commando whore-of-a-neighbor over Snopp Dogg on level ten in my earbuds.
Weight room? Are we ready to bro out? I’m talking to you, Neanderthal with the t-shirt ripped from the pits to the waist, wearing a skull cup in 90 degree weather, compression shorts over long pants and carrying a gallon jug of water. Are you seriously going to drink all that during your workout, or do you stand ready to irrigate the Serengeti. The only exercise I see you doing is toting your ridiculous water bottle around and checking out your abs in the mirror. Narcissus has nothing on you, bro. When you do actually attempt to lift something, you make such a show of it that you seem to want a round of applause. The shrieking grunty sounds you make? Sounding like a baby pterodactyl in a blender and it is not impressive. Why do you slam the weights down.? You were able to lift it above your head. Did that zap all of your strength so now you must lose control of its downward trajectory when it gets lower than your waist? And… I might just be talking out of turn here, but your Hannibal Lecteresque oxygen mask seems unnecessary unless you are planning to climb Everest in which case I’d switch out your buddy who is supposed to be spotting you but is actually oogling the MILF for a sherpa and a yak.
Let me act as your mom here. Put your equipment away when you are done with it. Don’t be an idiot and use gym equipment for the wrong reasons, i.e. don’t curl in the squat rack. Share with others, don’t rest between sets so long that you could get your Associates degree. Dress appropriately, jeans and boat shoes are for drunken frat parties, not the gym. Don’t crowd others personal space while waiting for them to finish on a piece of equipment. And…… In the name of all that is holy, wipe down the equipment when you have finished. Adult film stars have been exposed to less bodily fluid during a gang bang scene than I am subjected to when using a weight machine after you. One more hygienic request, No Axe body spray, just deodorant please and for God’s sake, no cropdusting!
The weight room is the natural habitat of the sugar daddies and their sugar babies and the cougars and their cubs. It is the fitness version of unnatural selection. If I had a dollar for every girl in full make up, hair down, looking cute while taking selfies on stability balls I could send two kids to college. Here’s a tip, honey. Going to the gym is not exercise, working out in the gym is.
My favorite place in the gym is the pool. I enjoy feeling weightless, and since I hate sweating, the pool is where it’s at for me. If you enjoy the pool too, excellent. May I please ask that you shower and don’t put on body lotion before diving in? If I wanted to swim through an oil spill, I’d follow the Exxon Valdez around.
Also, be warned, all you salty incontinent grannies. I’m going to start calling you out on warm spots during Aqua Zumba. I feel like I am in some fucked up version of a golden bath vs. a golden shower thanks to the Golden Girls of Water Aerobics.
So, good talk! I look forward to seeing you, but not your nipples or nuts, next time I’m at the gym. Let’s get buff, let’s get healthy, and let’s get moving!