I’d like to talk about etiquette today. Not the etiquette of using the right fork, or being a good hostess. Frankly, the main course will taste just as delicious off of an oyster fork, it will just take you a long time to eat. And anyone who chooses to invite people into their home is already most of the way there towards good hosting, most everything else is instinct.
Today I would like to talk very specifically about etiquette at the gym.
“The gym?” I can hear you ask. “Doth our round and squishy Polymath even know where the gym is located?”
Lift your lower jaws off the floor, Chickens, your Polymath not only knows where the gym is, she goes 4-5 days per week. Reluctantly, to be sure, begrudgingly, often, pouting and whining, usually. But go she does. And she is generally appalled by some behavior she witnesses there.
First and foremost, for those of you who get your butts to the gym regularly, congrats. I hate it more than political injustice and world hunger. No matter that it is my best shot at a long and healthy life, the time I spend at the gym feels utterly wasted to me, and I am ALWAYS counting the minutes until it is over. I still get irritated when there is no parking close to the door, and I have to, GASP, walk further than I might prefer to and from my exercising. I resent the people who love it, wondering secretly if they are aliens sent to destroy earth. Who loves exercise? There is television happening! There are books crying out to be read, preferably in a big comfy chair with a cup of tea and some cookies. THERE IS NAPPING!!!! Seriously? Loving exercise? Makes you suspect in my book.
My level of intolerance for bad manners is heightened at the gym, since I have no desire to be there to begin with, so when someone is rude or inappropriate at the gym, it is adding insult to injury. And with my propensity for random ankle sprains, groin pulls, and back spasms, often it is LITERALLY adding insult to injury. It frankly makes me feel a bit stabby. I usually manage to hold my tongue, but, and I am just being brutally honest here, a cranky fat girl at the gym is a time bomb waiting to go off, and one of these days I might lose track of my own manners….
If you notice any of the following about yourself, I hope you will address it immediately. I promise, I’m not the only one who finds you incredibly irritating.
1. Sweat. Part of going to the gym and working out, is sweat. We get it. We are all enjoying some level of perspiration. However, if you are Drippy McSchvitzer, and tend to look like Nixon during the Kennedy Debates five seconds into your first set of reps, PLEASE keep a towel with you and use it not just for yourself, but for the equipment as well. No one needs to sit on the moist shadow image of your butt, grab slippery wet free weights, or lie in your back sweat to do their chest presses. There are stacks of towels around. Lie on them, sit on them, and wipe down the machines when you are done.
2. Grunting. We all make some level of noise when we are lifting weights. They are heavy. They do not want to be lifted. The body is designed to want to put heavy things down as quickly as possible, and seems genuinely shocked that you want to flail them around fifteen times before you do what the good lord intended and release them. So it is of course a natural mechanism to exclaim in some audible way. But some of you, and you know who you are, cannot make any movement without loud grunting, often followed by some sort of semi-scream when you finish the last rep. We get it. You are doing really manly stuff. Those weights are the size of a Buick. Your muscles are popping out all over. You are VERY VERY STRONG. You do not have a small penis, nope, not you, nosirreebob. WE GET IT! Now, please, pretty please with human growth hormones on top, STFU. I lift heavy stuff too. Usually I can manage this with a only barely audible hissing from a pursed-lipped controlled exhale. Sometimes a small “umph”, heard by me, my trainer, and maybe the person two feet from us. Not the whole freaking gym. The loud noises emanating from you do not make you seem more intense and full of testosterone. They make you seem like an attention seeking asshat, and you are annoying the living crap out of everyone else in the room. If you are a trainer, working out in their downtime, let me be clear. NONE of us will ever want to hire you to train us, because we do not want to emulate you. We want to kill you.
3. You. With the cell phone. On the stairmaster. Knock it off. I am already losing brain cells just by walking for a solid hour to not reach any destination. I do not need to listen to you have a bitchfest with your girlfriend, or a meeting with your realtor, or a heart to heart with your assistant. Here is all you need to know: He is, indeed, cheating on you and you should break up with him. You are never going to get that much for your place in this market, you haven’t lived there long enough, and you need to manage your expectations a little better or you will sit on that condo for another year. She is already looking for another job, and is unlikely to give you more than two weeks notice. If you need something to help you through the boredom of your time slogging up stairs to nowhere, load a damn movie or some tunes onto that iPhone 4g of yours, pop in some earphones and leave the rest of us in peace.
4. Hey! Stinky! Take a freaking shower! Yes, we all sweat when we work out, and sometimes our deodorant cannot mitigate every molecule. But you should not smell like a dead warthog, I don’t care how heavy those kettlebells are. Fresh sweat may not be perfume, but it isn’t gag-inducing. Old sweat, mixed with gym clothes that have clearly been used before and stored in a locker unwashed, mixed with a bucket of new sweat, creates a half-mile of funk around you that is offensive and unnecessary. You make me want a team of hazmat-suited gorillas to whisk in and give you a Silkwood shower.
5. I am not a prude. I am not Amish. I recognize that there is an appropriate amount of nakedness in the locker room. But if I get out of a shower in a public locker room and have but one towel in my possession, I wrap it around my body! I do not place it as a turban on my head and begin to wander about the room in a festival of personal toilette. Obviously, you need to be naked before you can get dressed. This can happily occur in any of the quiet areas of the locker room, where you can pat yourself down, apply oils and lotions and unguents to your heart’s content and re-clothe your freshened body. But the common area where the sinks are on one side and the hair-drying-make-up-applying seats are on the other side is not the best place for your Eve Before the Fall moment. You can safely do your hair while clothed or at least in your undergarments. You can get that mascara perfect without any help at all from your nipples. And for the love of everything that is holy, two feet on the floor at all times when you are naked! Propping your foot up on the counter to apply lotion to your legs while I am at the sink does nothing but create a crazy dance line of you reflected in the dual mirrors that I cannot escape from. It’s like the Crotchette’s at Radio City. I chose not to become a gynecologist. So I don’t need an eyeful of your cervix while I’m trying to wash my hands. They are called PRIVATE PARTS for a reason, Lady Godiva. Your Brazilian is your business. (And needs a touch up, since you felt the need to wave it about.)
Must now go get ready to….
Wait for it….wait for it…
Go to the gym.
Hopefully I won’t need to amend or expand this post when I return.