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And instead of talking over my feelings with a select few friends in the privacy of one of our domiciles, you know, like an emotionally mature, socially conscious bipedal mammal, I decided to share these feelings on the one platform that is destined to come back and bite us all in the ass.

Before I begin, I do understand that I have spent the better part of my life in and out of various dance studios, do-jangs and your standard elliptical factories shilling out $30 energy drinks and exacerbated cases of body dysmorphia. That being said, I know that any criticisms that I may voice against those who don’t understand how a gym operates are going to make me sound like the biggest, privileged asshole.

Globo Gym Meme

At the same time, since most of us have had the opportunity to learn what it is like to share space with other bipedal mammals, I can’t help but feel like displaying a certain level of decorum in a public setting isn’t too much to ask.

Now, I’ll make my grievances simple by listing them in the order of a typical timeline at your neighborhood, overpriced elliptical factory. This is not a matter of nitpicking at other people’s idiosyncrasies; this is an amalgamation of repeated etiquette atrocities that I have witnessed over the years. By the by, Item Nos. 1 through 5 are occurrences that I have witnessed this year alone.

  1. Don’t take up the entire bench in the locker room in order to get dressed. You’re getting ready to work out, and you’ve laid your clothes out across a 6-foot bench like it’s your child’s first day at preschool. And you’ve pulled this Monday-shirt-with-Wednesday-socks B.S. during one of the peak gym attendance periods. Listen, I know how much you’ve invested in your new sports bra, running shorts, incorrectly pronated Ascis (Sincerity Break – Make sure that you have invested in gym shoes with the correct pronation. I cannot stress the importance of this enough), Technicolor Dream iPod and fully charged Amazon Kindle Fire. You just don’t need take up the entire bench while three other people are waiting to get dressed and get on the floor.
  2. Please don’t run away/blatantly avoid eye contact when I start stripping down. I understand that we all have different mores regarding nudity, and I am not trying to be presumptuous and tell you how you should feel about the topic. Having been in and out of locker rooms since the tender age of five, I fully acknowledge my acclimation to the nude cis female form. That being said, when I can feel you watching me go through my [rather efficient if I do say so myself] preparatory process in what I am choosing to believe is sheer curiosity, only to violently avert your eyes when I just happen to glance in your direction, it’s really fucking creepy.
  3. PLEASE READ THE INSTRUCTIONS BEFORE USING ANYTHING. I have never been able to digest how people are so convinced of their [nonexistent] mechanical inclinations that they can just get on any piece of equipment, having never used it until this moment, and have it operate in the manner that was intended. There’s a reason why your favorite treadmill is always out of order.
  4. Please, for the love of the Elder Gods, wipe down the machines after using them. There is a small chance that your sweat may contain traces of metabolic waste; there is even a greater chance that your sweat will contain an obscene amount of bacteria, and any other virus that you may have picked up because two people in your office are insistent of working through the flu. The last thing that any of us needs to catch some sort of resistant strain of staph because you were too busy to exercise a little hygiene. And no, leaving your nasty-ass secretions on the machines won’t benefit my immune system, so grab the goddamned spray bottle and wipe it down when you’re done.
  5. Please do not take more than 1 set of weights at a time. Yes, yes. You’re trying to get out your 2nd set of 12 reps of biometric triceps extensions from the latest guaranteed gut-busting workout regiment that you pulled off of unrealisticbodyexpectations(dot)com. What you’re failing to comprehend, besides the heaping piles of bovine excrement upon which a lot of exercise hypotheses are built, is that there are other people who would like to use that set of 15[lb]s you’ve hoarded into the corner like a squirrel before winter. The gym is very much like kindergarten: you have to learn how to share the toys with the other kids.
  6. [This one is specifically directed those of the male persuasion who are drowning in their internalized gender essentialism]. STOP ASKING “WHY ARE YOU SO ANGRY” EVERY TIME YOU SEE ME WORKING OUT ON THE HEAVY BAG! JUST. STOP.
    I’m a trained fighter; I can hit a heavy bag at various strengths and speeds using different combinations. And I’m a chick. DEAL WITH IT AND KEEP. MOVING. In fact, why are you stopping to talk to me anyway? I can assure you that I gave no indication that you could stop and engage me in conversation, so your first instinctual reaction to me working on combos is to clutch your dude pearls and go on the defensive? OH, you were just trying to be nice? By disrespecting my time and concentration, making baseless assumptions about my mood, and inflicting your narrow-minded ideals about gender onto me?Prepare To Lose Argument!And finally…
  7. Please please please please PLEASE put the equipment back where it belongs! This is a gym, not a scavenger hunt. I’m not looking to follow the How I Met Your Mother-themed clue in order to find Barney’s tie clip from Season 5, Episode 2. I’m looking for a mat so I can do my core exercises without doing excessive damage to my spine. Oh, look. The mats aren’t on the mat rack where they’re supposed to be. They’re behind the shoulder press machine/leaning against a bicycle/underneath a lifting bench/everywhere except on the mat rack. Oh, and Item No. 4 in the context of mat usage? I shouldn’t even have to spell it out for you.

Well, I certainly feel better for having gotten all of that off of my chest. Let’s see how I’ll feel in about a week when this post has gone through a few views and I open it up for comments. Deep down, I am truly inspired by the number of new people that I see trying to include exercise into their routine. I say this without sarcasm or disdain: I do hope that they come back on a regular basis. Why? Because when you find a workout that works for you, the sense of satisfaction that you feel after that 30/60/90 minutes is rarely matched. Even at my weakest, my clumsiest, or my most injured, most of my happiest, most serene moments were spent in a dance studio or a do-jang or a gym.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. You’re wondering where the hell is the nerdom in this gym rat diatribe. Well, let’s just say that I was able to take the past 20+ years of athletic experience and translate it into this:

Zoe Washburne Fire Cosplay(2)

Yes, that is me cosplaying [wartime] Zoe Washburne, and yes, I am spinning fire while nerding out. I think that qualifies as a damn good post ending.


One Comment

  1. From your little brother: I’m guilty of number 4, the gyms I’ve been to only had towels and no decontaminating fluids to clean them with.

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