The 5 Worst People at the Gym
1. The big, bad alpha male: This is the guy with carefully constructed shoulders as wide as his ego is big. He swaggers around, checking out his biceps in the mirror, cuts in line at the water fountain and tries to body-language bully other people off machines he wants.
The treatment: Because I’m petty, I usually try to passive-aggressive body-language bully him right back. Like someone training an errant puppy, I always dart in front of him so I’m the first one through the walkway, and I stay in his way a little longer than needed. I don’t let him get in my way. Because I’m the freaking alpha, dude, OK? And I’m not putting up with your crap. This is not the high school cafeteria, and you don’t rule the roost. Plus, you can’t even touch your toes.
2. The insecure female: This one comes in all shapes and sizes. Hottie Patotties and Couch Potatoes fall into this rut regardless. She’s usually new to the gym and trying to get into better shape. Because she feels insecure, she spends half her workout giving every other woman there the up-and-down glare, measuring them for self-comparison. It’s rude, it’s anti-feminist, and it’s immature, but you can’t let it get to you. Everyone bodysnarks at times.
The treatment: A nice smile every time. We’re not enemies, lady. We’re in this together. Go read yourself a nice feminist blog, come back tomorrow and kick butt.
3. The insane crazy worker-outter person: This is the person, man or woman, who always has some insanely crazy insane workout routine. It usually resembles a combination of something used by a foreign military, something they ripped out of an obscure workout magazine, and something they saw on YouTube once. It usually involves props — semitruck tires or hula hoops or sashes or something — and it usually takes up an area half the size of a football field. Because that’s why you join a suburban gym — all the empty space.
The treatment: Bemusement. They’re putting on the chrome, you gotta hand it to them. On the other hand, watch out for the flying props. I usually regard these people with a healthy mix of “More power to ya!” and “Get the eff out of my way, weirdo.”
4. The aging alpha: This dude was probably a real studmuffin back in the day. But that was thirty years ago, and now age has gotten the best of him. His wife probably swore off sex until he got his cholesterol down, so here he is. Good for him, except for his workout consists of flinging his corn-chip sweat on every surrounding piece of machinery (including people) and making loud, annoying grunting noises with every motion of his once-studly body.
The treatment: Steer clear. That’s why they provide antibacterial wipes. He’s loud, he’s smelly, and he’s probably got a good personality. Leave him be, and don’t get close enough to get rained on. Otherwise, you too will smell like 20-year-old athletic disappointment and yesterday’s corned beef hash.
The last one is a tossup. It could be the beauty queen, who comes decked out in more makeup and hair product than you wore to your senior prom. She usually hops on a treadmill, sets it at a glacial pace, and spends half an hour fake-flipping through a fashion magazine while pegging her ego on how many people look at her ass. Of course, it’s rather shapely. That’s why she doesn’t have to be here in the first place. But she’s harmless, and probably a nice girl. Nah, the fifth one isn’t the beauty queen.
5. It’s the lecher. Sometimes, this is a gym employee, but it’s most often some normal-looking dude who joined the gym for two reasons: meet some fine-looking ladies and work on his look. He’s probably really a nice fellow. But he spends his workout bug-eyed, eye-humping everything female that walks by. He smiles awkwardly at them or says hi at weird times. You notice women start to leave a buffer zone around him.
The treatment: Scowl hard, and make eye contact. You’re not a deer, this is your territory, and he needs to learn better manners. If he talks to you, walk away fast. Pretending you can’t hear him over your earbuds doesn’t work. He’ll disappear after awhile. The lechers soon learn that they’re better off at dive bars in university towns wearing dime-store cologne and talking about the time they went to Europe once.
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Tags: fitness, grrrl, politics